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Social Media TV: Al Jazeera Launches News Show

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The Stream is an aggregator of online news sources, seeking out unheard voices and new perspectives. (Image: J. Lopez)
The Stream is an aggregator of online news sources, seeking out unheard voices and new perspectives. (Image: J. Lopez)

WORLD

  • Al Jazeera English launches "The Stream", a social media news program
  • Site works with contributors to gather information from around the world; interviews conducted via Skype
  • News networks and media increasingly attempt to integrate social media in their television programs

Al Jazeera’s English news service has launched The Stream, a television show and online community that tells stories driven by social media.

On the Al Jazeera English website, it says the show “taps into the extraordinary potential of social media to disseminate news. The Stream is an aggregator of online sources and discussions, seeking out unheard voices, new perspectives from people on the ground and untold angles related to the most compelling stories of the day.”

The site works with contributors to gather information from around the world, and those stories are discussed on the television show. Interviews are conducted via Skype with people who are involved with the stories, and the audience is invited to participate and create “robust online discourse.”

The launch of this social TV show demonstrates the reality facing the media industry – discussions are taking place online, across social classes and across borders.

As was seen in the uprise in Egypt and Tunisia, social networks provide a platform where people can unite and challenge established powers and ideas.

Facebook, Twitter Compete for Advertising and TV

As more media groups attempt to make TV a social medium, social networking powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter are becoming more influential, competing for key roles in the industry, particularly in advertising and pay-TV.

But The Stream promises to steer clear of the purely social aspect of social media and to avoid the “what’s hot” approach that some news networks have adopted. It says it will concentrate on real stories that will get people involved and not just what is trending.

“This is not a show simply about the hottest viral videos or trending stories on the Internet,” it says on the Al Jazeera English website. “Instead, our goal is to connect with unique, less-covered online communities around the world and share their stories and viewpoints on the news of the day.

“A key part of The Stream’s mission is to help its viewers discover the newest online tools and advice to develop and share their information through these fast-changing networks.”

Key Players – Social Media TV

  • Google TV, Yahoo Connected TV, Microsoft IPTV, Intel, Sony, Hisense, LG NetCast, Mitsubishi StreamTV, Panasonic Viera Cast, Philips Net TV, Samsung Internet@TV, Sanyo, Sharp Aquos Net, Toshiba, Vizio, Facebook, Twitter

Key Statistics –TV (source: Futurescape)

  • The global TV advertising market is currently worth $180 billion.
  • The worldwide pay-TV market will be worth around $250 billion in 2014, while the Electronic Program Guide industry will reach a value of $555 million.

By James Mulholland for
James Mulholland is a Paris-based internet and broadcast journalist specializing in sports, current affairs and technology news, while also freelancing as a photographer.

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