nbc livestreaming mobile reporting
Credit: Livestreaming with Periscope, by quintanomedia on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
The ability to stream live video from your smartphone has been around for a few years, but it has only started getting more attention after the launch of Meerkat and Periscope.

So why is now the time everyone is excited about livestreaming? And will it last?

"This content is interactive," said Lippe Oosterhof, chief executive of livestraming platform Livestation, "the livestreaming element is just an enabler."

Oosterhof outlined some of the reasons why livestreams as we know them today have suddenly exploded, speaking at the GEN summit in Barcelona yesterday.

The interesting question is: will newspaper reporters pick this upLippe Oosterhof, Livestation
The interactivity in apps like Meerkat and Periscope is just part of the story. Both apps also initially launched to only enable vertical video streaming – which Oosterhof thinks made an impact on their users as "this is how people hold their devices".

And the arrival of 4G networks– and even of the humble push notification, which didn't exist a few years ago but now enables smartphone users to see who is broadcasting live in their network at any moment – pulled together to create an environment in which apps like Periscope could thrive.

But how are newsrooms using these new apps?

Periscope launched the day Sky News held one of its UK election events, and the team decided to offer a behind the scenes look.

"Initially, it was me trying to educate the newsroom," said Richard Evans, head of social media at Sky News, adding that he is now trying to catch up with some of the reporters' use of new technology.

And while behind the scenes Periscopes of newsrooms are still generating interest at the moment, this won't last – at Sky, which has been doing this type of livestream for around a month, viewer numbers are already going down.

"Livestreaming is great but the numbers do tend to come from on-demand clips," he explained.

Periscope and Meerkat are good opportunities for new media organisations who are trying to get into video, he said, but traditional broadcasters have other priorities.

The interactivity element also brings up some issues, particularly with the lack of control over the comments that appear during a livestream.

"People can say whatever they like and it's there for everyone else to see and then see the host's reaction.

"[Periscope] has some work to do," he said, explaining that female broadcasters can receive a lot of sexist messages while livestreaming.

But this format is only two or three months old and still one to crack for media. Oosterhof thinks Periscope will follow in the footsteps of Vine, where stars have emerged from unlikely places.

"The interesting question is: will newspaper reporters pick this up?"

He explained the app could complement the business models that newspapers are focusing on.

"Live engagement with your audience, that's the best way to sell ads... Monetisation, we think that's where it's going next."

Live and breaking news is the subject of one of the sessions at newxt month's news:rewired, a digital journalism conference organised by Journalism.co.uk. Find out more on the news:rewired website.

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