Live Streaming – Game Changer for AdComms and Beyond?

This week there was a lot of talk about last week and the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting ASCO 15, which was the 51st annual meeting of the society held May 29 – June 2 in Chicago. Naturally most of the talk was reserved for the clinical developments that were presented at the meeting that could have an important impact on a range of cancers faced by so many. But some of the talk was focused not on the news, but the way the news from the meeting could be reported. We are talking live streaming.

Live streaming is not new. My ability to use it is.

This year, platforms have emerged that allow a person to live-stream with the use of their phone – noteworthy examples being Meerkat (love the name) and Periscope (also a good name), the latter being an effort owned by the good people at Twitter. This is not meant to be a comparison of the two apps, you can get that in many places.  Google it. And here is one. Learn about live streaming.

But the point is that I, or any one of you, can now pick up our phone (that handy little item with which we used to make phone calls) and live stream from where we are to all of our friends wherever they are. Who would be watching it? Well, you can have followers like any other media platform who will watch you, but with the advent of these apps, you can bring in everyone who follows you on Twitter.  As you begin to stream, your Twitter account can send out a tweet with a link letting your followers know that you have content that is being produced. And if they miss it, with Periscope, they can catch a replay – or they can watch what you’ve live streamed a second time, if it is just that good.

The ability of anyone, anywhere, having the ability to live stream events or proceedings brings into play some new policy questions. At ASCO, a few reporters used live streaming to report on events, but the technology in effect makes us all reporters. And it raises interesting policy questions. For venues that are non-public in nature – i.e., sponsored – there could be a policy decision laid down that live streaming is not permitted – but how would it be enforced? Would some venues – such as a live performance play or concert – be regarded as off limits while others – such as a meeting (any meeting) – be considered fair play?

And certainly public meetings – hearings before Congress, for example, would be open to live streaming. Every Congressman has a twitter feed, maybe at some point they will be live streaming to us. And of course, there are advisory committees. Right now, many tweet various snippets of meetings, but conceivably one could live stream to one’s own followers. Or just sections of a meeting, like the voting which is the only thing many would care about – such as the vote.

And then there are even one on one meetings with public officials. Live streaming brings transparency to the front burner most certainly. Can a public official forbid you to live stream a meeting?

Social media and the Internet have long represented a democratization of communications. Live streaming from your phone to Twitter – well it maybe takes things up a notch. Whoever you are – FDA official, drug company, medical society – it is probably a good idea to consider the strategic and policy implications and plan accordingly.

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