Feature Friday: Archives of Live Broadcasts

I wrote about the live broadcasting craze earlier this week. There are three significant players in this market, YouNow, Twitter/Periscope, and Meerkat. I’m a shareholder in two of them (YouNow is a USV portfolio company and we own a lot of Twitter stock personally). So I’ve been quite interested to see how this market is shaping up and I’ve been using all three apps this week.

I should say that I don’t see myself as a broadcaster. That may change. But I honestly don’t know what parts of my day are interesting enough to broadcast and would be appropriate to broadcast. I’m sure the USV monday meeting would be interesting to broadcast but it would not be fair to all the companies we talk about in that meeting confidentially to broadcast that. I’m sure the SoundCloud board meeting would be interesting to broadcast but I’m equally sure the company would be mortified that I would even dare to think of such a thing. I know that I will get some suggestions in the comments and if any are good, I will reconsider the “I’m not a broadcaster” attitude I have right now.

I did accidentally broadcast two seconds on Meerkat this morning.

That happened because I accidentally pushed a button and went live without realizing it (and tweet spammed almost 400,000 followers) to my great annoyance. That’s a UX fail as far as I’m concerned and I’m not sure I’m going to open that app again.

But I do see myself as a consumer of these broadcasts. We’ve been an investor in YouNow for something like three years and I’ve spent time watching broadcasts on YouNow. It’s a classic Internet content marketplace. There’s brilliance right next to silliness. But when you catch something brilliant on YouNow, it’s kind of magical. Tyler Oakley did a YouNow last night that had 120,000 viewers and he raised $20,000 for his Prizeo challenge during his live broadcast. You can watch Tyler’s broadcast via YouNow’s archive mode.

Which leads me to my feature friday topic – archives of live broadcasts. I’m getting real time mobile notifications on my phone from Periscope and YouNow and Meerkat and I’m also seeing invitations to join these live broadcasts in my Twitter feed. But I’m pretty busy during the day when all of these broadcasts are happening. I realize there’s value in watching live (the chat, the engagement, the favoriting, etc) but honestly I can’t tune in live very often.

What I’d like to be able to do, ideally right from my mobile notifications or the tweet, is to favorite or mark to watch later (I use the favorite button on many platforms as my “read later” button).

Twitter’s Periscope also has archives. I snapped this screenshot today from my Periscope app.


I watched my friend Howard”s broadcasts via this archive screen this morning, further confirming that I (and Howard too) are not interesting enough to be broadcasters 🙂

But regardless of whether or not that particular archived broadcast was any good, I think ironically archives are an important part of the livestreaming experience and I think the leading apps should support this functionality if they want to reach the broadest user base.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Archives, for sure, will increase discovery and curation of the best streams.

  2. JimHirshfield

    TIL: Daniel Ha is in a jazz band…or not?

    1. fredwilson

      i haven’t watched his yet. but i will. because they were archived!

  3. LE

    FYI younow.com if you are reading the “about” link on your website is broken.

  4. LE

    PR wise younow needs to figure out a way to get some reality show participants to broadcast on younow. I had never heard of the company (and tried to check out the “about” page per my other comment) until you mentioned it today.Also, a quick check of the website doesn’t show any way to discover who is broadcasting. [1][1] Update: You have to login with F/T/G+ so that’s a non starter for me. I just abandoned the shopping cart.

  5. JimHirshfield

    So, Periscope is only on iOS. Which means you’re on both the iPhone and Android now?

    1. fredwilson

      i’m moving back to android this weekend when i get back to NYC

      1. JimHirshfield

        Ah, can’t wait for the analogies:iPhone is to West Coast as Android is to East Coast ???

        1. fredwilson

          iphone is tupacandroid is biggieand you know who i prefer 🙂

          1. JimHirshfield

            Hahaha. You’re so gangsta…..not.

          2. LE

            I had to google biggie but I had heard of tupac.Likewise AVC has introduced me to various sports stars who I have never heard of. I found out recently, that a guy that I deal with locally in business, that his brother is the agent for a few of those sports celebrities. AVC has educated me enough so that I can now be properly impressed with that fact.

