Nishat Kurwa on Friday, Aug. 17th
UStream, which has built its reputation for live streaming in part through its celebrity users, is promoting its new Facebook app Broadcast for Friends (BFF), as a way to “empower everyday people broadcasting what they believe to be important to their world,” said a rep. The app is separate from the primary Ustream.tv product, which includes a phone app but requires users to have Ustream accounts and encourages a channel subscription model. BFF is a standalone FB app, evoking products like Socialcam and Instagram that include filters that can be applied to video and image capturing, and which create an archive of your content inside the app. While streaming, a user can choose to make the video private, visible to friends, or to the public. Viewers can comment on the video as it’s streaming as well.
At the product launch Thursday, senior vice president of marketing Dave Thompson demo’d the app with a video of his 14-month-old toddling down a hallway. It was a good example of how the app could be useful for families who want to share live events (births, baby’s first anything) with far-flung family members – from a service member’s partner going into labor to family abroad who could use the app as an alternative to Skype. “The demographic of this goes across all ages,” Thompson emphasized. He also showed a video of an enthusiastic friend raving about the app, which brought to mind the alarming possibilities of “drunk streaming.” Even if a user finds an unfortunate streaming event in their archive the morning after, though, videos can always be deleted from the archive and fingers can be crossed that no one was watching the live stream at three a.m.
When I talked with Social Cam’s Michael Seibel earlier this year, he described a pivot point for Justin.tv, when the team “came to the conclusion that live video…just wasn’t going to go mainstream.” The product that came out of that process was Social Cam, which does for recorded video what BFF is proposing to do for live. However, it’s possible that with the success of the mobile social video apps that have emerged this year, users are better primed for a product like BFF.