Al Roker Might Be Onto Something

By Karen Fratti 

alrokerAl Roker announced that he will launch scheduled, programmed shows via Meerkat in partnership with Plated, just weeks after launching his own Periscope and Meerkat ratings metric. The new shows will focus heavily on cooking, streaming either at 1 p.m. ET or 4 p.m. ET. The shows will last about fifteen minutes. It’s a good fit for Roker, says Sima Sistani, vice president of media, Meerkat:

Al embraced Meerkat early, and understands how to program this new live participation medium. It’s exciting to see a broadcasting pro embrace the engagement that comes from the broadcasting with experience of Meerkat.

Roker’s isn’t the only Today personality to get into streaming. Yahoo News premiered Katie Couric’s daily, live newscast on their website yesterday. News organizations have long been trying to get the live, digital newscast to work and it’s never become a thing or felt very natural.

Recreating the TV experience online doesn’t work, but Roker might be onto something with his Meerkat programming. Viewers seem to be more likely to click on his Meerkat link as it scrolls through their Twitter feeds in the midday slump than set their clocks for a newscast like Couric’s on Yahoo.

Appointment viewing isn’t dead, but the nature of having to “tune in” to a website is still a cumbersome activity. Live streams like Meerkat or Periscope are more spontaneous, like most of the decisions we make online (you don’t know you need to read about John Stamos’ hair on Netflix’s Fuller House until you see it). There’s no harm, as Roker’s pointed out, in trying. And it just might work.