Today there’s an alternative to standard cable news shows. The Huffington Post launched a live streaming online television channel that starts with 12 hours of live daily news. Called HuffPostLive you can watch news and provide sidebar commentary via their comment box (moderated thus delayed) or Twitter (real-time).
The format is a little rougher and not as “produced” as traditional news sources. In one segment a panelist was linked in via Skype from his webcam. His video stream was low quality and his inability to keep still made watching somewhat difficult. It seems we’ve become accustomed to “on target” media trained executives who know how to speak for television.
The addition of live streaming comments and the ability to record opinion via your own webcam brings the audience closer to the action. It’s also an indicator of our global attention deficit disorder. We can’t focus on a news anchor anymore without a stream of content below or to the side. Now we get to write some of that!
Why the move to online television? One media analyst noted the growing importance of YouTube:
“Now that almost everyone in the country is watching online video, it just makes sense that some people would want live programming, too,” said Mike Vorhaus, a digital media analyst who heads Magid Advisors. (Source: Media Decoders Blog of The New York Times)
Indeed HuffPostLive is taking advantage of consumers turning to online video for news sources. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in July released results of a study that examined 15 months of online video content. The research found, “YouTube has become a major platform for news, one where viewers are turning for eyewitness videos in times of major events and natural disasters,” according to Yahoo! Finance.
Back in April 2008 YouTube launched a dedicated news blog aimed at using user-generated content as a news source. Dubbed “CitizenTube.” Their mantra was straight-forward:
“CitizenTube is YouTube’s News and Politics Blog. Here you’ll find important breaking news videos from citizens; developing trends in the use of YouTube by news organizations, activists, politicians, and governments; and lots of other YouTube goodness. Hit us up on Twitter, @citizentube, if you see something worth posting here.”
Yet in the midst of an exciting USA election cycle, the most recent video on the site dates to May – when Newt Gingrich resigned from the campaign via YouTube. It’s terrible when a source as prestigious as YouTube allows a prime site to molder. It’s a bad example of the use of social media by a global leader.
All the major cable news networks also have on-line content. Yet none rely solely on live, streaming online content as their distribution platform. And comparing HuffPostLive with CNN the only difference is that CNN has a lot of advertisements on their site. HuffPostLive has yet to attract sponsors.
The site is optimised for mobile so you can watch from your SmartPhone. If you see an upcoming segment you’re interested in the site will send you an email right before it airs.
In may ways HuffPostLive is the Twitter of YouTube. If you want to explore news that happened you can search YouTube and see film of train wrecks, tsunamis, stage collapses and more. But HuffPostLive promises to provide a non-stop stream of what’s happening at the moment. In that way it’s like Twitter as you can see the global conscience of thought and activity as it’s happening.
Early days indeed. Yet 24/7 streaming online news is here and its first incarnation is HuffPostLive. Check it out!