A lot of important things began inauspiciously. HBO launched with the Paul Newman-Henry Fonda film, “Sometimes A Great Notion” in 1972, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, of all places. The first YouTube video was titled “Me At The Zoo” and was uploaded on April 23, 2005 “Okay, so here we are in front of the elephants,” said Jawid Karim, one of YouTube’s originators, standing in front of the pachyderms in San Diego.
That’s how history happens.
Today, Meredith Corporation announced it is expanding its technology and studios for live and virtual reality content. It affirmed its “continued investment in video technology as a key component of its editorial content and business strategy” Really, it seems to me Meredith wanted some credit for jumping on the live bandwagon early, and relatively often. And Meredith lauds itself for being early adopters to 360 degree and virtual reality video, too.
One of its first livecasts was “Easter Egg Decorating” featuring Martha Stewart, who is so live-worthy that she and Meredith have long promoted her actual physical being: (It’s Martha Stewart Living, after all.) So when she gave ten tips for dyeing eggs (Sample: “Always prepare eggs by dipping them in vinegar”), it would have almost made sense to expect that it reached over one million viewers (but not all live) and elicited 14,000 engagements.
Since then, Meredith has done 25 more live Facebook Live videos with a total of 8.2 million views. That's not quite as successful, but apparently duplicating the audience wooed by egg-dyeing tips is no easy feat.
Still, that’s a lot of attention. So Meredith had opened a dedicated-to-live studio in New York, and that studio, and one in Des Moines are churning them out, even as you read this. Another studio in Seattle is being geared up and will start later this summer.
Meredith’s video strategy goes across the portfolio of titles which also includes Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, Shape, Allrecipes and the venerable Better Homes and Gardens. all going live via Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat.
That’s saying something about the way the wind is blowing.
Marketlingland. meanwhile, picked up on a blog published on Facebook’s developer site. It discloses that now, publishers will be able to target their live broadcasts by location, time zone, age and gender.
The gender-picking, Marketingland says, is a “super-weird option.”
I’m bothered by location and age, too. It seems so exclusionary. It’s one thing that a publisher may not be targeting an age group or, say, urban viewers. But as Facebook becomes the place people increasingly go for information, exclusions like that are unsettling.
The new regs also allow for different placements of ads, and also, the ability to live stream, endlessly, like a, well, like a stream. Facebook says it might be an interesting option for aquariums. I’m thinking the elephant exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.