The use of mobile streaming apps can help broadcasters engage with their audiences, says Jonas Vig

Consumers demand instant updates and coverage of news as they are unfolding, delivered to them in an engaging format and available wherever they chose to consume it.  News is current with limited repeat value.

With new expectations and demands comes the challenge for news outlets to find new ways of turning content to profit.

The cost of sending out news crews is high. That’s why many for example have taken to video calling to conduct interviews.

After all, it’s much easier to Skype an Oxford professor on a Sunday morning than to send a camera crew to his house in the country. That’s because they’re merely visual phone calls.

This approach is great for planned events, but less so for unscheduled incidents.

Enter mobile live video broadcasting.

Granted, the concept isn’t new. The likes of Bambuser and Ustream have been around for years, and more recently apps like Meerkat and Periscope has caught the attention of many.

While some broadcasters have embraced live video streaming apps, others are keeping their powder dry.

I respect that, as there are a number of key considerations for broadcasters who want to take the mobile live streaming route.

Firstly, you must have a clearly articulated strategy for it.

Another consideration is how you work with user-generated content.

Fundamentally, it’s about bringing your audience into the news creation process and applying a journalistic layer on top of it.

That is why we describe ourselves as a platform to create participatory news. We believe we live in an age where the audience should be a part of the news creation process and not only a receiver of a one-way message.

Skype gave broadcasters a new option for interactivity. Meerkat and Periscope got mainstream media truly excited about the concept of ad hoc live streaming of news.

With the introduction of the Iris Platform, Bambuser is now enabling news and media outlets to leverage this technology and concept by involving and engaging their audiences and own staff. 

If you are witnessing a news story unfold, instead of just streaming to your own followers, you can involve some of the biggest broadcasters on the planet.

I read with interest a comment in the latest edition of Broadcast TECH, in which one broadcaster said while Periscope will provide interesting UGC, it does not cut it as a news tool.

Furthermore, they said we need to see the incorporation of ‘pro’ live streaming app into iOS and Android apps. It’s out there now. Iris can be incorporated into the broadcasters’ own apps and infrastructure so users – professional and amateur – instantly can share their eyewitness experiences with the MCR.

Although important events have long been captured on mobile phones, lots of broadcasters are still thinking about how best to use UGC.

We all know – quite rightly - that citizen reporting will never replace traditional journalism.

Instead, products and platforms like Iris will make up an important part of the toolbox that will allow news professionals to engage their audience in a new way.

We believe that by inviting the audience to take part in the news creation process, richer and more colourful content can be created. Then all that’s left is for broadcasters to apply their own journalistic standards.

Jonas Vig is founder of live video streaming company Bambuser