How Live Video Apps will Uberize Television

How Live Video Apps will Uberize Television
The generation shift away from traditional media coverage to live video has media outlets scrambling to reach reactive audiences.

(JDN)You don't need to live in Los Angeles to get a taste of the ambiance at the Oscars. The near 150 million Snapchat users gained access to this year's ceremony thanks to "snaps" posted by celebrities and other guests in attendance. Coincidence or not, the ceremony had its worst audience in eight years, seeing only 34.3 million viewers, compared to last year’s viewership of 37.3 million. Just two days later, Snapchat repeated its experiment on Super Tuesday, where it drew an audience that included former candidate, Governor Jeb Bush. Indicative of much more than a generation shift to a more candid and instantaneous form of communication, these numbers also illustrate the public's desire for a more direct and personal means of communication.

The Media Embraces the Open-Source Model

Thanks to on-site users, applications such as Snapchat and Periscope, as well as Facebook's "Live Video" feature, have revolutionized access to live events in real time. Rather than compete, media establishments are embracing these trends, using these feeds to their advantage. The open source model of these applications gives outlets the right to reuse publications without having to obtain permission from the author. A recent example of this is when witness footage of a building explosion in New York was snatched up by the media before their teams could arrive on site.

Breaking News Gets More "Personal"

Perhaps just as important as being a news source is the way these applications allow these media outlets to interact directly and intimately with fans and followers. Brands often turn to these applications to offer fans behind the scenes looks into showrooms and campaigns; celebrities offer fans a look into their personal lives through candid videos and "unedited" content; journalists use these platforms to document their research and bring viewers with them on their journeys. A famous example of this is that of German reporter, Paul Ronzheimer, who used Periscope to document a 12-day journey through Eastern Europe with a group of Syrian refugees. "If you are a journalist, there is no alternative to Periscope," he told The Guardian. "People have the impression that they are taking part in history. Following live events allows them to see with their own eyes and know that everything is true."

Will applications soon eclipse television channels when it comes to negotiating distribution agreements with copyright holders? This is still utopian, but if live video applications were to create a model whereby they would share advertising revenue with content producers, they could, in their own way, "uberize" the video media.

Photo: © Prathan Chorruangsak -

Original article published by Nicolas Jaimes on the Journal du Net (JDN), sister site of CCM.