The Future of Live Streaming

Watching TV on Tuesday night, it was interesting to see how news channels are using live streaming, not just for viewers to send in content, but for top broadcast correspondents to report live from the scene.

At the end of Channel 4 News, Jon Snow had to shout to be heard above the tens of thousands of protesters who had just breached the Westminster media pen. The bulletin ended and the network was given over to the evening schedule. But switch to Channel 4 News’s Facebook page and Snow continued, with a much more informal broadcast, using Facebook Live. Viewers could continue seeing the build-up of protesters (and hear their amusing slogans).


Back in the day, had C4N wanted to continue its broadcast, it would have had to pay considerable satellite fees for air time, or streamed through its own website – with limited exposure. Using Facebook Live, C4N was able to mix its own broadcast cameras and stream to the masses, for as long as the story warranted it.

Then I switched to the BBC 10 o’clock News, and saw the coverage of the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The BBC’s Istanbul Correspondent Mark Lowen had just landed and was stuck on a plane on the tarmac. He reported live into the top of the bulletin using his mobile. Considering he was transmitting via social media, the video and audio quality was great. And he was able to update BBC bulletins over the next few hours, from his airplane seat.


As we know, live streaming (webcasting) has been going since the mid-90s. But this new generation of social media platforms is making it cheap, easy to do, and reasonably respectable (in broadcast terms).

It’s being used in entertainment and sport, by brands and consumers, by journalists and mainstream media. The challenge for us in corporate communications, is to harness the technology in a way that gives our clients confidence in seamless technical delivery while maintaining confidentiality.

Here’s some more background on the topic:

Published on 29 June 2016

Rebecca Denholm Written by Rebecca Denholm