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Facebook + CNN = Future of TV

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A single linear stream that everyone watches at the same time? How retro. Live events are the epitome of traditional oldteevee fare. But while flipping between the many feeds of Barack Obama’s inauguration today, I found the best experience was offered by CNN Live with Facebook Connect integrated, making the livestream experience social in a relevant way. And I really think it points toward the future of TV.

cnnlivefbSure, the Flash upgrade installation process to run the actual CNN video was a chafe, but after the rigamarole, I loved feeling like I was in a room of friends watching the events. And not a room of friends who necessarily know each other — people from all different parts of my life were streaming into a feed of comments customized for me.

Compared to the general public commentary provided by Current with Twitter integration, Joost with Meebo (though the chatroom was full when I tried to get in), and Ustream with Ustream chat, CNN plus Facebook was so much more personal and interesting to me. OK, so it was the same “I’m so moved” and “yay Obama” comments as everywhere else — but they were from people I knew.

inauguration The one problem I had with the CNN/Facebook integration was that the live stream and comments were not synced up particularly well. Especially as the morning went on, it became particularly evident that people were still talking about Aretha while I was onto Feinstein, or quoting from Obama’s address before it had even started for me. But I can forgive a few things breaking down under such an unprecedented load. This is TV getting interactive in a massive way.

CNN is reporting 13.9 million streams by 11:45 a.m., up from a previous live-streaming high of 5.3 million streams on election day. Facebook tells us 600,000 status updates were posted to the Live Facebook feed by 12:30 p.m. (around the time Obama’s speech was ending). During the minute Obama began his speech, there were 8,500 status updates. OK, so status updates with threaded comments aren’t the pinnacle of technology — but managing that many of them is!

Though many people reported problems with various feeds, CNN was the most stable and highest quality I found (I only had to refresh once). Hulu and MSNBC were also stable and high quality (as opposed to ABC, for instance, which I couldn’t even get to load once), but they weren’t social.

Events like the Obama inauguration don’t happen every day, but they push forward the way we see the world in more ways than one. For a different take, check out Stacey’s post about throwing in the towel on online coverage.

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59 Responses to “Facebook + CNN = Future of TV”

  1. On current events in Egypt: I think that the position that President Obama has already stated is adequate at this time.
    We must be patient and let the people of Egypt decide their future government. Let us stand ready to provide inovasive support to those demonstrators in their democratic efforts.

  2. Terjadi gempa beruntun di Kota Padangsidimpuan, Sumatera Utara. Namun belum diketahui berapa Skala Richter gempa yang mengusik warga di malam Hari Raya Idul Adha tersebut. “Lima kali getaran gempa dirasakan warga, pertama sekitar pulul 00.10 WIB. Getaran kedua sekitar pukul 02.05 WIB, masing-masing dua kali. Kemudian getaran kecil kembali terjadi pada pukul 03.15 WIB. Gempa itu mengusik tidur warga,”

  3. hi i have answer to the usa health problem all the government needs to do is to build 2 to3 large hospital in each state an have those people who are honest an like to work get jobs an have set prices an only the people who want the government plan health insurance ,can come in for there health care an stop paying those crocked pharmacist an doctors drug co , all that moneys an a government run drugs system for the government run hospital

  4. NewTeeVeeOnly

    I watched via CNN + Facebook and loved it. I wish more of my friends were watching the same way. The “everyone” feed was inane and there was no reasonable way to interact with people – just throw comments into the static and wonder if anyone cared. But if I had 20 friends on facebook all doing status updates and sharing the moment, that would have been NewMedia excitement.

  5. MYspace should buy twitter and implement it on myspace music and myspace TV. it will be a huge self promote and real time conversation plataform for the hundres of artist in this social site,

  6. I did the same as you, watching from CNN+FB from Italy. Had no problems.
    You say: “Events like the Obama inauguration don’t happen every day”. It’s true, but every year at least ones we have Olympic Games, World Cups of various sports, National big events as elections, referendum, ONU meetings, and similar stuff that regards really a huge number of people that won’t need much time to be all shown and shared in similar ways. I’m quite optimistic from this point of view. In max 2-3 years it’ll be normal to watch such events on the web through high quality channels, at least for most of the people.
    Nice post!

  7. Flash 10 has problems. I won’t install it. Which is why is now my primary news site for the last couple months. Seems like a blog post I need to write.

    BUT we did have CNN HD on the TV today. Also checked out Hulu and the video quality wasn’t great. CBS’s new stuff looked quite good but I was running it without audio in the Starbucks.