Does this sound familiar? “News is about content, and I need to get as many feet on the street as possible to drive up my station’s story count and attract more viewers.”
One of the major drivers of IP newsgathering has been this type of thinking. Rather than limiting field newsgathering to crews assigned to expensive ENG and SNG trucks, equip the newsroom with multiple bonded cellular transceivers that can be grabbed by a reporter and shooter, or reporter/shooter video journalist, on the way out the door to the scene of breaking news.
At the 2016 NAB Show, Axle Video is taking the concept of maximizing feet on the street to a whole new level by making it possible for TV networks, station groups and individual broadcast stations to put hundreds — if not thousands — of citizen journalists on the street shooting news footage with their own smart phones and uploading it for possible use on air.
The new product, Axle Pulse, even makes it possible for broadcasters to go live with footage being uploaded once they’re confident of its authenticity.
What makes Axle Pulse different from asking the public to simply use their iPhones and Android phones to upload video is ease of use for the shooter and management of stringer footage with built-in tagging, curating and search tools, as well as relationship management, including payments and assignments, for the broadcaster.
“Anonymously submitted footage on some website is much more of a hit-or-miss proposition,” says Axle Video CEO Sam Bogoch.
“That’s not to say you can’t do that [submit footage from a phone independent of Axle Pulse], but the goal here is to be a much more immediate and guaranteed form of communication.”
Broadcasters interested in deploying the product buy an on-premise version of the Axle Pulse or subscribe to it monthly as a software as a service (SaaS) solution.
The public downloads a broadcaster-branded version of the Axle Pulse app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
A broadcast newsroom can then solicit footage, requesting people who have downloaded the app to go to the scene of a story, shoot footage and upload it to the station. Or, these newly recruited stringers can submit footage when they come upon what might be news.
As newsrooms begin to get a sense of which shooters are most reliable, they can deepen their relationships, offering payment for footage, making assignments and even taking uploaded video live to air, he says.
Work began on the product about a year ago when a major broadcast network approached Axel Video about expanding its product offering beyond its MAM product, says Bogoch. He declined to identify the network.
In the process of researching how to put Axle Pulse together, the company came upon VidLasso, a small company with a software product in R&D that did many of the things required to bring Axle Pulse to market.
Bogoch licensed the software from Christy King, a video producer who owns VidLasso. She continues to be involved as an adviser to Axle Video, he adds.
The Axle Pulse software is expected to be available in June. The on-premise version will cost “in the mid to high tens of thousands of dollars,” and the cloud based version will cost in the “low thousands of dollars per month,” says Bogoch.
That is a small price to pay to tap into the revenue stream generated by video content uploaded everyday to Facebook, Periscope and YouTube, he says.
“Today, most of that content is going straight past broadcasters. It goes flying by and in a way is reducing their advertising clout because all of that money is going to where the eyeballs are,” he says. “Shouldn’t broadcasters get some of that money?” he asks rhetorically.
To learn more, visit Axle Video’s website.
The company will formally introduce the product at the 2016 NAB Show in booth SL15416.