NBC News has acquired Stringwire in a move that proves their intention to replace Twitter as the go-to source for real-time, on-the-spot citizen reporting. The move is gutsy, but it may show that NBC is beginning to understand how the new world of news reporting works.
Stringwire is a recent startup with a unique piece of software that enables real-time sharing of smartphone video and doesn’t require an app on the phone if the phone is using a current-generation browser. Instead, it utilizes the WebRTC standard for transmitting voice-video over the Web.
For NBC’s part, this software would mean the ability to tap into the live feeds that users at ground zero for whatever the event is. These users would be providing real-time, compelling coverage from events – something most news agencies dream of, but rarely actually get.
Currently, Twitter is the generally-acknowledged go-to source for this type of reporting, though it’s limited by several things, including an inability to do live video feed. Apps that do allow live video are not generally very popular and usually require that the people who wish to view the video also have the same app installed. So far, YouTube, the only likely competitor to this idea, has not made a good live video option that anyone can tap into.
With user-generated content from a “use anywhere” system like Stringwire, though, NBC could become the cutting-edge of today’s new reporting. NBC’s spokesperson also made it clear that they are interested in developing the idea for lease to other organizations (read: rival news agencies) to use as well.
The nightly news might become more interesting soon.