Category Archives: PR Blog

Super Bowl Highlights Need for Scalable Streaming

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When the New England Patriots squared off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIV, more than 1.3 million people experienced the event through NBC’s live streaming video — a 50 percent increase over last year’s online viewership.

According to NBC’s press release, the stream also set Super Bowl records for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million).

While it was an impressive achievement for live streaming video, it was not without its challenges. As the game progressed, the overwhelming demand resulted in some online viewers experiencing time delays and other technical difficulties.

“NBC is great at streaming live events,” Ustream CTO Gyula Feher told The Daily Dot in an interview regarding the event. “They were the first to stream the Super Bowl in 2012. And, the Super Bowl is the ‘Everest’ of live events: Let’s remember that Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched television event ever. It’s likely that the peak load on the NBC livestream was similarly record-breaking.”

One of the biggest challenges in streaming a live event, however, is anticipating the bandwidth required, which can vary dramatically from one minute to the next. For example, during Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, the streams of keynote speeches by CEO Mark Benioff and Hilary Clinton drew record-setting audiences.

One way Ustream has addressed this challenge of being able to scale and anticipate required bandwidth is through a unique technology we developed called Software Defined content delivery network (CDN), or SD-CDN.

SD-CDN provides the ability to scale automatically without manual provisioning of resources, dynamically adding and removing edges and providers as demand requires. The system can leverage a combination of edge resources (e.g. CDN providers, transit lines, peering and ad-hoc edges, etc.) and instantly route traffic among those sources as needed. A built-in monitoring system evaluates in real time the performance and efficacy of each source and can make automatic adjustments as changing conditions require.

What does all this mean for the individual viewer? The best possible quality from beginning to end — and the ability to pre-empt issues that could disrupt the viewing experience.

Now that’s what we call a big win.

Learn about the best solution for your big event here.

Is 2015 “The Year of Video?”

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When that famous ball dropped in Times Square to mark the start of 2015, millions of viewers around the world had access to the event thanks to Ustream’s six-hour live streaming broadcast. It was a most appropriate beginning to what Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable is calling “The Year of Video.”

“I think 2015 will be the year of video,” Hunstable recently told the International Business Times, “so it’s sort of fitting that we bring this into the new year with this really interactive, really HD, high-quality New Year’s Eve presentation.”

So what is driving this surging interest in live streaming video? One word: business.

“The business model for Ustream has been traditionally advertising,” Hunstable said, “but what’s interesting is over the past few years we’ve really doubled down our efforts to become a SAAS [Software-as-a-Service] company. We’ll license and sell our technology to media companies and enterprises that need really powerful and highly scalable video solutions.” (Read the full article here.)

Hunstable echoed those same sentiments when he spoke with SiliconANGLE at IBM Impact 2014:

“If you look at where the growth is happening in video — most people don’t realize this — most of the growth in this next wave is going to happen within the enterprise … The enterprise is a tremendous opportunity, and what you’re going to see coming from Ustream, we’re going to continue to provide really robust solutions that solve the needs of these organizations for productivity, transparency, to connect with consumers and their employees in deeper ways … Every corporation today is a media company.”

The data supports Hunstable’s assertions: According to a recent study by The Aberdeen Group, 95 percent of Best-in-Class marketers are using video as part of their content marketing mix.

So, will 2015 be “The Year of Video?” We think so!

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Brad Hunstable to ReadWrite: “Video can really relay passion better than any medium”

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Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable recently sat down with Stephanie Chan of the tech news site ReadWrite to share the story of Ustream, what the company is like today, and where it — and live streaming video in general — is going. (Read the full article here)

Some of our favorite excerpts:brad-hunstable-readwrite

ReadWrite: What were you like growing up?

Brad Hunstable: I was definitely more of a hacker as a kid. As a pre-teen, I coded and built a Bulletin Board Service (BBS – the Internet before there was an Internet) in Texas. […] It certainly was not “cool” to be a programmer back then and the many times I was called ”geek” were not terms of endearment.
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RWCan you tell me what Ustream is like today? 

BH: Ustream is one of the largest video solutions on the Web, and we are primarily focused on enterprises. We want to help businesses communicate more effectively with their two most important constituents— customers and their employees.

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RW: Livestreaming has recently come into the media forefront with Amazon’s acquisition of livestream video gaming site, Twitch. What does this mean for the current state of livestream video?

BH: […] Video is reaching a point where it’s really becoming a foundation piece of the Internet. By 2017, according to Cisco, it will be 55% of the Internet’s traffic. It’s incredible. We did a Sony Playstation 4 launch a couple months ago, and it was 2% of the Internet’s traffic.

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RW: What’s next for you and Ustream?

BH: I’m a big believer that there’s going to be a company that can be a video layer across enterprise. Everything I’m doing today in terms of our product is really about helping businesses be more transparent to their customers, more transparent to their employees. We help them use video to build those relationships.

To read more of Brad’s insights, check out the full interview here.

