Never Miss A Beat With Livestation

By Toby Coaker

If, in the age of 24 hour news channels and online media, you find it difficult to cram even more current affairs in to your schedule, think again.

While you might have used Livestation to stream live television over the Internet, perhaps you won’t have used its news video player.

It works in a similar way to the BBC’s iplayer. Yet Livestation aggregates all of the channels below (and more!) and allows you to watch each one – at the same time – on a multi-screen (see above):

Al Jazeera (English), BBC Arabic, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC World Service, Bloomberg Television, Channel 4, CNN International, CNBC Europe, euronews, France 24, ITV, RT (English), Sky News

The concept is simple – but it might just revolutionize the way we consume journalism.

Now it’s even easier than ever before to pick and choose between varying news providers – keeping an eye on all but listening to the one story you want to hear.

Such demanding news consumption has, up until now, only been accessible to those with multiple television screens or computer monitors. This is fairly rare beyond the walls of City University’s Journalism Department…

So for those savvy and concerned enough to use Livestation, it could mean the end of brand loyalty. Instead, we pick and choose what we want to engage with – an interview, a package, a two-way… The web is encouraging more competitive video journalism than ever.

There are other features too: Live chat allows you to share opinion with your community. If I was watching a compelling interview on Al Jazeera, for instance, I could encourage others to do the same.

The more impersonal but equally influential Twitter can also be used to quickly respond to changing events and broadcast titbits. Look below at how twitpic is used to rapidly inform others of what the news – and its providers – are doing:

If popular, Livestation will create the most hyper-responsive, critical, and discursive audience of video journalism ever. How should broadcasters react? Let us know.


A Discreet Monopoly

image courtesy of ITN website

By Toby Coaker

The growth of multi-platform journalism has been discussed vociferously in earlier posts.

The Internet has long offered a platform to unconventional media organisations (such as Demotix), local newspapers etc. to create their own video journalism.

Therefore a conventional wisdom has emerged declaring that traditional news organisations will increasingly occupy a diminished share of the online broadcasting market.

Yet professing that newspapers and other media platforms are forging their own original online video content is, in certain cases, simply not true.

One broadcasting stalwart is refusing to give up its share of the market to online rivals.

ITN has been extending its reach across the Internet, incessantly making sure its journalism reaches a larger audience whilst, at the same time, growing its profit margins.

Over a short period it has established a portfolio of partners to whom it supplies rushes and packages: Metro, MSN, AOL, The Daily Telegraph, The MailOnline, The Daily Express, The Daily Star…

Only two years ago Telegraph TV was making its own current affairs discussion programmes. Now, it offers only hard new packages using rushes distributed by ITN.

Behind this machine is subsidiary ITN Productions. Launched last year, t describes itself as ‘a central  creative hub producing content for the broadcast, online, mobile and corporate sectors’. As well as creating content, they offer clients ‘award-winning studios and graphics teams for hire’.

Perhaps this is the main selling point: ‘finding new ways to create exciting content tailored for any audience’.

ITN Productions has recently announced the launch of a Youtube Royal Wedding Channel. It will be a focus of all news content on the build up to the April event.

For a while the Internet has been changing the manner in which news is consumed. Niche interests are being satisfied to the detriment of broader news consumption.

ITN, one of the UK’s few conventional news structures, has joined this revolution. Its prevalence and continued expansion in online journalism is proof that traditional broadcasters are still the best at making and distributing video journalism – by computer AND television.

The Libyan Dilemma

By Chris Creegan

Why citizen video journalism will play a far greater role in Libya than in Egypt

Citizen video journalism has been useful in providing us with information during the recent uprisings in the Middle East. With Egypt in particular, it has supplemented the reports of mainstream news media organisations around the world.

Now, however, attention has shifted to the protests in Libya. This African nation is very different from neighbouring Egypt, and it poses far greater challenges when it comes to reporting.

Crucially, Egypt allowed Western journalists significant access to the country. Even those that reported from the safety of their hotel balconies were able to cover the uprising with a degree of detail.

Libya, on the other hand, does not permit foreign journalists within its borders. It also appears to be clamping down on citizens who attempt to relay information with greater force than we saw in Egypt.

Added to this, the country’s internet has effectively been shut down. Libya is truly cut off from the rest of the world.

News organisations have therefore had to rely solely on the eyewitness accounts of a small number of Libyan citizens for information. ‘Unconfirmed reports’ and inflated death tolls have become an inevitability.

The lack of reliable, newsworthy information coming from the ground in Libya means that citizen video journalism is more important than ever before.

Whilst anti-Kaddafi protesters may report distorted numbers of those who have died, there is at least an assurance of accuracy with the old adage “the camera doesn’t lie.”

