By: Nu Yang
Facebook has status updates. Twitter has tweets. Social video platform Spreecast gets users to interact face-to-face. Launched in late 2011, the company enables users to create video broadcasts so people from across the globe can discuss current events, meet people with common interests, or engage with their favorite personalities. Spreecasts are recorded for immediate playback and can be shared across social networks.
Co-founder and chief executive officer Jeff Fluhr said unlike other popular video platforms, there is no additional software to download to use Spreecast. “It’s right there in the browser.”
To create a Spreecast, users sign into the site (spreecast.com) either through Facebook, Twitter, or by email. Spreecast allows up to four people on camera at the same time. “You can have 1,000 viewers watching live, asking text-based questions, but they can also request to join in on camera,” Fluhr said. “It provides interactive video. It’s not a one-way medium.”
Another Spreecast feature is its ability to add external media, such as Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, to live videos. Spreecasts can also be embedded on websites or blogs. Users have the option of making video conversations public or private.
Fluhr said the Pay Per View service allows users to charge viewers for access to content. Spreecast takes a 30 percent processing fee, so content creators receive 70 percent of all PPV transactions. PPV can be useful to news organizations that want to create a paid experience through virtual conferences or panels. Another revenue opportunity in the works is video-based advertising.
Recently, Spreecast launched its free iPhone app for mobile audiences. This first generation of the app allows users to watch live or archived Spreecasts and to participate by using text-based chat, asking questions, and sharing on Facebook and Twitter. The company is already working on a future release that will enable mobile users to join the live conversation using the iPhone’s built-in camera. The company also expects to release both Android and tablet apps.
Media companies such as The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times already utilize Spreecast to create live video content and engage their audiences on topics ranging from current events and politics to sports and entertainment.
“The newspaper industry has gone through many changes over the last decade,” Fluhr said. “Embracing video is a core part of that strategy.