Blog: Periscope - the positives and the pitfalls

Sarah Baldock, chief executive and founder of Be-good Events, talks about the popularity of live-streaming mobile apps, such as Periscope, and why event professionals should explore their potential.

Sarah Baldock says while live streaming is great, it's only as great as your event production
Sarah Baldock says while live streaming is great, it's only as great as your event production

Live-streaming mobile apps, like Periscope and Meerkat, are huge. In just ten days, Periscope had one million users, and by four months they had 10 million, watching 40 years' worth of content every day.

It’s the fastest growing social network, and an unrivalled way to truly connect with and engage audiences with the action as it happens. People, brands and organisations are all trying it out for size. Right now, events industry professionals need to be all over it. What better way to support clients in broadening the reach of their event than interacting live with a wider audience?

But, despite the spontaneous feel of Periscope, the nature of live coverage and events means you must be prepared for the unexpected. When Periscope is used by someone with no experience, the results could do more harm than good, and they may not do the content justice or promote the great participation this tool could so easily generate.

I recently had an alert for a live-stream on Periscope. It was from an event hosted by a pretty significant brand, that I would have given my right arm to attend. A key speaker was about to take the stage, so I logged on eagerly, feeling like I had a back stage pass and was going to be privy to some insights that would put me ahead of the pack.

But no. All I got was a wobbly view obscured by an elbow precariously close to a wine glass and a very fuzzy vision of the speaker murmuring incoherently in the background. It wasn’t exactly what I expected. I guarantee it wasn’t how the person filming was experiencing it – and it really was not at all how the speaker or brand would want to be portrayed.

So, how do you maintain the energetic, spontaneous participation of live-streaming and ensure viewers can at least see and hear what’s going on? How do you ensure production values are at a level that the client deserves and viewers expect in order to interact with content?

No news must consult with the professionals. I’m not talking about setting up a recording studio in the event space, just making sure you have consulted with experts who have tested the set up, identified any pitfalls, lighting and sound issues, thought about the speaker or activity, the content and the delivery, and maybe even stabilised the device. And here’s a really important question: do you have enough bandwidth?!  

It doesn’t begin and end there. Give your audience warning that you’re about to stream, get them excited and gathered. Once the live-stream is over, your lovely producer can help edit highlights to share across social media platforms.

Periscope for events? It's good, but only as good as your event production.  

Comment below to let us know what you think.

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