LiveTube: Streaming News the Moment It BreaksDecember 19, 2022
Broadcasting Publicly Sourced Content With Journalistic Standards
LiveTube’s platform democratizes live news by putting the power of media capture into the hands of millions of smartphone users worldwide. By integrating Wowza Streaming Engine and AI capabilities into a full-scale broadcast system, LiveTube enables eyewitnesses to stream live events from the LiveTube app to a newsroom for instant review and distribution.
LiveTube producers by the end of 2022.
For broadcasting news globally.
Smartphone users worldwide.
Case Study Snapshot
Transcending Traditional Journalism Roadblocks
Traditional journalism faces financial and logistical challenges. Cable and satellite broadcast models are cost-prohibitive, and trained journalists can’t always be on site the moment news breaks. Sven Herold, CEO of LiveTube, regularly encountered these limitations as a prior journalist and saw an opportunity to create a platform that was at once cost effective and reactive to unpredictable events. The lynchpin to this idea? Smartphones.
“A volcano can erupt at any second,” Herold says. “Unless an event is planned, it’s impossible to ensure that a journalist will be present. We take advantage of the saturation of smartphones at the scene of breaking news by empowering anyone with one to stream live content.”
When this hypothetical volcano erupts, individuals access the LiveTube app and stream directly to producers who determine what’s newsworthy and monitor the streams via a cloud-based newsroom. Of course, the work that goes into monitoring and sharing this content is more complex than it sounds.
Live Streaming for Accuracy and Integrity
Unlike a social media platform where individuals can upload fake or misleading content on a whim, LiveTube built a secure system that allows validation and verification of user-submitted content via location tracking, image data, user descriptions, and more.
“Live streaming prevents fraud, abuse of content, and ‘fake news’ by ensuring the security and validity of the content,” Herold notes. “LiveTube users, who are all email and mobile verified, stream live occurrences with their exact device location, which are both difficult to manipulate. Our producers can see the incoming live images, hear the sound, and communicate with the user. Before making a decision to broadcast the story, they validate the content with the help of our AI system and public sources. The content is not stores on the user’s phone, giving us full content and distribution control.”
Live streaming is a cornerstone of their business model — ensuring reliable news collection and distribution. That’s where Wowza comes in. LiveTube uses Wowza Streaming Engine as part of their custom build to accommodate a very complex, high-volume workflow. Herold knew he could count on the reliability and scale of Wowza’s products and chose Wowza Streaming Engine because he could deploy it in his existing cloud environment.
When a user taps GO LIVE on LiveTube, the app sends an HLS live stream into their system. LiveTube’s own news AI system filters the content by combining available news signals with information from the incoming stream. If it passes the initial automatic checks, then an alert is sent to all available producers. the first producer to accept the stream connects with the user in a cloud-based newsroom, validates the content, and, when the content is approved, monitors and curates the stream while communicating with the user.
Once a stream is selected for broadcast, Wowza Streaming Engine transcodes it and makes several different versions — including renditions with and without watermarking, subtitles, and lower thirds, as well as a recording that loops until the producer goes live. Wowza Streaming Engine then simulcasts the live stream across social media platforms, to LiveTube’s own platform, and to their smartphone app, and to media organizations worldwide.
Ensuring Media Safety and Standards
Every live story is actively monitored and curated by a producer in the newsroom. They can alter the title, description, hashtags, and other key information, as well as a lower third, captions, and a news ticker attached as additional information for viewers.
LiveTube operates with an intentional 30 second latency to give producers a chance to add information and cut streams if needed. This mitigates widespread streaming of graphic imagery and dissuades streamers from taking unnecessary risks to capture content. Reliance on Wowza Streaming Engine’s recorded loop provides this essential window.
“I believe in content, and that content is worth something,” Herold says of the value individuals provide to his company. LiveTube compensates streamers appropriately for the content they provide. This symbiotic relationship between eager citizen and news application speaks to the fairness and personal integrity LiveTube brings to the table.
A Quality News Platform Like No Other
“Live streaming was obviously key from the beginning,” Herold notes, adding that scalability, flexibility, speed, and reliability were important elements that led him to build with Wowza.
Most notably, he needed something that could be deployed anywhere, simulcast to a wide range of platforms, and worked with LiveTube’s unique video CDN and AI algorithm. Wowza Streaming Engine checked all their boxes and was the only streaming solution capable of integrating seamlessly with his custom build.
“There was no alternative” Herold says of their Wowza solution, “because when it came to our specific needs, only Wowza could deliver.”