Livestation operates a live streaming service known as Russia Today which delivers live TV over broadband; the company says that over the last couple of weeks their viewing figures for the service have seen a ten fold increase.
The company goes on to say that heavy fighting in South Ossetia has sparked a giant leap in interest, with the average viewing time moving up to 25 minutes per visit.
They claim that in the conflict area viewing figures for all the Livestation live channels, which include BBC World, Al Jazeera English, Euronews and France 24, increased significantly during the two weeks, but Russia Today’s figures significantly outstripped the rest.
Presumably the reason Russia Today is more popular is that it is “local’ news.
But the broadcaster originates obviously out of Russia and is sponsored by the state-funded Russian news agency, which would indicate that other networks would have given a more balanced view of the happenings in the region.
It is not even a language issue as Russia Today, like the other above mentioned channels, broadcasts in English.
According to Livestation CEO, Matteo Berlucchi, the figures suggest a change in viewer behaviour. “It is becoming clearer by the day that Internet users are increasingly turning to online live broadcasts as their first port of call when looking at important news stories developing around the world.”
He says the simplicity of consuming live TV online has removed some of the main barriers to following live news events. “With no need for satellite dishes pointing in the right direction, set-top-boxes, smart cards and expensive subscriptions, people can now watch what matters most to them on their computers anywhere in the world.”
This seems like a somewhat naive and self promoting version of the situation as in fact the Russian authorities switched off regular TV services in the region at the beginning of the military action.
Livestation delivers free live TV and radio over broadband, in partnership with some of the world’s leading broadcasters, including Al Jazeera, BBC World News, Bloomberg Television, EuroNews (English, French, Italian and now Spanish), France 24, I Tele, Russia Today and BBC World Service.