Brands Show Real-time Video Streaming Not Just A Hobby

Back in the spring I wrote a post about Periscope and Meerkat, the first real-time video apps that had recently launched and saw hyper user adoption. I was impressed with the 8,000 users that downloaded Meerkat during the initial weekend in the iTunes app store. Since then, I’ve continued to watch these two apps gaining traction.

In fact, I wrote another post that highlighted further accelerated user adoption, citing the nearly 10,000 live Periscope streams that occurred during the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight. One of the concerns I raised, stemming from the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, was copyright infringement, especially given that so many people watched the fight for free via thousands of real-time video streams. As the Periscope and Meerkat audience grew, I knew the advertisers would soon follow and pondered the implications of the potential advertiser dilemma that could arise from ads adjacent to copyrighted or “pirated” content.



Spring turned to summer and I continued to keep track of Periscope and Meerkat to see how brands were engaging. Along the way, I watched some great concerts, via Periscope, that I wasn’t able to attend. Thank you to all my friends for “periscoping” from great seats at the U2 concerts! To date, I haven’t heard much about any copyright infringement claims. What I have seen are some smart and daring brands testing the waters of real-time video streaming in smart and unique ways that deliver on brand persona. 

Although I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, the example of my watching concerts via Periscope is a key aspect of why users love these apps. Social media has fostered a sense of fear of missing out or FOMO. Knowing that friends were at the concert or had backstage access and that I was missing out because of work commitments made me crave seeing what was happening at the concert and what songs were being played. This type of authentic sharing is an anchor tenant of social media.

Periscope understands this very well and even recommends to marketers, via their blog, that marketers can foster a sense of FOMO by using Periscope to encourage people to “tune in” to special or limited-access events. A perfect way for brands to provide access and surprise and delight their audiences!

One of the first brands I saw engage in this manner was Nissan. They used the New York auto show, an event they already were involved in but were looking to extend with key audiences to help amplify the launch of the 2016 Nissan Maxima. To which, I say well-done Nissan! Real-time video streaming is a perfect tactic for brands like Nisan to drive authentic and relevant engagement in ways that are unique to the brand.

Another smart marketer, Target, also jumped into the game and provided behind-the-scenes access to parts of their design process. Think what other retailers or fashion brands can do during big and exclusive events such as New York Fashion Week. Brands like Visa and McDonald’s have deep partnerships and special access to the upcoming Olympics; just think of the possibilities for those brands! And it’s not just traditional brands that have great opportunities. Broadcast players like MTV can provide unique co-viewing experiences during live events, such as the MTV Awards. People magazine could provide unique red carpet reports from the Oscars as a way to extend engagement from print and their website. 

Now that the spring and summer of real-time video app testing is done, it’s time for the first movers and fast followers to figure out how to engage and sponsor content that fits for their brand. Hopefully, there are some great ideas delivered at upcoming big live events like Super Bowl 50 and The Oscars, I’ll be watching the push notifications on my phone and keeping track.

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