Internet Television


My Ustream Broadcasting Experiences

I had the opportunity to learn more about UStream as a business earlier this year.  What Youtube is to recorded video, UStream wants to be to live streaming video.  It is internet television.  As part of my learning, I obviously needed to become a user of the service.

It takes about 2 minutes to set up your own broadcasting channel in UStream.  I’ve completed two broadcasts this past year.  First was to broadcast an Operation Feed benefit party we hosted at our house.  The invitees were all former colleagues, so I thought out-of-towners would enjoy attending virtually (they didn’t attend by the way).  The second broadcast was providing roving reporter highlights of a recent Soap Box Derby rally here in Columbus.  No one watched this live either. The production for the derby was quite minimalist, as I accomplished everything using the Ustream app on my new Motorola Droid phone (not the X). 

These were both amazingly simple to set up.  But they obviously aren’t amazingly simple to attract viewers, or to produce quality content.  That takes lots of old-fashioned creativity, thought and promotion.   But the point is, the barrier to entry in television broadcasting is approaching $0, as you are already in possession of all the equipment required to get started.   And the next time, I will work harder to promote the broadcast and create better content.

You can go to Ustream’s site and see all the broadcasts that are currently live.  You should try it.  At the time of this writing, over 4000 people are watching Molly the Barn Owl and 2000 people are watching a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka.   You will also find some incredibly poor quality broadcasts (content-wise) just like my first two attempts. 

But clever people will figure out promotion, quality content, and the other requirements to create successful new businesses or marketing programs around this capability.  So just as cable ate into the market of network television, internet television will soon eat into cable’s market share.  The internet created the channel for everyone to become a newspaper publisher.  FlickR provided the channel for amateur photographers to license and distribute stock photography.  And now  Ustream is creating the channel for you and me to be in the television broadcasting business. 

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