  6. Erick Schonfeld

    Archiving is convenient for the viewer, and will increase total views (more people almost always watch a given web broadcast on-demand than live), but will it increase engagement?There is something magical about not only watching live—being “teleported” to a different place and seeing the world through the broadcaster’s eyes (or at least their mobile phone’s camera)—but being able to chat live with the broadcaster and influence the course of the broadcast itself. It’s a completely different, more engaging experience, which cannot be fully replicated on-demand. If you are not watching these streamcasts live, you are not experiencing them fully.

    1. fredwilson

      i agreebut an archive is better than nothing

      1. Daniel Taibleson

        But with Meerkat you can save the broadcast and upload it to youtube etc.Is that a viable solution to the issue you’re presenting?

    2. Joe Cardillo

      I think a lot depends on how communities of people cluster, that’s where the value is. Even a searchable archive of everything ever becomes useless without that, no?

  7. ErikSchwartz

    I’m really not sure how well live video (in particular ad hoc live video) and a real time feed work together. It’s all very buzzy but we’ve yet to see if there’s staying power. If you look at Meerkat on topsy it’s been flat to down for the last week.The vehicle of virility in twitter is the retweet, but retweets build over time. Most of these live streams are very short, so retweeting them is meaningless. Archives could change a lot.Jimmy Fallon tweets he is doing a meerkat to 23,000,000 followers and gets 2,000 concurrent viewers. That conversion ratio really sucks.I noticed yesterday that Periscope was already having to smack down pirated soccer games. Curating many live streams is really labor intensive. My understanding is that was a full time job (many full time jobs) at Justin. Unauthorized live streaming concerts? I can’t even count the legal issues.

    1. Joe Cardillo

      In terms of virality – I personally don’t have much to livestream myself, but I suppose a button like the tv/radio stations have that lights up when someone is broadcasting might be a UX fix for this

  8. JaredMermey

    A “DVR” app that can record from any “channel”

  9. ErikSchwartz

    FWIW, scaling archived video and scaling live video are two very, very different technical problems.

    1. fredwilson

      yupthe folks at younow have been at this for three years and have had to rebuild their stack a few times already

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Periscope seemed to have ~20-30 seconds of latency when I measured it yesterday. BitTorrent Live now has end to end latency for MUCH higher quality streams down well under 5 seconds.

  10. JimHirshfield

    I listened to Chris Sacca do a “scope” office hours on the beach (in SoCal) earlier today. It was cool, like an AMA. I was doing email at the same time and didn’t really need the visual, so it felt almost like a live podcast.

    1. Howard Mann

      Agreed. I watched that as well and thought it was a great use of the application. And lends itself to being archived as well.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Did you want to drop everything and head over to the beach? I know I did.

        1. Howard Mann

          Yes! And have my office there too.

    2. CJ

      I just watched Chris’s two-part interview on TWiST from 2012 over the last couple days. Fascinating listening. I love his story…the grind and the hustle. Amazing.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Right place. Right time. Taking bets. Proactive. Prolific.

        1. CJ

          Amazing guy too. That really came through. He’s the type of person I’d love to have as a friend or investor. His personality is just awesome and authentic.

    3. William Mougayar

      How would you use a Livestream, Jim- if you did?

      1. JimHirshfield

        In a similar fashion, but with fewer followers, no beach, and a billion dollars less to my name.

    4. Jim Ritchie

      The everyone is a video broadcaster theme is certainly getting some traction. I’ve used http://www.spreecast.com to create video broadcasts in the past when launching a new company. This is a shameless plug for Spreecast as founded by a friend of mine, Jeff Fluhr, same guy that founded StubHub. They offer a bit more studio like capabilities than just live streaming from your phone including having multiple people on the live broadcast. Check it out.

  11. awaldstein

    Without time shifted capabilities none of these services are usable to me.They assume that we the user are on demand which is the opposite of reality.They are simply avoiding the really hard issue of access and discovery of shifted content.

    1. fredwilson

      that was my blog post. written simply and concisely and thus much better than mine!

    2. JimHirshfield

      It’s “primetime” viewing time to someone somewhere all the time. Kinda like that drinking aphorism that it’s after noon somewhere.

      1. LE

        Part of the problem is that you have a day job.

        1. JimHirshfield

          I know, that’s such a big problem. No. Wait. It’s not a problem that I have a job.

          1. LE

            You should make enough money and work hard enough that you have to pay “full load” for your kids college education. (And I am actually saying that seriously btw I’m not joking..)

