Is livestreaming video the new TV? The medium has taken a major leap, in part thanks to the launch of Facebook Live this year as users and brands alike turn on their cameras and share experiences with the world. With more outlets like Instagram becoming available as streaming platforms, it’s easier than ever to broadcast from anywhere in the world. From newscasters to entertainment, tutorials and just plain weird, here are how some companies used Facebook Live to reach a global audience.

Interactive Journalism

Until recently, if your local newscaster addressed you directly during a broadcast, then some strong medication was prescribed. Now, with the help of Facebook Live, interacting with a news broadcast as it happens has become a reality. The New York Times invites its audience to share their views or ask questions through comments, which in turn, affects the action on-screen.

“We’re calling this live interactive journalism,” Louise Story, New York Times executive producer of live interactive journalism, told WAN-IFRA. “We’re not calling it video, because it’s inherently different from a produced video. In live interactive journalism what’s happening onscreen is affected by the audience in real-time. This is as much about the audience as it is about journalism.”

The 2016 US Presidential Election had the whole world watching, debating and just turning against each other in general. Facebook Live became a hub for information and opinions—so much so that four out of the top 10 most-viewed Facebook Live videos of 2016 were centered around the election. Coming in at number three on the list was BuzzFeed‘s Countdown to the Next Presidential Election coverage garnered over 51 million views alone.


Entertaining The Masses

E! News recently launched a new live video series on Facebook called “Freestyle,” sponsored by Ulta Beauty. Hosted by E! News correspondent, Zuri Hall and senior beauty editor, Cinya Burton, the show focuses on beauty and fashion. Each episode features different guest experts, products and trends over eight 30-minute episodes running through January. In addition, the entertainment news site takes to Facebook Live several times a week to discuss other topics, and each episode averages around 300,000 views each, according to John Najarian, EVP and GM of E! News.

TMZ streams daily gossip updates and goes live for breaking news, entertaining while inviting conversation in real-time. “Social platforms, in general, whether it’s YouTube or Facebook, are becoming another screen where people are looking for regularly scheduled programming,” said Donald Alexander, director of social media and audience development at TMZ. “With Facebook Live, we can also extend beyond what we do on the TV show and finish that conversation on social.”

E! News hosted a live Q&A session with the cast and crew of Ghostbusters on Facebook. (Source: E!)
E! News hosted a live Q&A session with the cast and crew of Ghostbusters on Facebook. (Source: E!)

Making Us Hungry

Food brands like McDonald’s, Popeyes, Nescafé and more took to Facebook Live this year to inform, entertain and bring people together. Over 3.8 million people watched Tastemade prepare tiny food being cooked in a tiny kitchen. For International Coffee Day, Nescafé took to Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube to bring coffee fans together while also supporting global farmers. “Livestreaming was the perfect way to bring people together in an innovative, and very real, way,” Michael Chrisment, Nescafé’s global head of integrated marketing, told [a]listdaily. “When you wake up, you grab your phone and a coffee. Nescafé and social media go hand-in-hand, which is why Facebook livestream was a great way to reach our fans.”


The Future Of Entertainment

Still in its infancy, Facebook Live has already displayed enormous potential for brands, particularly when it comes to engagement. This upcoming summer, Roker Media will launch the first-ever Facebook Live talk show, The Never Settle Show with Mario Armstrong. The show will be about helping people find their passions and setting them on the path to make their dreams a reality. Audience members will become guests via Facebook Live—physically displayed on a screen on set—and the format will be determined by its audience.

“We’ll have a live, interactive video wall on the set so people will be able to see themselves actually on the show which I think is really different—really compelling.” Armstrong told [a]listdaily. “The authenticity, the transparency . . . these are things that connect to millennials as well as content that can actually make an impact.”