Newsmags Dip Toes Into Online Stream

Nov 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Britney Spears helped set records earlier this month, and not with her music.
The troubled singer’s courtroom battles were featured on streaming video at AccessHollywood.com and TMZ.com, which became the first entertainment newsmagazines to successfully stream live from a breaking entertainment news event sans satellite truck.
TMZ.com, meanwhile, also streamed live shots from outside Los Angeles nightclub Hyde Halloween night, launching a new era for the syndicated newsmagazines.
“This is not a stagnant Web site. We are trying things all the time, and part of that diet from now on will be streaming video,” said “TMZ” executive producer Harvey Levin. “Live streaming video works well with the stories we cover and the scene we cover, so we are going to do it when it adds to the experience.”
Newsmagazines have made appointment Internet viewing out of streaming coverage of red-carpet events and backstage interviews at award shows. But this latest breakthrough, using the Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO) card, sets a new standard for the genre using wireless transmission of data through radio signals for broadband Internet access and enabling shows and newscasts to stream live news without the need for trucks.
At Ms. Spears’ custody hearing, “Access Hollywood’s” Tony Potts and AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman reported live from the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, streaming live, instantaneous updates—including visuals of the frenzy outside the courthouse as well as details of the goings-on inside—to the site’s viewers.
“This new technology enables us to widen our scope, and that’s always the goal: Make content available to as many online users as possible,” said Betsy Bergman, VP of marketing for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “It helps us create a sticky experience and make the most of people’s Web-browsing habits, especially as we move forward with this.”
AccessHollywood.com’s successful live streaming comes just weeks after it set record numbers in September, growing more than 300% from September 2006 and attracting nearly 2 million unique users, according to Media Metrix/ComScore.
“The use of the EVDO is the latest part of our overall growth strategy. We’re excited by the ability to get such a clear stream,” said Jeremy Blacklow, managing editor of AccessHollywood.com. “As we continue to explore the use of the EVDO, I envision a day where users are getting regular news updates throughout the day because of this technology.”
While the EVDO card has been used efficiently by local and national news organization, its foray into the world of newsmagazines will provide new options for the syndicated strips.
“We have a strategy to incorporate this as part of the experience of the site and it is here to stay,” Mr. Levin said.


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