“Meerkat and Periscope competitor Hang w/ is rolling out what it calls “digital tickets…” an ad model that essentially lets broadcasters charge folks for watching real-time clips. Whether or not people are willing to fork over money to watch user-generated video isn’t clear. –adweek.com
Above: @JaleelKing was streaming live on Periscope from the high-rise fire Wednesday in Philadelphia.
I had my windows open to the beautiful breezes in Center City Philadelphia Wednesday night when I heard what struck me as an unusually long run from a fire truck siren, as if it was traveling further than usual.
Being an old newsy, I fired up the 5-0 Radio Pro radio scanner app on my iPhone, discovered that the Philadelphia Fire Department was responding to a major incident and tweeted what I heard:
Scanner report: High-rise fire at Broad and Ridge in North Philadelphia. Isn’t there a landmark around there?
— Jim MacMillan (@JimMacMillan) July 16, 2015
(I later read that “a rooftop fire sent smoke billowing throughout the building” which housed apartments at 640 North Broad Street, according to phillymag.com.)
Some journalists quarrel with the idea of tweeting scanner reports but — after decades in news photography — I’ve got the knowledge and experience to figure some things out here in Philadelphia. (I also like the “Batavian’s basic rules for scanner reporting” as a place to start.)
Next, I was about to check Twitter for witnesses on the scene when my phone whistled an alert from the Periscope app, indicating that local photographer Jaleel King had gone live with a stream labeled: “Fire at 640 N Broad St.” (That’s where I grabbed the image at the top of this post.)
And there I was at my kitchen table, watching a live report on my phone, perhaps one minute after wondering about the siren outside my window.
A photo posted by Jake Steinerman (@jasteinerman) on
About 10 minutes after I tweeted and shared King’s Periscope stream, I saw the first social media report from a local newsroom, when @6ABC posted a tweet with this aerial view:
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) July 16, 2015
Action News had a full report with dramatic video and interviews with evacuees by the time they went live for the 11 p.m. news show.
But when news breaks, I am now finding live reports from people the scene appearing much faster than traditional newsrooms can match — and I have to wonder if sending a helicopter makes much sense anymore.
Wouldn’t it be a better public service for journalists to find, authenticate, contextualize and re-share what’s being reported before they can possibly arrive? Or else why should we look to them first?
In case you’re not familiar with embedding, it is the very simple process of using a tool to generate and copy code which you can then paste into blog posts and other platforms, in order to display multimedia content.
This is how most of the inline YouTube videos, tweets, SlideShare and other presentations you see wind up on many sites, but you don’t even need to read the code you are posting.
And Meerkat just beat Periscope to the punch on this critical service, which many of us have been eagerly awaiting. A page on the Meerkat website walks you through the process:
The embedded player is smart. It will show your live stream if you’re live. If you’re not live, if will show your next upcoming stream. If you have no upcoming streams, it will display stats from your last stream. If you have not streamed yet, it will show your profile.
Users can pick from three sizes, upload a cover image, and have the option to allow or disallow comments on the embeddable player, according to theverge.com.
Supporting embedment is important because “it allows video publishers to keep traffic on their own websites,” recode.net explains. Previously, viewers had to click through from the direct link or watch via the Meerkat app, according to thenextweb.com.
As mashable.com explains: “The move could help (Meerkat) broaden its reach and differentiate itself from Periscope, a similar service owned by Twitter.”
Meanwhile, Meerkat is not disclosing active users but says May was their highest traffic month — more than tripling March levels — according to techcrunch.com.
Update: Now there is a plugin available, which makes it even easier for WordPress users to embed Meerkat streams.
Variety reports on how Meerkat partnered with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel to introduce the embedding service:
Discovery Channel Debuts Meerkat’s New Embed Feature for ‘Shark Week’
Here is a comprehensive video tutorial in the Meerkat embedding process:
Photo at top of post: One of two resident male whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium in the United States. Photo Zac Wolf, used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.
Both Meerkat and Periscope introduced app updates with new functions this week, but Facebook could make all the difference.
“Meerkat’s larger presence on Facebook could help the social network to test how much its 1.44 billion monthly active users want to see and share live videos on the platform.”
“The most innovative new feature is “Cameo,” which lets you (consensually) hijack someone else’s Meerkat stream for up to 60 seconds,” according to businessinsider.com, adding that: “This collaborative tool brings some of the fun of services like Chatroulette to Meerkat, without the creepy invasiveness.”
And according to thenextweb.com: “It’s also a killer feature for Meerkat; one Periscope doesn’t have, and won’t be able to duplicate without scrutiny from users.”
Meerkat “is also rolling out a beta version of Meerkat Library that allows users to save their live-streams directly to their own personal Meerkat library as opposed to saving it to a third-party service like YouTube or a phones camera roll,” according to knowtechie.com.
Mashable reports that: “To kick off the launch, Meerkat is partnering with The Weather Channel, TMZ, Fox, The CW, Mastercard and Champion League Sports.”
The update is available now in Apple’s App Store, according to technobuffalo.com, adding that the Android app was also updated on Wednesday, “but there’s no mention of any of these new features.”
Meanwhile: Periscope 1.1.2 goes live
With the latest Periscope update: “When you block someone’s message within a livestream, that message will appear as blocked to you only,” according to thenextweb.com, which continues: “The app also introduces some helpful housekeeping issues, including a way to get rid of the keyboard without accidentally ending your broadcast, the ability to edit your full name, and a clearer sign-in process.”
And as slashgear.com noted: “In this update your username is – get ready for this – viewable from your profile. At last!”
Now, let me know when somebody enables easy embedding.
When fire broke out on Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row Monday afternoon, Periscope users were not far behind.
The three-alarm fire burned three buildings over nearly three hours before it was declared under control, but no injuries were reported, according to multiple new sources.
At least 11 Periscope users streamed at least 26 live video reports, although there are no means to track streams which are not also tweeted when users also have location services turned off.
An explosion and fire in New York City’s East Village produced a similar outbreak of coverage on the day the Periscope app was first released in March, but such close clusters have been rare when news breaks so far from our media epicenters.
Periscope videos are deleted automatically after 24 hours online; so, the streams linked to these tweets will evaporate Tuesday evening. The latest links are the top of the list: