Mobile Personal Broadcasting: Ustream.tv, Qik, Kyte, Flixwagon

In 2007, the phenomenon of Justin.tv thrust the notion of personal live broadcasting into mainstream internet culture.  Anyone with an internet connection and a USB webcam now has a plethora of options for live broadcasting with sites such as Stickam, Justin.tv, and others. In the mobile arena, Qik, Kyte, and Flixwagon have released applications allowing users to live stream from smartphones.  This week, another player emerged with Ustream.tv releasing their mobile broadcasting platform which combines live video streaming with GPS mapping, voting, and live chat.  Currently, the Nokia S60 series phones are the preferred hardware devices since Apple has been reluctant to approve live video streaming applications for the iphone.  However, Qik, Ustream.tv, and Flixwagon do provide applications for jailbroken iphones.

Now that it’s possible, what will be the breakthrough applications for mobile live broadcasting?   I think the answer may lie in looking at the trend of celebrities using Twitter.  Twitter is popular with stars because it is simple and easy to maintain.  It can be almost spontaneously updated unlike a traditional blog or personal website.  Celebrities can easily enhance this fan communication channel using Ustream.tv, Qik, Kyte, or Flixwagon.  In particular, mobile broadcasting could be appealing to touring musicians who rarely have an opportunity to sit at a computer and send a well composed personal blog post. Rapper Soulja Boy has been an early adopter in this area by using Kyte’s mobile platform to keep his fans in the loop.  In a similar fashion, Lil Wayne is set to begin using Ustream.tv’s mobile application.  Mobile broadcasting is clearly a concept to keep an eye on over the next year.

Here’s Ustream.tv’s mobile demo video.

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