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"And...we're live(streaming)" - but how and to whom?

04 October 2016

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We are in the process of producing our Paris 2016 Press Kit Report, the latest in the series of PFPR's analyses of how car manufacturers present and distribute content to media at the major European motor shows. As we review the media content presented by exhibitors a few weeks ago, we’ve already identified the growing popularity of livestreaming press conferences to public audiences.

With Facebook, YouTube and Periscope all in the livestreaming game, which service proved most popular? Of the 31 press conferences by auto manufacturers at the Paris Motor Show, more than half (55%) of them opted to livestream the action over the internet. This is a massive increase from the Geneva show earlier in the year, when only one in five (20%) of press conferences were broadcast live on the internet.

For media and / or for the public?

Almost three-quarters (71%) of the car brands that broadcast live coverage of their Paris presentations used their press sites to live stream events. This content was presumably targeted primarily at media audiences, although most required no registration or passwords and were in theory available to any site visitors. The content has a long shelf life, with nearly all these brands (94%) allowing visitors to replay the footage as part of their motor show media offering. It is a medium increasingly seen by brands as an essential resource to provide to the media, alongside traditional press kits, imagery and video.

But, there’s also a growing trend for broadcasting directly to public audiences over social media. Such is the consumer demand for immediacy of news and content, brands are clearly keen to provide the public with live coverage from the show floor. So, what’s the most popular way to stream press conferences to the public?

Down Periscope: long live Facebook

While Periscope was trialled by six brands at the Frankfurt show 12 months ago, none used it in Geneva in March 2016 and it was again completely shunned in Paris.

Facebook Live is the new darling. Just over half (53%) of car manufacturers livestreaming from Paris used the world’s biggest social media site to broadcast their presentations. It provides greater flexibility in how to set up broadcasts than Periscope – which can broadcast only from a smartphone app – thus helping guarantee a higher quality stream.

While nearly a quarter of livestreaming brands (24%) decided to use both Facebook Live and their own website, only one made YouTube their platform of choice. The changing livestreaming choices of brands over the last three major European motor shows indicates that we’re still at the trial and error stage of live broadcasting.

The appeal of Facebook’s flexibility and massive user base does appear to make it the current channel of choice. Brands opting to livestream press conferences via social media platforms rather than their media sites are perhaps revealing their ambitions to reach consumers directly, bypassing traditional media outlets in the process. But do brands even need to be at the motor show at all to do that?