New program promotes internet freedom, stable societies, and emerging democracies
February 18, 2014 — Ustream, Inc., the world’s most scalable and social live video platform, today announced the launch of Ustream for Change, a new philanthropic program that seeks to advance the company’s mission of empowering businesses and societies to be more transparent and productive through the innovative use of video. While thousands of forward-thinking enterprises are already leveraging Internet streaming video for business communications, brand building and social commerce, the goal of Ustream for Change is to encourage and support the use of video as a means to achieve positive social change.
Ustream’s cloud-based streaming video platform serves a wide variety of users, from global enterprises such as Cisco, HBO and Sony, to concert promoters and small and medium businesses looking to cast a wider net via live video. In recent years, however, another significant group has come to the forefront, as citizen journalists, activists and leaders around the globe have begun using Ustream as a communications vehicle to drive awareness to their causes and transform society at large.
When 33 copper and gold miners were trapped underground for more than two months in Chile’s 2010 Copiapó mining accident, for instance, citizen broadcasters streamed live video that helped call attention to the miners’ plight and raise awareness of unsafe working conditions in that country’s mines. The following year, agents of change across the Arab world broadcasted remarkable video footage as popular uprisings brought down rulers, sparked intense protests, and reshaped the region’s politics. And during Japan’s 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsunami, hundreds of amateur videos chronicled the terrifying events and human consequences of one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters.
Most recently, three Ustream broadcast channels in Ukraine have helped to fuel a groundswell of international concern with their intense live footage of clashes between police and protesters in the capital city of Kiev. In less than three months, the three channels have collectively garnered more than 50 million viewers while attracting hundreds of thousands of loyal social media followers. Ustream for Change has donated nearly $900,000 of in-kind support to these three user groups, in support of the Ukranian democracy movement.
Among those channels, Spilno.tv, was founded as a platform for sharing open and uncensored information in a highly oppressive media landscape. “We have been successful because we have refused to stop pushing for what we believe: that people deserve to know the truth,” said Maxim Prasolov, Head of International Viche Maidan Center of Splino.tv. “Now, we are making a real difference. The exposure that Ustream has given us has allowed expansion that will put us at a totally new level – competing with major ‘establishment’ media outlets.”
“We created Ustream for Change to recognize the efforts of these inspiring citizen broadcasters, and we hope to encourage others to think beyond four walls and harness the power of live video,” said Brad Hunstable, Ustream’s CEO and founder. “Ustream is an enthusiastic supporter of Internet freedom, stable societies, and emerging democracies. Our technology offers a means of achieving transparency on both sides of the camera, and we fully intend to support those who are leading movements for positive change.”
Ustream for Change is led by a volunteer-based internal committee within Ustream’s San Francisco and Budapest offices. Broadcasters interested in applying for support from the program can apply year-round. Beneficiaries will receive a free Pro Broadcasting plan (up to 30,000 viewer-hours ad-free), promotion via public relations and social media, and phone support. For more information see: http://www.ustream.tv/our-company/change