How Periscope and Snapchat Change Live Events

Imagine: from wherever you sit, you can see all the hustle and bustle backstage at the 2016 Grammys. You watch Taylor Swift race by, making a last-minute microphone adjustment before she goes onstage. Then you click over to the main stage and look out onto the crowd of top-tier celebrities in their award-show finery, seeing the event at a vantage point some celebs can’t even access.

What would have been impossible even a year ago will now likely be a reality for anyone with a smartphone this February—if previous awards shows this year are any indicator. Periscope and Snapchat are changing the landscape of behind-the-scenes access, offering unfiltered views of what was, until very recently, offered only to the elite—and providing unparalleled social marketing opportunities alongside them.

The VMAs and Social Media

For the 2015 VMAs in September, MTV partnered with Snapchat for an exclusive Live Story (for which users submit Snaps to create a “community perspective” of an event). Users had access to the red carpet, restricted backstage areas, and other event highlights not shown on cable. In an incredible demonstration of the platform’s potential, the VMA Live Story was supported by the first four advertisers offered the spot: Taco Bell, Verizon, American Legacy and Covergirl, who each had just 10 seconds for their promotion.

Snapchat and Periscope: bringing the best of the awards season right to your phone

Snapchat also did a Live Story for the Teen Choice Awards in August, and Variety reports that Snapchat Live Stories will partner with events like the Golden Globes (in January) and the Grammys (in February). And big advertisers have jumped on the bandwagon—companies like Universal, P&G, and Coke all have planned involvement.

In October, fans got to see the EMAs (European Music Awards) up close and personal, with a backstage livestream from Periscope. Periscope, acquired by Twitter in February 2015, allows users to stream footage straight to their device, and even comment in real time.

Viewer Involvement

Sure, cameras could be added backstage, and we already see plenty of red carpet feed at big events, but Snapchat and Periscope offer something we’ve never had before at this level: immediate audience participation. With Snapchat’s Live Story, users at an event can offer their own unique perspective to create a more robust picture of an experience.

And with Periscope, users who aren’t even at the event can influence what they see and experience by telling the person streaming what to show next, and whoever’s behind the screen can get immediate audience reaction with those adorable little hearts.

Looking Forward

Both Snapchat and Periscope offer less filtered, more immediate glimpses into both daily life and scripted events, like awards shows. And just as with real life, the videos are ephemeral, lasting from 10 seconds to 24 hours, which encourages people to participate at the time of the event, which builds an audience. In April, 40 million people watched a Snapchat live stream of Coachella, which is nearly double the number of television viewers (28.4 million) who tuned into the 2015 Grammys.

We imagine awards shows like the Grammys, the Latin Grammys, the Emmys, and the Oscars will continue to take advantage of the huge audience possibility during the coming awards season. Snapchat is already a sure bet for the 2016 Grammys and Golden Globes, and we bet Periscope will be involved, too. As with this year's VMAs and Viacom's second-screen success, we can imagine 2016 will bring unparalleled numbers thanks in part to Periscope and Snapchat—and their marketing opportunities.

Want to learn more about how Spredfast's Experiences platform can help boost already-electric live events with the power of social? Contact us.

Julia Eddington's picture

Julia Eddington

Julia Eddington is a freelance tech and personal finance writer and editor living in New York City.