Monday, May 30, 2011

Brands Are Using Live Streaming Video to Engage Fans on Facebook - Max Haot, Livestream

Over the last several years live video streaming has become a powerful marketing tool for artists and brands. For Max Haot, CEO and Co-founder of Livestream, it's been interesting to watch the growing trend of brands adopt live streaming to market their products. I caught up Haot at NewTeeVee Live 2010 where Livestream announced its new Livestream For Facebook application that allows anyone with Facebook pages to launch a live broadcast within Facebook. Livestream launched this service based on the demand they were seeing from the market and developed an easy way to integrate live streaming into Facebook. Livestream and its competitors had previously provided this service for a fee, but Livestream decided to launch it in a DIY way so that anyone could launch a Livestream channel and embed it in their Facebook page.

Facebook launched its own channel, Facebook Live, in August 2010 powered by Livestream, and has hosted numerous live video and chat with Hollywood celebrities, musicians other high profile Livestream events. Most notable is a recent Town Hall meeting with President Barack Obama that was streamed live from the Facebook headquarters.

comScore noted in a September 2010 study, that the amount of time American audiences spent watching video for the major live video publishers (USTREAM, Livestream,, LiveVideo, and Stickam) had grown 648% since 2009 to more than 1.4 billion minutes. While that's just a fraction of the amount of time Americans spent overall watching online video content, comScore said that the sharp growth indicates viewers’ growing comfort with watching live content. Additionally, the comScore report indicated that live video sites have not only been successful in building audience, but also keeping them more engaged, with the average live streamed video view is 7% longer than the average on demand video view.

"What's interesting for brands to realize," Haot notes, "is the engagement time is on average twenty to thirty minutes, versus if you post a trailer, it's only two or three minutes… and then they have a chance of really creating a viral buzz on Twitter and Facebook, and get a lot of eyeballs coming to the live stream because it's trended on Twitter."
Content brands like movie studios, use Livestream to market the release of a new movie within social networks like Facebook and Twitter through a live broadcast of the red carpet premiere. TV networks like HBO are taking advantage of the Livestream's ability to host live video Q&A sessions with celebrities and show exclusive behind the scene previews. Other brands like Ford used Livestream to launch its 2011 Ford Explorer and hosts regular live events on its Facebook pages with Q&A sessions with customers and fans. Restaurant chain PF Chang hosts a live cooking show to market its Pei Wei Asian Diner brand and takes questions from the audience.

Haot says that working with brands and content owners drives content quality and revenue and is core to Livestream's mission to build a next-generation live cable operator. But the bigger goal of Livestream is to unlock every event around the world, from major events like red carpet interviews at the Oscars or the Royal Wedding, to prosumer events from a church, a small baseball game, or even a smaller conference.
"If you look at the world of events today," Haot says, "a very small percent of these events are being live streamed, so we offer the technology, the tools and promotion to hopefully increase the amount events owners that realize that they can use Livestream to extend their event online and connect with audiences on Facebook and Twitter."
Another goal Haot says, is to increase the production quality and reach across the various platforms by offering HD quality and enhancing the mobile offering by live streaming to the popular mobile devices, and on the web by enhancing it with multi-bit rate encoding and HD. Haot says that connected TVs are another growing platform that event owners can reach and that 80% of all TVs sold today are "connected" TVs.

In a related post on Beet.TV today, Andy Plesser spoke with Kevin Delaney, Managing Editor of the, about the value of live video streaming at the Wall Street Journal. The news organization is creating value in process and audience by connecting with viewers through daily webcasts. This is yet more evidence that live streaming has become a mainstream tool for publishers to extend their reach beyond traditional outlets. As more content creators, publishers and broadcasters develop their mobile and OTT offerings, and with YouTube finally getting into the live streaming business with selected YouTube partners, it's clear that live video streaming has become an integral tool for artists and brands to connect with fans and that demand will continue to grow.

About Livestream
Livestream offers brands a complete solution for your live streaming project on Facebook - Including : Custom Facebook application development with integrated live streaming that gives you everything you need to launch your own 24/7 television station (including Like to watch), Live video platform (including CDN bandwidth from Akamai, social enabled chat and player) and on-side production/encoding services if needed. Livestream streams more than one billion video minutes each month to a growing community of 20 million monthly viewers (with some 50,000 watching at any given time) to audiences on the web, mobile devices, and connected TVs. Notable content partners include Facebook, The New York Times, ABC News, CBS News, Associated Press, HBO, AT&T, IBM, Burger King, Nike, The Academy Awards, The Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, Ralph Lauren, and Diesel.

Livestream was cofounded in 2007 by Max Haot, Dayananda Nanjundappa, Phil Worthington, and Mark Kornfilt, and has received $13 million in funding from private angel investors & Gannett Co. It now operates with over 50 full-time staff members in 3 offices - in New York, Los Angeles and Bangalore (in addition to a globally-available production team). The service is available for free (advertising-supported) or as a feature-rich, monetizable, premium subscription for business. In May 2009, Mogulus re-branded as Livestream. Become a fan of Livestream on Facebook and follow Livestream (livestream) on Twitter.

About Max Haot
Max Haot is CEO and co-founder of video streaming company Livestream. Max is an expert in user generated content, broadcast technologies and workflow. He previously founded ICF a media asset management platform which was sold to Verizon Business in 2005. He held positions as VP of Digital Media at Verizon Business and Senior Vice President at IMG Media - the television and interactive arm of the sport marketing giant ( Max is a recognized digital content industry pioneer and is regularly invited to speak and contribute at industry events/forums for the broadcast, broadband and mobile industry. Max is a Belgian national and lived in London, UK between 1995 and 2005 before moving to New York. Follow Max Haot (maxhaot) on Twitter.