          2. JimHirshfield

            In which case, back to work I go.

      2. pointsnfigures

        5 o clock somewhere; I think you just gave corporate policy away.

        1. JimHirshfield


    3. GSukenik

      Definitely want to check out Glide then, which allows for instant broadcasting as well as automatic archiving.https://www.glide.me/

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks.A buddy of mine, a filmmaker is building amplify.me that is very early but I think may be the answer. Completely unique point of view from outside the industry that may have the chops to make it so.

  12. Ryan Connolly

    True! On a human level, an archive means those missed moments now exist for you — big help for understanding/closeness.

  13. LIAD

    I buy into the rhetoric of the companies involved. “See the world through other people’s eyes in real-time” – a beautiful and valuable endeavour.Will live streaming follow the twitter diffusion curve? Going from derision to world shaping?Will it become the 21st century heartbeat of humanity?Keep the platforms open and I can’t see why not. Ubiquitous broadband and hi-res videocameras, all the pieces are in place.So far, I haven’t seen an exciting stream however. To date both apps remind me of the grainy pixelated live web cam videos you could watch back in 1999.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. i agree with you on the promise and the reality

    2. LE

      Watching video consumes to much time per idea. Words communicate ideas more quickly.

      1. CJ

        I agree. I use video as a podcast. Headphones in, phone in pocket,clean-up while I listen.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Man is that the truth. I have never been able to put that thought into words. I used to do a fair amount of TV on CNBC etc. Once I was the Fox Business in studio guest host. That was the first time I noticed how network anchors talk at a time and half pace faster than the real world. In breaks they told me I had to speak faster. There is no time for thought-you just go. It’s actually a really hard skill to take complex points and distill them into a talking point that can be said quickly. And the producer yakking in your ear.

    3. ErikSchwartz

      They may have hi res camera in phones but neither meerkat not periscope are transmitting anything close to hi res live video streams.

      1. LIAD

        Pieces are in place. This won’t fail due to technology risk.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          Not at scale they are not. Not for a reasonable price.Live streaming high quality video at scale is very expensive. I don’t think any of these players have much technology there.

  14. Rick_Robinson

    have always thought broadcasting internal company meetings would be rubberneck-worthy watching.

  15. Richard McConkie


  16. kevando

    These live broadcasting apps will transform world news after people use them during the next global catastrophe. Imagine 100s of people live broadcasting the Japanese Tsunami, or a major terrorist attack… Makes the movie Nightcrawler all the more unsettling..

    1. JimHirshfield

      Yup. I think there were a few streams of yesterday’s Manhattan fire.

      1. LE

        A big waste of time for people that have jobs during the day.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Not for people that want the news now

          1. LE

            …and live in lifecare or 55+ communities and just got done eating lunch with their friends. This type of thing could impact QVC and soap operas.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Livestream us some domain name auctions

          3. LE

            I have a big market recently in chinese buyers. One of them actually said to me yesterday (and I am not kidding):”I feel that you’re not Chinese people.but your chinese is good.”(I’ve attached a screen grab).

          4. JimHirshfield

            You speak Chinese?

          5. LE


          6. JimHirshfield

            copy/paste of Google Translate?一坨屎

          7. LE

            Yes by the way that reverse translates to “lump of feces”.

          8. JimHirshfield

            Ah, so “bull” and “lump” are the same word in Chinese.

          9. JimHirshfield

            Classic. Thanks for that. 😀

        2. pointsnfigures

          @JimHirshfield:disqus and I Disqused about this yesterday. No more job talk.

      2. JamesHRH

        Breaking news has some legs, except, off course, if you only have 60 followers……not so much.This is successful people getting excited about something that only applies to them.

        1. JimHirshfield

          60 followers who in aggregate have 6000 followers, who in turn have 600,000 followers.

          1. JamesHRH

            more like the other direction…..

    2. LE

      Imagine 100s of people live broadcasting the Japanese Tsunami, or a major terrorist attack..Oh sure the infrastructure can definitely handle that after a Tsunami.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        +1The hard part of scaling live streaming video is not the camera app or the UX.

