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Geneva Motor Show review: Snapchat gate-crashes the livestream party

11 May 2017

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We are in the process of producing our latest analysis of how vehicle manufacturers present and distribute content to media at the major European motor shows. As we review the media content presented by exhibitors at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in early March, we’ve already identified further growth in the livestreaming of press conferences to public audiences. With Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Periscope all in the livestreaming game, which service proved most popular, and what are the new developments.

With the popularity of livestreaming growing year-on-year, the live broadcasting of motor show press conferences is becoming increasingly common. Of the 54 press conferences at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, 41% were livestreamed. This is more than double the number at last year’s Geneva motor show, when only one in five press conferences were livestreamed.

Livestreaming to both media and public audience

Reflecting the increasing popularity of on-demand content, footage of every major brand’s press conference was available to view and download after the event. Over half (56%) of the car brands that broadcasted live coverage of their Geneva presentations used their press sites to host their livestreams. However, most sites required no registration or passwords, highlighting the growing desire to make more content accessible to consumers.

So, what was the most popular way to livestream press conferences to the public from this year’s show? Surprisingly, Periscope made a reappearance in Geneva, having previously been shunned at both the 2016 Geneva and Paris motor shows. The platform was used for just under a fifth of manufacturers’ broadcasts (17%), with all Periscope livestreams linked to each brand’s respective Twitter pages.

Despite Periscope’s resurgence, Facebook Live continued to be the most popular streaming channel. 73% of livestreamed press conferences from Geneva were broadcast on the world’s biggest social media site – more than any other previous motor show. Facebook Live provides a quick and easy set up and even allows for broadcasting from mobile devices, boosting its flexibility and affordability. The platform also offers manufacturers the potential to reach large audiences and measure engagement in real-time.

Brands are growing in confidence with livestreaming and are actively looking for ways to reach and engage as wide an audience as possible. There is a rising trend for press conferences to be broadcast over multiple channels, and at the 2017 Geneva show 56% of those brands livestreaming used more than one platform, including Facebook Live, YouTube and their own website.

While Facebook Live’s flexibility and massive user base has established it as the preferred livestreaming channel for most brands, Snapchat made its debut as a broadcast tool at this year’s Geneva show. While the platform cannot be used to livestream an entire press conference, several brands used it to provide a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the show, building a more personal and engaging stream of coverage.

Many consumers are less likely to stay engaged for the duration of a 15-minute press conference, but Snapchat – with its youthful, large, and growing user base – delivers quick-to-view content that better fits the expectations of millennials.

With press site content and audiences evolving each year, should more car manufacturers be looking at innovative ways to engage with the younger online viewers? Can they afford not to?