Veteran Support Group, Oscar Mike Foundation, Named as Latest ‘Ustream for Change’ Honoree

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September 4, 2014 – SAN FRANCISCO — Ustream, the world’s leading live video platform, today announced veteran-focused non-profit, Oscar Mike Foundation, as the newest recipient of a ‘Ustream for Change’ award. As part of the honor, Ustream will provide Oscar Mike a complimentary license to the Ustream Enterprise Pro Broadcasting product for a period of three months, allowing the organization to put a public spotlight on the challenges and opportunities facing veterans, with topics including living with post-traumatic stress, adapting to life after combat injury and the impact on spouses and caregivers.  Oscar Mike’s series of live video discussions is titled the “After Action Panel” and can be found at  Ustream Channel, http://www.ustream.tv/AfterActionPanel Broadcasts will begin on Saturday, September 13, with the first episode covering veterans’ personal struggles with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). The panel will feature a landmark gathering of veterans representing every major conflict in the nation’s history back to World War II. “As a West Point graduate, I’m thrilled the Ustream for Change panel chose to recognize the sacrifice and dedication of our Veterans,” said Brad Hunstable, CEO and founder of Ustream. “Live video takes audience experience to the next level and so we are proud that our technology can help further bring veteran support to life for these heroes.” Launched at the start of 2014, ‘Ustream for Change’ is a philanthropic program that seeks to advance Ustream’s mission of empowering businesses and societies to be more transparent and productive through the innovative use of video. The program was originally inspired by three Ukrainian citizen journalists, whose coverage of events in Kiev captured the attention of more than 50 million viewers across the globe. More than 400 applications from every continent have been submitted since launch, with causes spanning education, civil rights, politics, and evangelism sectors.  For more information on Ustream for Change, visit http://www.ustream.tv/our-company/change “We are excited to partner with Ustream to bring these important topics more prominently into the national consciousness,” added Noah Currier, Oscar Mike president and founder. “Veterans have always made amazing sacrifices for their countries during active service. Using video to share experiences assists this process, and platforms like Ustream allow us to do this with the reach and impact of a global media organization.” Live video series for veterans will kick off Sept 13 with representatives from every major conflict since WWII   About Oscar Mike Oscar Mike exists to assist and promote disabled Veterans. The term “Oscar Mike” comes from military radio jargon used on the front lines, and translates to staying “On the Move”. Being Oscar Mike means being active, staying positive and living life to its absolute fullest. The Oscar Mike Foundation helps to rehabilitate disabled veterans and individuals through participation in high-energy extreme sporting events. A registered 501c3 non-profit organization, The Oscar Mike Foundation is comprised of a group of Veterans, athletes, artists and individuals from all walks of life who view disabilities not as roadblocks, but as challenges to own and overcome.

Ustream Features Every Public Relations Professional Should Know About

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As more marketers and businesses are embracing Ustream as their live video streaming platform for both internal and external business communications, more publicists are getting involved in the process to generate buzz around their live event efforts.

Ustream has an array of tools for producers and marketers, but with some research and the know-how for where to go, publicists can take advantage of various features to spread their message to a wider audience.

Customize and Brand your Ustream channel for a seamless look

Martha Stewart is the queen of chic, so for her Ustream broadcast to blend with her brand, we helped set her up with a customized channel page.  Not only does it legitimize the stream as a part of the brand, it can also be a hub for archived videos, upcoming shows, and other information you’d like to share with viewers.

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Not Every Video needs to be Live on Ustream

For anyone nervous about a spokesperson on a live broadcast, or concerned the Internet connection may not be strong enough during the live stream; Ustream offers a recorded-to-live feature to alleviate your anxiety.  Easily integrate previously recorded video — from any platform or format — into the Ustream player. So if the Wi-Fi doesn’t work, you can keep recording, and then share the content on loop in the Ustream player once the recording is finished.

Chat Features & Social Media Integration: Create Conversations with Your Audience

There is no better way to engage viewers than to use the social stream and chat features.  Answer viewers questions live on-air to help create engaged conversation with the customer, while also capturing more eyes on the broadcast as their comments are published on Twitter and Facebook with quick links back to your channel.

The best part — as NASA successfully demonstrates below — is the integration of any hashtag or Twitter handle into the social stream to help create virality. In this case, anytime someone tweeted at #NasaTV, it showed up in the social stream.

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For anyone concerned about inappropriate messages, conversations within the stream can be filtered and moderated to protect against unwanted commenters and spam.

Embeds Allow Anyone to Share your Content

Whether you want to drive viewers to your own site, share the video player with a journalist, or post on your social media account; Ustream players can be embedded anywhere on the web. You can also grow your Facebook audience by requiring viewers to ‘Like’ your page before they can watch.

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The Excitement of Live Video is Contagious

Live streaming video is still a new space many companies and personalities are beginning to engage in. The ability for companies to reach large audiences in real-time has never been more pertinent for brands to engage customers in a fun, yet transparent way. The features highlighted above are only a sampling of what publicists can use to create a strong and consistent message that has all of the potential to go viral. Take a chance and play around with the features to test all of live video’s potential.

 

5 Tips for PR Pros to get started live streaming in 2014

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As public relations professionals we are always looking for new ways to create social chatter around a product, make a big company announcement, or launch a new product. With the help of live video and the New Year filled with personal and professional goals, live video could be exactly what your company needs to boost a product launch, company announcement, or internal town hall to the next level. Continue reading