        1. Joe Cardillo

          Maybe, but think about what livestreaming could do after an incident when there is a lot of relief coordination that needs to happen. In that time and place decentralized / distributed problem solving and power are really important. (edit: sorry about that, was supposed to be response to LE)

          1. ErikSchwartz

            I agree but this is not de-centrailzed or distributed.This is a stream from a phone, running to a big ingestion server, then distributed via CDN.

          2. Joe Cardillo

            Right, that’s if the servers / queuing stays centralized…I don’t think that’s an absolute constriction that can’t change though

          3. LE

            I guess someone could do a “project loon” esq setup sort of like how the goodyear blimp would go to big sporting events. Would take a fair amount of resources and the question is how much exactly would the live stream benefit vs. (and this is important) another use of the same funds or effort?Money doesn’t grow on trees and there are many worthwhile ways to achieve perhaps greater benefits for the resources required.As an example, this is a floating hospital ship (was on MIghty Ships tv show on cable):http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

    3. Thees Peereboom

      It will transform world news when mainstream media are reporting from the outside in and ‘insiders’ from the inside out – both with the same videotools!

  17. Joe Cardillo

    Re: archives, definitely agree. No matter how much traction and interest any of these apps / co’s generate, signal v. noise will be a problem if they are not prepared to quickly deal with. Maybe some hybrid of tagging would help (unless that already exists and I just overlooked?)One broadcasting suggestion: perhaps mini work session / problem solving with portfolio companies. E.g. a new growth lever is working really well but needs big / framework thinking to figure out how to extend it over the next 6-8 months.

  18. Joe Lazarus

    What’s interesting to me about these services is not specifically the “broadcast” aspect, but the real-time interaction. Watching live video of Fred going about his day may not be that interesting, but a live Q&A with Fred answering questions from the AVC community in video format would be interesting.And yes, totally agree these things need better archiving features. More often than not, when I click on a Meerkat link, it takes me to a stream that ended before I got there. Periscope handles it much better. I wish I should fast forward and rewind the archived footage and, while doing so, see a visualization of how many hearts each segment got so I could quickly advance to the interesting parts.

  19. RichardF

    archived like youtube or hangouts you mean?

  20. William Mougayar

    Is livestreaming the new blogging or a new social stream there for the taking?Archive or no-archive aside, just as WordPress doesn’t make one a great blogger, and Twitter doesn’t make a user great at tweeting, livestreaming is just a capability- some will do it well, and others poorly. Some will learn it & get better at it, and others will never master it.Like everything else of web publishing nature, 1% will create, and 99% will consume.

  21. Tim Dierks

    NYC’s own Seen has launched #katch http://katchkats.com/ to let you record your Meerkats to YouTube and share them with your audience after the fact.

  22. Adrian Lurssen

    A tangent, perhaps, but it’s interesting to me that two teams would arrive, pretty much, at the same metaphor to capture their offering in a name. After all, the Meerkat is the Periscope of the African savannah, at least in physical appearance and gesture — standing tall, surveying the landscape ahead for activity … even the curve of the meerkat’s head and those lense-like eyes, like a periscope :-)I’ve wondered if the reason for focused buzz around Meerkat and Periscope (not YouNow, which rightly deserves to be included in the list, as you do, but generally hasn’t been – unless I’m reading the wrong articles, tweets, etc) has anything to do with something as “simple” as naming.The name of a successful company tells a story that we know, right? So a successful company has grown into its name, to some degree. But the name of a startup has to evoke a story before it fully plays out, or is told … and, yeah, this week I’ve been interested to see Meerkat and Periscope mentioned time again but not so much YouNow, which seems to have really solid numbers. Been trying to understand why.If it is a given that there’s social buzz and media hype before there’s real analysis, can a name make just enough of a difference — and is that possibly happening here with these three platforms?As I said, could be wrong on my assessment of where the buzz lies — just how I’ve been seeing it this week.**Regarding your hope for live streaming suggestions. I think you should just live stream your commute to work — especially if you’re walking the streets of NYC. Perhaps one of the things about voyeurism: it doesn’t require meaning to be meaningful (to the watchers)…Or something like that.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      I suspect YouNow is crushing both Meerkat and Periscope in usage outside the limited audience of the digerati.

      1. fredwilson

        Absolutely. They probably have 100x the users

      2. Ruben Nichols

        Sorry but i have heard meerkat having the best technology of the three.

