Video Essentials

Why Your Company Needs a Live Video Strategy

Is live video a part of your company’s entertainment and marketing strategy? Maybe it should be.

At the Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Marc Scarpa, the founder of Simplynew, sat down for a red carpet interview to talk live video. Scarpa has a long history delivering live media on the Web—he presented a live participatory town hall meeting with President Clinton and streamed Woodstock ‘99—so he understands the power of live video. More recently, he’s produced three-days’ worth of live video with social media integration for the Grammy Awards.

“Live has hit the conscious in a new and bigger way,” said Scarpa in the interview. It’s being integrated into the strategies of marketing departments, and online video companies are beginning to offer live video options.

Scarpa sees the day coming—and soon—when there won’t be a difference between material broadcast on television and shown online. Within the year, he thinks, a major live event will deliver via TV, the Web, and to mobile devices at the same time, showing the same commercials over each medium. When that happens, broadcasters will wake up and see that online viewers don’t cannibalize the TV audience; rather, all eyeballs count toward the total viewership.

“You can’t really think of television as TV anymore,” says Scarpa. Rather, TV is just one tool among several that broadcasters have to reach an audience.

Behind the scenes, says Scarpa, the fundamentals of delivering live video haven’t changed since 1996. You still need to send a digital signal to a CDN (content delivery network), which, in turn, sends it to online viewers. While “how” used to be the big question for broadcasters, that’s no longer an issue; the big questions now are “what do you want to accomplish and why?”

The producer’s role has changed with online video. Now, the producer has to deliver social media, as well as the video feed, and needs to be sure that a social media expert is taking questions in real-time and feeding information to the live stream. Geomapping can be used to show where viewers are. The production team also needs to quickly isolate potential viral moments from the live feed and make them available as video-on-demand (VOD) files. During the Grammy Awards, Scarpa’s team made clips available in 15 minutes.

“You have to produce the experience, it has to be engaging for the audience,” said Scarpa. “Because you’re extending the real world experience to the online world.”

You can watch the entire red carpet interview here:

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