If your head is in the clouds, you may want to pay attention now. NASA, the organization responsible for deciding that Pluto is no longer a planet, began streaming live video in 2004 at the inception of live streaming on the internet. It began streaming missions over the cloud in 2011 and has come a long way since then, both in terms of programming and streaming capabilities. As of now, according to the official NASA website, NASA TV can air pre-recorded and live programming 24 hours a day with a combination of cloud and video technology.
On February 22nd, 2017, NASA revealed the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets via live stream, manufacturing excitement all over the world for humans looking for out-of-planet real estate as we move further and further towards dystopia. Shout out to NASA for looking out for us and continually searching for hot (but not too hot) new planets that can sustain human life, seeing as we’re going to be underwater within the next 100 years if climate change denial continues. But I digress.
Live International Space Station footage repeats throughout the day, and missions such as rocket launches, spacewalks, and re-supply trips are streamed regularly throughout the year along with press conferences and media interviews. Viewers also have the amazing opportunity to ask ISS astronauts questions through social channels. As people gathered around their TVs to watch the moon landing in 1969 (hey, Russia!), the excitement and joy can still be felt today on computer, phone, and tablet screens as well because of live streaming technology.
The New York Times
If you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it. The New York Times is one of the most trusted sources of print news, and they’ve kept up with the times by going digital. More importantly, they’ve utilized the medium of online and app-based live video as a different kind of storytelling platform. Now, reporters can (and do) broadcast on live video platforms like Facebook Live, pulling out their phones to report as soon as they arrive on-scene.
Take the People’s March for Education Justice, for example. The march took place to protest several new education initiatives under the Trump regime as well as the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, and received coverage from The New York Times. Similarly to TV and print coverage, protesters were interviewed and cameras captured the massive crowd. So how was the live stream any different from traditional news?
What set the Facebook Live broadcast apart can be summed up in one word: immediacy. The reporter used her own phone to set up and record the stream, and essentially blended into the crowd to provide up-close-and-personal coverage. Live streamed coverage of a protest is something unique and exclusive enough to make the audience feel present in the moment. It’s raw, visceral, and unedited. At the same time, The New York Times offers a variety of live video on things that are not necessarily raw; educational panels, meditation sessions, cooking, how-to’s, and more.
Al-Jazeera, one of the most respected sources of (real, not “fake”) news, has utilized video streaming—one of the first news corporations to do so—to stand out among the others in terms of both reach and efficiency. Of the 270 million or so homes around the world that Al-Jazeera reaches, a fairly large number of those are through free online streaming. While this may not seem revolutionary in and of itself, their innovative use of streaming on social media has streamlined the way we get our news—for the better.
While many people would argue that a telecommunications brand has nothing to offer to a general public that—let’s face it—aren’t quite sure what a technology conglomerate even really does, Cisco has been able to market their brand in a fun, sort of relatable way. By utilizing live video, Cisco has managed to create a connection with consumers who may not necessarily be that interested in a brand that develops and sells telecommunications equipment and networking hardware. (You’re welcome).
Cisco utilizes live video to provide behind the scenes footage and tours of Cisco labs as well as product testing facilities, and shows curious users the ins and outs of some Cisco products—in this case, the literal inside of it. Their live video even provides a look into the lives of Cisco employees, including a look at their desks (similarly to Warby Parker), as well as ‘a day in the life’ features and staff lunches, making consumers feel a personal connection to those who work behind the scenes. This is also an effective way of drawing in potential employees.
Brands that offer products or services which don’t necessarily muster up a lot of excitement can follow Cisco’s lead on finding a good way to draw attention to other factors that go into your organization, like Cisco’s behind-the-scenes videos of their products, how their products are manufactured, how their employees work (and what they do when they don’t work), as well as events and parties that showcases the soul of your brand rather than the facets of capitalism it follows.