  23. howardlindzon

    Howard is handsome and very interesting. Give him time. Rachel.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Uh, oh. Howard’s Disqus account has been hacked.

  24. Tommy Chen

    Is archiving in Periscope optional? I can’t tell. It could be useful, but not all broadcasters wants their streams saved.

    1. Drew Meyers

      I guess the counter point is that not all TV broadcasters (like sports games) want their stream saved either…but people do it.

  25. pointsnfigures

    I have been messing with Meerkat and Periscope. Once the app is open, I like the Meerkat interface because it’s easier to chat with participants. I have not saved any vid at all. Totally agree about Howard. His Instagram is generally of his feet. I’d rather see someone do their laundry. Oh, wait Howard will do that next!

    1. JimHirshfield

      Hmm, Howard doing laundry or Jeff doing yoga….It’s a toss-up.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Adho Mukha Svanasanahas a different ring to it when I assume it. No one wants to see that!

  26. Rick Mason

    Fred,I think you should have a pitch Fred event. Have it in a public place with an audience and entrepreneurs sit down with you and they’ve got three minutes to pitch. At the end of the night you name a winner who you will invite to pitch to a full partners meeting. Now that would be compelling to watch and at the same time pretty educational. Bet you the chat session would add a shark tank atmosphere as well ;<).

  27. Chris Hamer

    Fred. Great points – as always. The shift toward time-shifting has been growing for a long time – since the early VCR days. Binge watching has become the new normal. Have a look at CrowdFlik (AppStore and google play). CrowdFlik is the video platform that uploads (and archives) synchronized copies of smartphone video from events. CrowdFlik allows you to watch compilations of shared videos created by others or you can create create your own to watch and share.

  28. Jim Borden

    When I think of what be an interesting live/archived broadcast it seems a starting point would be to look at who has a large number of followers, and from there, what they might do with broadcasting capabilities.My first thought would be musicians; could be interesting to get a live video broadcast from Springsteen while he is backstage, 10 minutes before he is ready to take the stage. Could give a sense of being there to those who are not, and offer a preview of what his plans for the show are. It would also be interesting to broadcast a practice session from earlier that day when they are doing a sound check.I also think there could be be something here for athletes. It might be interesting to hear LeBron’s thoughts about that night’s opponent or to watch an athlete go through one of his or her off-season workout sessions.I’m not sure if it would be possible to have one of these apps work with a GoPro, but it could be cool to watch Lindsey Vonn ski and talk her way through a practice run, from her perspective, in real time.One final thought would be having actors/actresses send live video updates while they are on location somewhere and perhaps get some sense of what it is like to be on a movie set in real time.

  29. ShanaC

    I am not totally sure I want archived live video of me

    1. Drew Meyers

      I most definitely do not

  30. Brandon G. Donnelly

    i’ve been feeling the same way: what the hell can i broadcast that would be interesting? still waiting for the right moment.but as ben rubin said, he’s trying to create a new behaviour here.

    1. Drew Meyers

      a new behavior. I want to know why? what problem do people currently have that makes this a burning desire?

  31. Pete Griffiths

    There are people paying to watch people sleep.So I suggest you open a channel of you sleeping. I think it would be a huge hit. Does a VC toss and turn more than most? Does a VC cry out the names of lost opportunities? The world is waiting!

  32. omarsar

    The fact that YouNow is being categorized via hashtags from start, is a bold move and a damn good one. Ideally, I would love to come see some YouNow moments that are trending and hashtags are the perfect way for me to know exactly what I want to see. I wish YouTube had such capabilities.

  33. GSukenik

    Seems like Glide should be included in this group as well:http://blogs.wsj.com/digits…Terrific video streaming app, the quality of the product has really improved, as a user for the last year. I use it routinely to catch up with family across the globe 🙂

    1. GSukenik

      Also worth noting, Glide allows for instant broadcasting as well as archiving all videos.

  34. Sean Hull

    I agree archives key. The first time I tried meerkat, I immediately went to my twitter feed after I was done. But there was nothing to view. 🙂

  35. Erin

    I was thinking a few weeks ago that HR might like live broadcasting to know how people work (which would be a nightmarish situation for employees and makes my skin crawl), or maybe employees will actually volunteer to be broadcast for headhunters so they can know how they behave/relate to people on the job.