TV commercials used to be live. The thrill of watching the entertainers we loved in real time is what grabbed the viewers of the 50’s. With live streaming technologies readily available and affordable – things are about to come full circle, as LIVE is poised to catch our attention again.

With consumers tired of push (pollution messaging as I call it), brands are quickly understanding the necessity of bringing value to their audience. You do not do this with a :30 or any format who’s singular purpose is about focusing on your product or service. You also do not do this with a singular message. You do this by thinking about continuous programming. A campaign is no longer a few spots against an expensive media buy over a 6 month period. A campaign is ongoing programming with no end in sight. An ongoing stream of consciousness from the brand that brings value to it’s audience. Brands understand their verticals and respective audiences very well and they understand what they want. All they need to do is bring valuable content and engage their audience in their respective interests within that vertical. The product should be a by-product so-to-speak, not the focus.

Lets take an idea that is as old as TV itself. The celebrity endorsement. Lets tie the celebrity to a brand, maybe even one that cares about or is involved in cause marketing that aligns with the brand. Now lets give the celebrity free reign (yes, free reign), to broadcast live anytime they want to from wherever they are, cause related or otherwise. All of a sudden the idea of a fan being able to catch their favorite celebrity or live progress related to their favorite cause campaign becomes a must watch. An exclusive moment. An extension of reality TV, but with focus, celebrity and purpose – along with all of the spontaneous (and sometimes embarrassing moments yes) that the brand can stomach. Match that all up with live FB and Twitter feeds allowing fans to participate and you get the picture.

Those of you that have a Ustream account know the power of their new broadcasting application enabling anyone to broadcast video live from your iPhone.

Live formats will also be taken advantage of again by online media and new entertainment companies –  not just advertisers.  On a related note, Ashton Kutcher and Katalyst Ent are making some waves this morning with the announcement of his :30 min live ‘variety’ show broadcast from the Katalyst offices in LA. As much as many people think this is a gimmick, given my opinions on the above, I think Kutcher is onto something.  At least he is giving the format a shot. Kutcher has already been experimenting with KatalystHQ, short episodes of his office.  I real live version of ‘The Office’. KatalystHQ has some of the highest viewings online and so this is the next logical step. Today it is all about exploration and iteration and regardless of whether this works or not it will continue to place Katalyst in a great position. Read more about the event here: Ashton Kutcher’s Live Webvids: Genius New Format or Celeb Desperation?

The leaders in the live streaming space for now are:


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