Last month, when Facebook introduced its live video feature which allows people to use their smartphones to record and share snippets about their lives, Firstpost decided to make the best use of this feature by creating videos on various genres of news for its audience.
During the Assembly Elections 2016, when the Bharatiya Janata Party created history for itself by breaking new ground with its Assam win and its long awaited account in Kerala, Firstpost made its own record with its path breaking five hour long live digicast on Facebook.
“Readers know Firstpost for its razor-sharp views, opinions and analysis that hit the website no sooner than events unfold. But video is the new cool for digital content consumption. Firstpost embraced this new trend as well. From 8 am when counting began, to noon, when the trends became clear, Firstpost brought news and views to its audience live from our make-shift studio,” said BV Rao, Editor, Firstpost in a note on its Facebook page.
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The digicast, called ‘Decode 2016’, which beamed election news and views on firstpost.comand Facebook Live, managed to garner a staggering reach of 6.18 lakh viewers on the latter’s platform alone.
A make-shift studio was set up in less than a week and caffeine-fuelled staffers – who had never seen the insides of a studio or production control room (PCR) – were trained to deliver quality news broadcasts. Graphics, ads – paid and promos – multi-location reportage, talking heads, live-visual grabs, helped deliver videos that could be matched to television quality. As anchor and director of the show, senior journalist Rupali Mehra was the only external consultant.
With the initial reaction being phenomenal, Firstpost will use this as a regular feature. “This was on a trial basis, to test the technology. Now that it has withstood such a big stress test, we will be using this more often, for sure. We are now in the process of procuring the technology,” said Rao.
To add to its laurels, Facebook also complimented Firstpost for making the best use of Facebook Live, globally.
Another win for ‘Decode 2016’ was that the digicast happened with commercial ad breaks.
Given that the Firstpost Decode series is a two-way engagement in real time, the number of unique viewers can be seen, where the viewer is not left out, the shares and comments are visible and the likes are transparent. All the metrics are clean and efficient.
Firstpost is one the first media houses to try various formats with Facebook Live.
The Firstpost team kept adding new elements like aston bands, graphics, visual overlays etc. They kept testing their digicast on a closed Facebook page till they achieved a degree of proficiency with mixing visuals and confidence that this could be done on scale.
Their efforts paid off with five full hours of live digicast with the full complement of visuals, graphics, live ticker, live election tally cards (for all five states), story packages, live talking heads in six locations including New York and full blown commercial breaks.
The updated reach figure is 7,91,230 for Decode 2016 digicasts as of now.