The business of “live” content on the Internet is no easy task. Despite the hype around Periscope and Meerkat, and now most recently “HuffPost 24”, live viewing digitally has consistently faced challenges to seize the type of sustainable audience supports its logistical overhead. Not to mention the quite obvious conundrum that Live content can become obsolete and difficult to monetize seconds after it airs.
So, try for a moment to wrap your head around the risk-reward of live video being syndicated across the Internet instantly, to maintain real-time relevance for hundreds of publishers and journalists.
But just when master content syndicator Reuters identified that most news outlets grapple with servicing live breaking news, it decided to develop and roll out “Reuters Live Online,” which became available earlier this spring.
“Newspapers aim more and more to participate in the 24/7 news cycle and report events live. Even though the desire is there, they are not as [equipped] to handle live video as a broadcaster might be, so a technological solution was needed to make this as easy as possible,” Hristo Guertchev, Senior Product Manager at Thomson Reuters, tells VideoInk.
And to help in building that technological solution is Mirror Image, a real-time video delivery network that has over 17 years of track record helping publishers adapt to the fast moving changes related to media distribution.
“The one nut that nobody had managed to crack [has been] how [to] syndicate live online video as it breaks or as it has been planned in advance. That’s really what drove the conversation with Reuters,” said Mirror Image CRO Charlie White.
So moving into video has been a natural extension of Mirror Image’s business as publishers continue to restructure as “video-first” companies. Mirror Image provides a cost-effective scaleable live streaming CDN that is well suited to Reuters need to publish simultaneously across multiple platforms to its huge base of clients globally.
With a roster of clients who have a growing need for content to satisfy their news-hungry readers, it’s a smart move for Reuters to shift more heavily into the real-time news business to serve a large portfolio of eager customers.
“We see our push into live video syndication as early in the adoption curve, but we see growth in the area,” added Guertchev.
Unlike other competing news organizations, Reuters (the media division of UK global giant, Thomson Reuters) services publishers and broadcasters on a global basis with a cross-media news organization staffed by established, experienced reporters around the globe. Using an existing product “Media Express”, Reuters enables publishers to grab full-text editorial content instantly and syndicate it to their own sites. So how does this translate to live video?
“Reuters today probably has the largest set of on-the-ground reporters. And as a result those people are in place where they have the ability to create and capture live video that can be monetized by Reuters and their customers,” noted White.
And to enable the dissemination of that video, Mirror Image built “Reuters Live Online” to serve as a catalog of live events for the Reuters editorial staff and clients so that anyone can pull live-event-based video content, both breaking and scheduled, to platforms that support various subscription or advertising streaming models.
“This is the first time live video being syndicated across multiple video channels by one central originator,” added White.
And already the company is publishing and syndicating 10–15 live news pieces a day across its network as well as on its own subscription mobile app Reuters TV, available on iPhone currently. Customers who are using Reuters Live include MSN and The Guardian.
As far as watch time and audience behavior is concerned, White remarks that mobile viewing is higher on breaking news rather than scheduled live programming.
By combining Reuters reporting and content-creation skill with the infrastructure provided by Mirror Image, the news giant is perfectly positioned to compete in the emerging arena of live reporting. And while Mirror Image also provides its technology to other video players in the space, White tells me that there isn’t another reporting agency that has the volume of boots on the ground to make live video as impactful as Reuters does.
“Even though the desire is there, [publishers] are not as used to handl[ing] live video as a broadcaster might be, so a technological solution was needed to make this as easy as possible,” said White, but only time will tell if a “live” viewing solution rather than an “on-demand” viewing environment is in more in line with consumer behavior.