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Facebook Live exhibit at NAB draws interest from churches

Updated April 24, 2017 - 8:28 pm

There is a new way to spread the word of God — Facebook Live.

Church members seeking a professional way to stream their sermons were among the early visitors to the first-ever Facebook Live pavilion on Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, according to exhibitors.

Religious organizations are one of the top customers for Livestream, which offers polished solutions for live broadcasts on social networks. Livestream is one of 13 Facebook-recommended vendors taking part in the pavilion.

“Churches are trying to get their word out and, just like brands, they are now starting to do that via live video,’’ said Jeremiah Linder, a Livestream marketing director who showed off his company’s streaming products to three members of a church on Monday.

Kelan O’Connor, a support technician for LiveU, another Facebook Live solutions provider at the pavilion, also fielded questions from a church representative looking to broadcast sermons.

“Even funerals are being streamed now because elderly people can’t make it,’’ O’Connor said. ‘’People are coming up with events to stream that I never even thought of.’’

The world’s largest social media company has come under fire as some people use its live-streaming app to broadcast anger and crimes. Facebook should do more to remove such content, critics claim. Facebook could not be reached for comment.

Quality Streaming Needs

Facebook, which has 1.65 billion users, launched its live streaming app for selected individuals in 2015 before opening it to the general public just over a year ago. Several other companies, including Twitter, offer live streaming apps.

Live streaming has surged in popularity over the last few years as it allows an individual or brand to interact with their friends or followers in a more intimate way in real time.

Most people tend to live stream using while holding their smartphones or tablets. As a result, the quality is often bad due to hand shake, poor lighting or inaudible sound.

Companies such as radio stations or name brands, religious organizations and so-called influential social media personalities though are among those demanding professional quality streaming. That is driving new software and hardware solutions.

Gregory Markel, chief executive officer of digital marketing firm Infuse Creative, was among those scanning the software and hardware at the 13 kiosks in the Facebook Live pavilion.

Markel said he was searching for a solution for a new project that will use both traditional broadcasting and streaming.

MET effect

The Facebook Live pavilion underscores one of the key themes of this year’s NAB Show, namely how media, entertainment and technology (M.E.T. Effect) are converging to change the way people create and consume content, said Chris Brown, NAB Show executive vice president in charge of conventions and business operations.

“Facebook represents really all three of those things,” said Brown.

Silicon Valley giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are among the more than 1,700 companies exhibiting at NAB Show, the largest convention for the radio and television broadcast industries. Google is exhibiting for the first time.

“This was a great first step for Facebook to understand where the opportunities might be. We think (Facebook and Google) will be bigger and bigger participants in the future.”

More than 100,000 people are expected to visit NAB Show this year, making it the fourth largest expo in Las Vegas this year after CES, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and SEMA. The show is closed to the public.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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