Spreecast extends its live video broadcast platform to mobile by popular demand
Since launching in November 2011, Spreecast has seen its multi-person live video broadcast platform used by Viacom, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Disney, among numerous other prominent publishers, brands, and celebrities. This adoption has been in spite of the fact that the product was only available via the desktop Web – a big no-no in today’s mobile dominated world.Today, the company is correcting that with the launch of its native iPhone app and mobile-optimized HTML5 website.
Publishers have flocked to Spreecast for its interactive, live broadcasts, which enables face-to-face chat between up to four simultaneous camera feeds, as well as real-time chat and Q&A from thousands of viewers. The platform goes beyond competing products like Google Hangouts with its sophisticated producer controls, allowing content creators to manage large audiences, prescreen and invite multiple guests onto camera, and manage associated social streams from within a single dashboard.
The company has received extensive requests, from both content creators and consumers to make the platform accessible through mobile. Also, Google Analytics on its website revealed significant inbound traffic coming from mobile devices, which until today was met with an error message.
Version one of the company’s new mobile product is geared toward the viewer and offers a consumption first experience. Mobile users will be able to view live and archived video content, engage via text-based chat, and share out to social streams, but not appear on camera. A future release will enable mobile users to join live video conversations, according to co-founder and CEO Jeff Fluhr, while Android and tablet apps are also in the works.
Prior to founding Spreecast, Fluhr was the co-founder and CEO of StubHub, selling the alternative ticketing business to eBay in 2007 for $310 million. The experience of building this company over seven years, and the relationships formed along the way, give Spreecast a number of advantages as it attempts to achieve scale in this competitive market. The startup has raised a total of $11 million to date from Meakem Becker Venture Capital, GGV Capital, MentorTech Ventures, Stan Shuman, Gordon Crawford, Sandy Robertson, Edward W. Scott, Jr., and former Viacom CEO Frank Biondi.
Spreecast ties directly into the trend of celebrities, brands, and content creators engaging directly with their audience rather than speaking “at” them. Individual celebrities including Britney Spears, Elizabeth Banks, Anderson Cooper, and others have used the platform to facilitate AMA- (ask me anything) or town hall-style discussions with their fans.
The ability to extend the already popular conversation to a mobile audience will dramatically increase the reach and thus impact – even if its limited initially to video viewing and text-based chat.