Every now and then tech journalists from all over the world proclaim their favorite topic to be "the next big thing", "topic of the year" or something along those lines. With Facebook's big announcements at their F8 conference just a few days ago, livestreaming seems to be on the rise (again).
The main development at the F8 conference was Facebook's decision to allow third-party tools to stream their videos to the "Facebook Live" tool. So far we've seen integrations from DJI with the Phantom 4 or Livestream's new Mevo Camera (originally Movi).
Sounds interesting on the one hand but on the other hand it also means that platforms demand more and more ownership of our content. Let's start in the beginning: If you've got a story or message worth spreading, you turn towards a medium that fits your needs and your personality. Some people prefer to write, some take pictures, some love videos. Generally that's a good thing. In this case content is first and you select the appropriate channel for it.
Nowadays it feels like this changed. Much of the meta conversation about the future of Social Media or the future of news end up in a discussion about the current platforms and its reach.
You don't have a story A and discuss whether platform A or platform B is better. You've got a new platform, let's say Snapchat, that somehow draws the attention of the so called "millennials" (terrible word btw.) and reverse engineer their interests to achieve the maximum attention and reach. Generally that's not a bad thing, everyone wants their stuff seen by the world. On the other hand though, some content and news stories don't make the cut for these networks which results in a fairly restricted field of topics.
Another big problem is the dependence from those networks. If Facebook decides to push live video instead of traditional articles and your main content are articles: You're screwed!
If Facebook's algorithm prefers Instant Articles and you don't want to give away all of your content: You're screwed!
Let's get back to the original question: Is 2016 really "The Year of Livestreaming"?
In a way yes, crowd-sourced live video played an important role in this year's news coverage so far. All the attention turned towards Periscope in the hours after the attacks in Paris and Brussels. The last time I saw some numbers, Periscope's watch time metric was still rising. That is huge for a network which hasn't been around a year ago.
Also more and more companies are using the lower entry costs for live video to broadcast press conferences, events and meetings for interested viewers. News desks are also seeing the opportunities to embed Live Video into their daily work. All in all it is important to see whether they do live video for the sake of live video or whether they've actually got a stories worth spreading.
There is terrifying number of television shows that are literally filming their monitor with an iPhone to broadcast it via Periscope and Facebook Live. Is that really the purpose of this app? If you talk to someone from one of those apps they kindly decline to comment but their reaction says it all. No it isn't. Filming a monitor is basically the acknowledgement that you missed improving your website/ app/ or social reporting tools and need to rely on FB Live. They are one step behind the current trend.
A trend that clearly says: If you know your audience and know your asset of reporting tools ranging from on demand video, Periscope stream, Tweets, articles, etc. and use them in an appropriate way to tell your stories without proclaiming that you just reinvented the wheel: perfect. If you're doing Facebook Live stream just because your agency said that they are hip and cool at the moment: You failed.