Live video is one of the most powerful ways to bring people together when they are physically apart. It’s an unpredictable and deeply human shared experience. Being live captures an ephemeral moment in time and keeps us transfixed. The moon landing in 1969 had over 500 million concurrent viewers, and the World Cup Final in 2014 had over 1 billion viewers. These are the rare moments where people are truly connected as a society and sharing moments together. Ben Rubin, CEO of Meerkat, calls this “Spontaneous Togetherness”.
I’ve been thinking about the power of live video since my very first job as an engineer at RealNetworks back in 1997. I was a software developer, coding up the RealProducer which allowed you to connect a video cable into a video capture card on your Windows PC and broadcast it live to the internet asRealVideo. While the resulting video may have been the size of a postage stamp, it cleared the way to a world where anyone with a computer could be a broadcaster. There was no more proprietary ownership over airwaves, no expensive machinery; all you needed to broadcast was a computer, a camera, and a video capture card.