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Facebook Live. A Fatal Shooting Marks a Historic Tipping Point for Video

Last week marked a historic tipping point in the public’s ability to both use and respond to live video.

Facebook Live’s video stream of the immediate, devastating aftermath of a fatal shooting in Minnesota has either dominated or framed both the news cycle and the public conversation since.

We haven’t digested the implications of Facebook’s broadcast, but here are my very initial thoughts, plus links to three helpful articles.

LIVE Drives Brands

Providing viewers with a powerful live video experience is an increasingly important driver of loyalty to brands and platforms.

Live video rests on evolving financial models and new players. For example:

  • Social Media
    Philando Castile’s killing was captured on a mobile and distributed on Facebook.
  • Cable / Satellite
    CNN dominated the OJ / Nicole Simpson story, beginning with the Bronco chase.
  • Broadcast
    And before Live, it was the CW affiliate KTLA Los Angeles that acquired George Holliday’s home video footage of the Rodney King beating in March 1991.

More Than Breaking News

The shift to Live goes beyond breaking eyewitness news:

  • The Live experience is the stickiest glue that forms community on social media.
  • Video is the medium with the greatest emotional power, and therefore financial value.
  • Live video particularly appeals to the younger viewers who are most valued by advertisers.
  • Sports, music, celebrity and wildlife are among the categories of Live video content that attract loyal viewers to social media as well as the channels’ online platforms.

Channels’ Challenge

  • The challenge for 24×7 channels is to adapt their editorial and platform strategies to offer affordable Live content.
  • Or watch slices of their audience, particularly the young, drift away to new social media platforms that deliver the intense satisfaction of a Live experience.

Helpful Reading and Analysis

  • I’ll be dedicating much more thought, conversation and writing to LIVE in the coming months.
  • In the meantime, below is the lead and link to a helpful article by Joe Concha in The Hill, one of my more trusted guides to events in Washington DC.
  • And another on Facebook’s challenges by Mike Isaac and Sydney Ember in The New York Times.


Graphic videos spark questions for Facebook, journalism

By Joe Concha – The Hill 07/10/16 01:38 PM EDT

Get used to hearing these four words when it comes more graphic, provocative, controversial news stories: Facebook Live, citizen journalism.

The streaming app Facebook Live that debuted early this year became a household name after the fatal shooting this week of Philando Castile by a Falcon Heights, Minn., police officer during a routine traffic stop.

The immediate aftermath of the shooting was not only filmed by Castile’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds — who was also in the car — but broadcast live via the Facebook app. Reynolds’s live stream showed Castile bleeding and lying motionless in the car while she, in a relatively calm fashion, asks the officer why he shot Castile and prays he isn’t dead.

The video has now been seen by more than 5.6 million users.

Read the full article here…


Live Footage of Shootings Forces Facebook to Confront New Role

SAN FRANCISCO — Late Thursday evening, when sniper fire rang out across downtown Dallas, a bystander, Michael Kevin Bautista, used his smartphone to stream the events in real time on Facebook Live. Within the hour, CNN was rebroadcasting the footage.

The day before, Diamond Reynolds streamed on Facebook Live after local police in Falcon Heights, Minn., shot her boyfriend, Philando Castile, ratcheting up a controversy surrounding how police officers treat African-Americans.

The two real-time videos catapulted Facebook, in the span of 48 hours, into a spot as the prime forum for live events and breaking news. It is a position that the company has long jockeyed to be in as it seeks to keep its 1.65 billion members ever more engaged.

Continue reading the main story


Live Streaming Breaks Through, and Cable News Has Much to Fear

By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times JULY 13, 2016

Continue reading the main story


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