During the 2009 Presidential inauguration, Facebook and CNN made the “Live Stream” widget famous amongst television executives wanting to find ways to make live events more engaging and viral inside Facebook. During the speech, over 2 million status updates were sent, and CNN and Facebook have since been appearing at conferences together talking about how successful the integration was for both parties.
Since then, Facebook has done a variety of similar partnerships from the NBA All Star Game to the Oscars. Now, Facebook is opening up the Live Stream widget, built on Facebook Connect, to any publisher or developer who wants to use it around live events. Facebook says the widget can support millions of simultaneous viewers updating in real time, and is encouraging publishers to use the Live Stream “next to live streaming videos of concerts, speeches, sporting events, webcasts, TV shows, presentations, or webinars. Or run the Live Stream Box in multi-player games, or with any other experience where many people are visiting a website at the same time.”
In addition, Facebook has partnered with real time video streaming service UStream, its recommended vendor for integrating Live Stream who has managed many of the integrations thus far. The UStream solution for Facebook Pages, which was used for the recent Jonas Brothers Facebook broadcast, allows brands and artists to integrate live streaming video on their Facebook page with the Live Stream widget in a tab. More details are available here.
Facebook’s Live Stream widget is critical to its partnerships with major broadcast and cable TV networks. We expect to see more integrations like the CNN and TNT examples coming later this year. For best practices on integrating the Live Stream widget with your online broadcast or seminar, check out our industry leading Facebook Marketing Bible. A special edition for big brands is also available.