Presented by Incubation Lab: Where’s the (Live) Streaming?

The Presented by Incubation Lab series shines the spotlight on extending your station’s reach through live streaming of local content. Thomas Broadus, Web Administrator for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, weighs in:

As the web administrator for a duel licensee one of my main objectives has always been figuring ways to share more of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s local content with a larger audience.

The way I romanticize the potential of the web to management and other key decision makers is always the same. In our state, Mississippi, our television signal gets us into the homes within the state. Our radio signal spreads our content beyond the state to what I call the umbrella or the states surrounding us; Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee, but the web . . . the web gives us the globe and we should begin to think in terms of this potential.

Most stations are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr while experimenting with other social networks in distributing their content across the web. You can view a list of which stations are using these social media tools through this link (Social Media @Stations Directory), but how many offer streaming of their local programming as it airs?

One of my big goals for 2012 is to live stream every local MPB production as it airs in attempt to broaden our viewer base and to connect to those displaced Mississippians that may live anywhere around the globe but still want to feel connected to their home state through our award winning local programming.

MPB has been testing the process for special event local programming for some time and we’ve had a great response from those that use the service. Streaming events such as the State Spelling Bee, Poetry Out Loud, and Quorum (MPB’s weekly hour long legislative affairs program) have also provided our agency with showing our state legislature how valuable MPB can be in airing state-wide events across the globe.

The other aspect we have added to our live streams is the second screen experience. Now that we have people watching we want to be able to interact with them and in some cases provide another level to the content they are viewing. In the past this has included twitter chats during a particular program, an online forum to continue the discussion of a program after it has concluded, or providing experts to interact through an online panel using CoverItLive. All of these techniques can be used with our traditional television programming without the streams, but we see more interaction when the streams are paired with second screen experiences.

So here’s the big question, where does streaming local content fit within the PBS system?

Are bandwidth issues too much of a barrier?

Will YouTube’s new streaming service, YouTube Live, be an option for stations?

Are you already streaming your station’s content as it airs on television?

Am I just crazy for thinking this is going to be as big as I think it may be?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Presented by Incubation Lab Blog Series tackles the digital media topics that matter to stations, while highlighting and celebrating the online efforts of stations. These regular profiles of products, people and trends can provide you with inspiration and potential collaborators for your own projects.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Thomas!
    We just aired three parades live as part of a citywide festival called Fiesta. We've seen huge numbers (for us) on our video player, but also many people from around the country were clamoring to watch these events LIVE online. Our next task is to stream our 10-day LIVE TV Auction online. Coming up in June.
    So we're catching up with special events, and perhaps these are great ways to introduce LIVE interactive conversations to regular local (public affairs) programming.
    We would love to hear what technology people are using and what folk have learned.
    Thanks again!