Footage shot by Libyan citizens on camera phones has been making its way onto the internet over the past few days, despite the attempts of Colonel Kaddafi’s regime to limit communication with the outside world.

This footage, secured by ITN, appears to show members of Libya’s security forces opening fire on crowds of protesters.

Whilst the reporter points out that it cannot be independently verified, the amateur video provides some of the best (and only) picture evidence of what is happening in the country.

As the situation develops, footage like this will continue to play a vital role in telling us the story of Libya.

Without it, we are completely in the dark as to what is happening in the country.

Modern Media’s Multitask Task

By Alex Dibble

Doing the broadcast splits is too big a stretch for some

Traditional news media’s being forced to branch out. As the amount of news content consumed online increases, both newspapers and television news departments are adapting and taking their material onto a new stage.

The problem for newspapers is they’re having to do something that wasn’t in their job description until ten years ago – producing video for their websites.

But if a major demand of the internet viewer is video content surely TV channels are laughing when it comes to online supplements?

Not so.

The problem for TV is similar, yet (crucially) different. Channel 4 and ITV have, like the rest, produced news websites to accompany their television output.

But ITV News doesn’t have a huge budget – it’s around the £35m mark. That pot used to fund just its TV service, but now has to pay for the website as well.

It’s not a big surprise, then, that the ITV News website is relatively poor. More than this, the website’s video content is lifted straight from the main television broadcasts. In the process of transferring news from one medium to another, nothing changes in the way it’s presented.

Contrast that to the BBC, who’s budget’s in another stratosphere. Not only is their news website vast, it offers an alternative method for viewers to consume content – it’s not just a re-hash of BBC News at 6, for example .

Stories (almost always) appear in written form (despite the fact that the BBC has never been a newspaper), and these articles are supplemented with video (Paul Bradshaw calls this the ‘Daily Prophet approach‘ after the newspaper in Harry Potter).

The two aspects combine to produce a news experience that reflects the unique demands of the internet as a new medium.

Channel 4’s online offering seems to find some sort of middle ground. No editing’s done on TV packages before they’re uploaded, but video’s still accessorised with written content.

Expert Opinion

VJO asked award winning video journalist David Dunkley Gyimah why the multitask task is proving such a challenge.

“The relationship between video content and online news output is such a recent development that broadcast media are learning an awful lot very quickly.”

For Gyimah though, the key is maneuverability:

“You want to watch news, get directed to somewhere else that contextualises what you’ve just seen, and then come back.”

“The nearest thing we’re getting to this at the moment is PBS in the States. They imbed video in a way that facilitates wider consumption.”

Organisations like ITV literally can’t afford to experiment in this field – their funding is to produce television.

The “newbies”, as Gyimah calls them, can play with the platform because that’s the market they’ve entered. Their principle objective is to master it.

Paul Bradshaw agrees, and offers Rocketboom as an example of how it looks in practice. A new kid on the block can grapple with online video journalism without the baggage of a print or broadcast history.

The Video Sharing Opportunity

As of 6th February 2011, Channel 4 on YouTube has 1168 subscribers.

By Umar Farooq

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of video-sharing websites that have cropped up on the internet in the last 5 years. Apart from the well-known YouTube and DailyMotion, this list ranks many others less familiar websites based on Alexa and Google page ranking. The diversity in content is incredible and there is something for everyone.

What does this mean?

The increase in options brings opportunities. For any aspiring journalist who can pick up a camera, the opportunities for sharing content are undoubtedly greater. Similarly, in the online world, broadcast news providers are now able to circulate their content to a wider audience which chooses when it wants to watch the content.

The increase in options has also seen diversity in content. Everyone has a unique way of telling stories and the online world allows people to express themselves in different ways.

An example

Take YouTube, on the ‘News and Politics’ channel page, you will see regional, national and international video channels. From Sky News, ITN News and Channel 4 News to NHS TV, Liverpool Daily Post and Algerian United. There are serious news channels and  spoof ones, all delivering journalism of one sort or another. We see news reports (packages), longer form film, vodcasts and vlogs (types of video journalism) catering for a diverse audience.

My focus, in a number of future posts will be to consider how video journalism has developed online. I will ask, how are we using video-sharing websites to circulate journalistic content online and how are broadcast news providers distinguishing their content from other individuals?

For now, I leave you with this. With nearly 10 million views, the video of an Indonesian baby smoking 40 cigarettes a day is one of the most viewed news videos online. Consider how this ITN news report, just over 1 minute in duration has been edited for online viewing. It is short enough to make sure you keep watching and detailed enough to tell you the story. It caters for the online audience.

* The links in this post can be accessed and shared on the VJO delicious page.