Justin.tv, a pioneer in live video streaming, recently launched an iPhone app to compete with a similar, existing Ustream app. And in just one week, it has been downloaded more than 350,000 times, making it the second-most downloaded "social" app, behind Facebook.
Live video streaming is still somewhat new, but the potential for website owners and businesses is extremely attractive. The possibilities might include live interviews, trade show walk-throughs, product announcements, corporate meetings ... if it's worthy of live attention, you can do it.
The Justin.tv app has a few nice features, including the ability to search and sort live channels and to pick channels as "favorites" for later viewing. Perhaps the best features for businesses include the ability to share streams with friends and "push" notifications that will alert the user when your channel starts broadcasting.
Ustream's app supports iPhone, Android and several Nokia models and features one very important capability not currently on the Justin.tv app - live broadcasting from your phone. However, many reviewers of the app claim it to be buggy and not yet ready for prime time.
Combined, Ustream.tv and Justin.tv garnered nearly three million unique visitors in February, 2010. There is a unique opportunity here for businesses to try something new and offer a unique experience to their consumers. It might be early to use live video streaming as anything more than a value-added technique but stay tuned - the iPad carries even greater hopes for viewing and possibly broadcasting, should Apple decide to include a camera in the next version. And if the rumors of the iPhone coming to Verizon come to fruition, you're looking at an entirely new marketplace for these and all apps.
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