Rarely does a day start without the radio on in the background. Midweek until 9am the default setting tends to be the Today Programme. I listened with interest recently as the presenters plugged a Facebook live streamed interview occurring later that day. Nothing new about this approach, BBC News amongst many others have been live streaming for months, but this does seem to be a new development for the Today Programme and is an example of how social media channels influence traditional media by showing how to engage audiences and tell stories. Below are a few thoughts on why social media influences traditional press & why live streaming is proving to be such a hit …
Mobile – people spend more time in social channels than ever before. Nothing new here either and on average we spend around two hours a day in social networking sites now*. Therefore anyone in the business of getting the story out first simply has to have a social presence. For a long time now I’ve gone to Twitter first to find out more as a story unfolds and live streaming is simply adding another engaging dimension to this with an amazing ability to capture an audience as events unfold. Traditional media can only compete by publishing the content first via social channels or risk losing their audiences.
Technology – the battle for audience reach & engagement across the major social networks continues and is likely to only get more competitive. Many, many articles have been published looking at Snap/Instagram/Facebook live/Periscope and it seems almost certain that the level of duplication across the channels will continue. Put simply, thanks to social the general population now have the technology in their pocket to absorb and broadcast their own news as well as others to a huge audience 24/7. We’ve never had such personal access to live news before, nor have the broadcasters been able to get so close to their audiences.
Infrastructure – traditional news outlets have one major advantage over many other sectors in harnessing social audiences – they know how to produce content people want to see, and they are good at it. News networks have the infrastructure so many other businesses lack in this world of ever growing content appetite. They have the facilities, the teams on the ground with the experience & equipment they need to deliver 24 hour rolling news – they now also have the portals to broadcast this news straight into the pockets of the audience they are looking for. Few other organisations have this set up and this puts the media networks at an advantage in terms of using social channels to deliver compelling news content first. Long, long gone are the days that if a story breaks you have to wait for the news that evening to find out all the details.
Audience – we all want, and now can have real time stories as quickly as we want it. Whether you are looking for politics, sports, business or celebrity gossip doesn’t matter the fact is someone, somewhere is capable of broadcasting live what you might be looking for.
Live streaming has given us a new world of real time news coverage but leads to an interesting twist in the delivery. The fact that the technology exists and people are in social channels for so much of their lives brings about an interesting ethical dilemma as traditional editorial control no longer applies. How we should operate around subjects such as privacy when we can live stream anywhere we like is an interesting subject, but one for another day.
Picture credit Sam Wheeler via unsplash.com