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19th August 2016 Verity Sanderson

Using Periscope at #AMAconf

Image of mobile phone using Periscope

The AMA’s Verity Sanderson gives us the lowdown on experimenting with live streaming app Periscope at this year’s AMA conference. 

With the theme of this year’s conference On a Mission to Matter in place, the AMA team started to think about ways we could matter more to the delegates attending conference – and also to those not able to come to Edinburgh.

We were already going to live stream the keynote sessions (thanks to Pilot Theatre) but wondered how we might communicate the atmosphere and other sessions taking place. There were the obvious things like posting updates on Twitter, retweeting delegate comments, posting photos etc. but could we make it more engaging? Were there new channels we could experiment with?

Periscope is hot news and changing the landscape of social media and live streaming. We’d done some experimenting with it previously but nothing beyond a couple of very short streams so we took the plunge – let’s Periscope some extra bits of conference to give viewers behind-the-scenes footage and insight into what goes on.

Leading up to conference
This was a team effort and we did some sneak peaks of the activity in the AMA office in the lead up to conference. I interviewed several members of the team to see what they were most looking forward to, and then live streamed our annual ‘stuffing day’ where all the delegate bags are prepared and packed.

In my opinion this was interesting footage, it gave viewers the opportunity to see something you wouldn’t normally see. In the week leading up to conference, across 4 different live streams, we had 129 people watch our broadcasts live and 43 replay viewers. Not bad for a first go.

Then came conference: 3 days in Edinburgh with the team working really hard to deliver an AMAzing conference experience for everyone. I was armed with my plan – the timings, where I needed to be, which speakers were happy to be filmed – and off I went to start ‘scoping’.

Periscope is supposed to be an interactive app, the broadcaster should speak to the viewers, ask them questions, the viewers can help shape the broadcast. The filming of parts of conference where I could talk to viewers worked the best – the refreshment breaks, the exhibition area, the AMA info desk. Going into breakout sessions and not wanting to disturb what was actually happening in the room hindered the viewing experience. Periscope is not about live streaming something static, it’s about interactivity and playfulness. I was grateful to the speakers who had agreed to appear on Periscope but I don’t think 5 minutes of a breakout session gave them enough credit, and must have also been confusing for viewers with no context of the session or conference.

There’s a lot I’ve learnt from testing Periscope at conference, not least that my dreams of being a TV presenter are still very much alive.

Here’s a few other conclusions I’ve made:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage works well
  • Giving ‘exclusive access’ to viewers is a good idea
  • An informal tone seems to fit best
  • Remember the last 10 second shot is the thumbnail that appears on Twitter (there was a lot of my face, sorry!)
  • Live streaming content only works if there is context for the viewer
  • Interactivity is key

Over 8 broadcasts during the 3 days of conference we had 408 live viewers and 244 replay viewers. I’m pretty pleased with those stats but it’s yet to be decided if we Periscope at next year’s conference. I’d love to hear your thoughts or if you’ve also tried live streaming.

Follow @amadigital on Periscope (search Arts Marketing Association).


Image courtesy of Twitter.

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