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NBC News acquires mobile streaming video startup for user-generated live footage

Today’s Internet-fueled 24/7 news cycle means media organizations around the world want to be the first to update their homepage with an unfolding event, the first to push out a tweet bringing it to your attention, the first to bring photos of the action, and, if available, the first to offer live footage of the happening.

To this end, NBC News has reportedly acquired startup Stringwire – which is, incidentally, still in private beta – in the hope that it’ll give it speedy access to news footage shot by everyday folks on their smartphones.

The New York Times said NBC is likely to announce the deal on Monday.

So-called ‘user-generated content’ can be of great value to a news organization as it can offer footage from the scene before news crews arrive, by which time the incident may well be over.

Developed by New York University graduate Phil Groman, Stringwire’s technology allows for the real-time sharing of smartphone video. For NBC to make use of the system, Twitter users tweeting about an unfolding event would be sent a message by Stringwire inviting them to crank up their camera and start shooting.

The live footage would then be streamed back to NBC’s New York newsroom, where editors could decide to hold it for later or send it out live across its network.

Eyewitness reports

Chief digital officer for NBC News Vivian Schiller suggested the service would be ideal for those present at, for example, mass protest events.

“You could get 30 people all feeding video, holding up their smartphones, and then we could look at that,” Schiller told the NY Times. “We’ll be able to publish and broadcast some of them.”

She added, “We might have reporters [at news events], but they may not be in the right places. They may not have the kind of access that eyewitnesses do.”

With rolling-news networks desperate to be first with every story, it’s little wonder an organization like NBC is looking for ways to get ahead. And if having access to more news material means fewer shots of desperate reporters trying to hype up an unfolding situation that has, in fact, stopped unfolding, then this looks like a development news junkies everywhere will be quick to welcome….

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