Earlier this month Kickstarter released its newest feature: live streaming. Now, creators can go live with backers and interested observers to make a personal pitch and interact directly. Still in its beta phase, we have seen people use it to hold priduct demos, Q&As and workshops. While this seems like this would be a net positive for creators and that they can only benefit from such direct interatcion, this can also be a double edged sword. Most people know what good video looks like, and in many cases live stream videos do not look like this. They can, but most people don't know how to do it.
Michael chatted with Kevin Wong of Motherboard to discuss this problem that creators may have. Their inablility to make compelling live video could ultimately hurt their products and their funding campaign.
Kevin Wong of Motherboard reports:
But even though the positive returns on a livestream could be tremendous, a creator who is not well-versed with visual language might not see those benefits and could potentially do harm to his campaign. Motherboard spoke with television producer and video journalist Michael Rosenblum, who has trained video journalists at both the New York Times and the BBC, to gain some insight.
“Livestream is a new technology that everybody is glomming onto—Facebook more than anyone else,” says Rosenblum. “YouTube does it. Everyone does it. And the fact that you can go live is quite remarkable. But what does it do for Kickstarter? I’m not really sure.”
Rosenblum does see one interesting possibility. If the creator comes to the table with an idea, but is amenable to change via crowd feedback—”shifting the locus of one’s interest based on the feedback one gets”—then that’s a good incentive for additional investors to come aboard. In a way, this resembles a movie studio’s use of focus groups, where a preview audience offers its opinion on a movie, and the director recuts the movie or films additional scenes based upon feedback.
But on the whole, Rosenblum remains skeptical about combining livestreaming and crowdfunding for two main reasons. The first reason, as stated prior, is that it takes time, work, and experience to create a livestreaming experience that is visually and aurally appealing. And done improperly, a livestream could make a project look cheap or poorly planned, even if it is not.
“There’s a certain expectation of production value, even for Kickstarter,” says Rosenblum. “And if you don’t deliver, then people are less inclined to open their checkbooks. The video has to be pretty slick. In the old days, you could get away from that, but I think we’re well beyond that now.”
The second obstacle is finding an audience to watch the livestream, in large enough numbers that it would make a significant impact? People can watch the livestream in archive, but that harkens back to the more passive medium of television
“The point [of Kickstarter] is to aggregate over time, and accumulate investments from people who commit money to it,” points out Rosenblum. “The thing about livestream is that it happens once, and it’s over.”
But if the creator is A) Well-versed in visual language, and B) A tireless, creative promoter who is able to aggregate an audience for his or her special events, then a livestream could be an excellent component to a Kickstarter. But ultimately, this new livestream might only be that—a component, and not the main thrust to any well-organized, money-raising campaign.
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