This week’s Streaming Buzz will be a bit more brief. It’s difficult to think about the world of streaming when the world as you thought you knew it becomes very surreal. As the fog of dismay rises, streaming, both live and on-demand, will actually become even more important to our lives, enabling citizen content creators to make their voices known, to bring about awareness of important topics and causes, giving us moments of escape in live sports, film, television, and music while delivering news (hopefully more truthful than fake) to expand on our levels of education, empathy, and entertainment. All important assets for lives well lived and evolving for the better.
People Turned to Showtime’s Streaming Service for Stephen Colbert’s Election Night Show
“We all feel the way Rudi Giuliani looks,” said Stephen Colbert in the closing moments of his one-off Election Night special on Showtime. Funny ‘cause it’s true Mr. Colbert. Instead of tuning into the major network news, many in the country signed up for Showtime’s standalone streaming service, driving the second biggest night of sign ups since the service was launched in July of last year, according to Quartz.
“I think there were a lot of people last night looking for the comfort of comedy from Colbert,” said David Nevins, Showtime president and CEO, at an RBC Capital Markets conference. “It was actually a very emotional, spontaneous moment of live TV for the last 40 minutes of last night’s show… It was a pretty powerful group experience for the people in the theater and the people at home.”
You Guessed It, Live Video is Indeed Coming to Instagram
After the “secret” experiment in Russia where users noticed a ‘live’ icon, Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, told the Financial Times that the feature, similar to Facebook Live, will be coming to the company’s platform. “Live is really exciting for us,” he said. “I think it can enhance what we’re doing. If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.”
As for that alpha run in Russia, users “weren’t able to find out more than that, since clicking the icon marked ‘Live’ brought them to an empty ‘popular live broadcasts’ page,” wrote Engadget.
This move seems inevitable, but there’s still no word on when it will go live, so to speak, in the U.S. or other countries. It will be interesting to see how the social (if we’re still calling it ‘social’) live streaming space – including Facebook, Twitter, and Snap – will continue to evolve over the next year or less. There are many caveats to cross in user generated content and the entertainment space. Hopefully, Instagram will do a better job than its parent company when it comes to providing a method and model for live msic content creators and producers to obtain and pay for proper music licensing and other IP rights before the live stream, thus avoiding the Soundcloud-like take down issues experienced by original rights holders.
Spotify Evolves Their Original Content Series with Drawn and Recorded
“What inspired Kurt Cobain to write Smells Like Teen Spirit? How did Louis Armstrong make then Vice President, Richard Nixon, his drug mule?”
Spotify’s entry into original video content by way of the Drawn and Recorded animated series has begun, with T Bone Burnett as the smooth-as-silk storyteller. One of the first in the series tells how the title for the song that threw Nirvana into the mainstream and musical history books came to be, and that it was related to female deodorant. “He had no idea that Teen Spirit was a product aimed at teenage girls,” Burnette said of Cobain. “After the song came out, sales of Teen Spirit went through the roof. Capitalism is very resilient.”
The animated series, crafted by Drew Christie, is especially artful, as one would expect, in an almost puppet-like setting. Stories are written by music journalist and producer, Bill Flanagan, with production by Van Toffler, formally of MTV/VH1 and CMT. The studio behind the series is Gunpowder & Sky.
Addition episodes (10 in this series) of Drawn and Recorded include “Rolling Stones & Brian Jones: Death By Water,” “Motorhead: Lemmy’s Revenge,” and “ODB: Ol’ Dirty Hero.” Spotify has been uploading episodes to their YouTube page, and of course, Spotify users can also view them within the app and on desktop.
In Other Streaming Buzz News…
Pandora Refreshes Its Web Design – The streaming radio platform has introduced a new web look, feel, and interface that enables replays and extra song skips for Pandora Plus users. Other features include a new ‘Now Playing’ window, along with metadata information missing from other music streaming services like Spotify, including artist bios, tour dates, news and articles relating to the song you’re playing.
Starz Joins DirecTV Now – “Starz has got tremendous momentum in the marketplace as the fastest growing flagship premium pay-TV service since beginning its original programming strategy and second-most widely subscribed in the United States,” Starz Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Hirsch said in a statement. AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, will include STARZ and STARZ ENCORE in their 100-channel+ offering.
American Airlines’ InFlight Wi-Fi is Getting Faster – It’s fantastic to finally receive some good news for travelers, and this past week American Airlines delivered a biggie: outfitting 100 new planes with ViaSat’s inflight Wi-Fi system, which provides faster internet speeds over American’s long-time provider, Gogo. According to Skift, “Airlines like ViaSat’s system because it generally has enough bandwidth for passengers to use the Internet as they do at home. ViaSat generally does not need to ration its connectivity, as Gogo does, though United blocks streaming, even though it does not need to.” This adds another airline client to ViaSat’s growing list, which includes United, Virgin America, and JetBlue. Now United just needs to lift their ban on streaming. What better time to binge watch “The Crown” than on a 3-hour+ flight?
Side note: I have some live streaming appearances coming up in the months ahead, including the moderation of the XLIVE session on December 6, “We’ll Do It Live — Challenges and Opportunities in Festival Live Streaming,” and a SXSW 2017 “Livetreaming Music and Amplification Workshop” (dates, times TBA) with John Petrocelli of Bulldog Digital Media. If you’d like more information on what to expect from these events, get in touch at kowens-at-kaffeinebuzz-dot-com, or find me on Twitter @Kaffeinebuzz.