News & Views
The rise of social video

With the insane popularity of image-based new kid on the block Pinterest last year, not to mention the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, it is probably safe to say that in the world of social media and marketing, 2012 was the year of visuals. Here at OgilvyDo we’ve already asserted that a greater diversity of content is likely to be on the cards this year, and as traditional text and image based social networking continues to evolve, it’s beginning to look like 2013 will be the year of social video.

A pioneer in this field is Spreecast, a start-up which has taken the informal and personable dialogue that has sprung up between various celebrities, organisations, brands etc. and their fans in the age of social media, and run with it. Combining the best features of social networks like Twitter (real-time interaction and engagement) and instant messenger Skype (video chat), Spreecast’s website describes the new venture as “the ultimate live video experience” and invites users to “interact live with your favourite writers, celebrities, bands and more”.

The wider reaching promotional benefits of this particular venture remain largely untapped, although initial response has been largely positive. While social media technically operates in real time, conversations can actually often be asynchronous, with hours or even days going by in between responses. By taking Skype’s video chat functionality and applying it to a public forum, Spreecast is making these conversations much more personal and gratifying.

So who will be using Spreecast? CEO and founder Jeff Fluhr, whose first start-up StubHub was acquired by eBay for $310 million, envisions two key categories. First are celebrities and other public figures such as politicians, who can use the platform to build follower loyalty and strengthen their personal brand. Second are media companies, who can use Spreecast to promote film, book and music content in the form of a live broadcast.

Spreecast’s social broadcasting model might also be the next evolutionary step for the popular “second screen” phenomenon. Spreecast has already been able to tap into the second screen experience by partnering with American TV show Extra to connect fans of certain shows like The X Factor USA with their favourite judges and performers.

Currently entirely browser-based, Spreecast will soon be launching an iOS app to keep up with mobile technology’s growing monopoly on the social media market. And as with all new social networks these days, Spreecast has stated no intention of dethroning the social sphere’s current monarchs; logins are currently available through Facebook and Twitter.

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