C&B Notes

Google+ Hangouts and TV Broadcasting

Internet-driven social media continues to revolutionize how we connect (and re-connect) with others.  Most importantly to us from a business perspective, social media changes distribution.  Content producers can more effectively target, reach, and interact with identified high-value niches, threatening current content distributors in the process.  Google+ is expanding what is possible on its social network:

Google+ recently added video conferencing capabilities to its platform. Like Skype, you may have used Google+ hangouts to talk to your friends face-to-face for free using your computer.  But have you used it to watch your local news?

Google has started rolling out Google+ hangouts On Air to public figures, celebrities and users with large numbers of followers.  Whereas the original Hangouts were limited to groups of ten, with one host and nine participants, the new version allows everyone beyond the participating group to watch the hangout as a YouTube live stream.  The host can broadcast the session to specific Google+ Circles or to the public on Google+.

Television stations love it because it’s basically a broadcast tower in the middle of a social network.  Plenty of news organizations have tried it, from the Reynolds Journalism Institute to the BBC, and are reporting that it helps them interact with viewers beyond the one-way confines of the television set, making them more visible in the community.

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The format also changes the way the reporters engage their audiences on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ hangouts.  Hill told our sister blog, TVSpy, “No longer do we have to just butt together soundbites.  We have people in the same space to discuss issues as a group.  Viewers don’t just want a news anchor sitting behind a desk shouting headlines.  Viewers want to be a part of the conversation.”

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