Note: This article was originally posted on Medium.com here. Our company has no political affiliation or endorsements for the Trump Campaign.
Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump has changed the game when it comes to presidential elections. Trump has used every social media outlet to his advantage, spending less on his campaign then his competition and coming out with more votes almost every time. In this article I will critique the Trump Campaign’s use of live streaming which they have used effectively for the past 9 months. Just like the campaign itself, I’m sure Donald Trump would admit there is room for improvement and some aspects they wish had been done differently.
As a professional in the audio visual industry, I look at a live streams differently then most viewers. I’m listening to the audio quality and wondering why they aren’t switching to a second camera shot when the crowd goes wild. Trump’s decision to live stream his rallies on YouTube connects him to his followers, his opponents and the media eager to report on his latest movements. In spite of the pros and cons, live performances are genuine and authentic in a way that recorded advertisements can never be. For that reason, live streaming is becoming a cornerstone of this presidential election and becoming even more influential than other forms of social media.
The ProAV Critique on Trump’s Live Streams
The first major mistake the Trump organization made was not broadcasting to their own YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/donaldtrump). Instead of broadcasting to the Official Trump YouTube Channel, they are using a third party called “Right Side Broadcasting”. While the message is still getting delivered live, the Trump organization is missing out on a huge opportunity to capitalize on YouTube subscriber conversions during the live streams. Looking at the chart below you can see this is something Right Side Broadcasting has enjoyed with steady growth over the past 90 days. Right Side Broadcasting has 131k subscribers and Donald Trump has roughly 38k. The chart shows how Right Side Broadcasting has more than doubled their subscribers in the past 90 days and now serve 3.4 times as many subscribers as the official Donald Trump channel. The benefits of a growing subscriber base are self evident, so I will only state that the Trump organization should have negotiated the streaming destination with Right Side Broadcasting. This was probably an oversight in the midst of a busy campaign launch.
The actual video and audio from the live streams have been impressive. It’s important to note that YouTube Live did not exist during our last presidential election season and therefore we are in “pioneer mode” when it comes to live streaming rallies and events.
Room for Improvement
When the audio is poor the live stream is unbearable. I have only witnessed poor audio once (I haven’t watched all of the 400+ live speeches), so it seems like someone on the live streaming team knows their stuff when it comes to audio. The video is also pretty good all things considered. The broadcast starts with a wide shot of the crowd and slowly zooms into the podium with what looks like a quality camera of at least 20–30X optical zoom. The team has chosen to stream in 720p which is most likely a decision made by skepticism on how much bandwidth would be available at any given venue. Obviously 1080p video is ideal for today’s media consumers and YouTube’s advanced adaptive bit-rate streaming but all things considered 720p is probably the safe bet.
The branding has improved considerably over the past 400+ live shows recorded and streamed by Right Side Broadcasting. This is a great example of a “brand new startup with 11 employees” (stated on http://rsbn.tv/) creating a professionally branded live stream that competes with the major media channels. Having used the majority of live streaming software available today my guess is that RSB is using Wirecast. Right Side Broadcast states on their website“ we rely solely on revenue generated from our videos and this website” so I believe it is safe to say they have offered to live stream Trump’s campaign for the marketing and publicity it brings their company. They have opted to show ad’s through YouTube’s platform during the live streams which add up to millions of views every week. It seems like a win-win for both the Trump Campaign and Right Side Broadcasting.
Upcoming Live Webinar
PTZOptics is a live streaming camera manufacture focusing on professional broadcast and audio visual markets. We host live streaming webinars every Friday to discuss the latest technology, use cases and workflows in our industry. This Friday May 27th we will discuss “How Major Brands are using Live Streaming” including Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Donald Trump are using live streaming technology in their businesses.
Register for this live stream at http://live.ptzoptics.com