The year is 2019 and video consumption is at an all-time high. Online streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon are fighting to create the best original content. YouTubers are becoming multi-million dollar influencers with every click. Your mom is face-time calling you about her latest DIY hack. Video is quite frankly, taking over our lives.
So where do we go from here?
The Future is Live and Interactive
“Live video is super powerful and exciting because it opens the door to true interactivity” — Dave Lazar, Founder and CEO of STAGE TEN
There’s something magical about live media. It has the unique ability to connect people from around the world who are living in different places, various time zones, and in completely different contexts. A live broadcast brings people together to be in the same “place” and share the same experience, without ever boarding a plane — now that’s pretty flippin’ cool. Web-based live video has the power to make the world feel smaller — forging bridges to the past, present, and future, creating a powerful unity across a (perhaps) not-so-big world. When we are all engaged in the same experience simultaneously, something extraordinary happens. What transpires in the Third Space (a shared electronic social space) when it blurs the lines between virtual and real?
Dave Lazar, CEO of STAGE TEN, describes what he likes to call, “breaking the fourth wall”. Dave’s dream of building a platform for truly interactive content on a two-way medium has been planted since he was a teen. His love for live broadcasts such as wacky game shows and radio call-ins, jump-started his imagination.
What if the audience could talk back in real time? Spin the wheel themselves? Dave explains, “Think , the next time a performer turns and looks at the camera and talks to the viewers — now people watching at home can talk right back to them. Next time you throw your boot at the TV, it’s going to go right through the screen and someone might get hurt!”
Would the technology ever catch up to truly break the fourth wall?
The Idea Behind STAGE TEN
Dave’s curiosity and passion led him to study Radio & Television Broadcasting, however it was always a difficult balance wanting to create something that the technology infrastructure wasn’t ready for. Watching videos on the internet was still a decade away, not to mention that creating and uploading your own media was just not possible. “The content producer in me wanted to create cool new formats,” explained Dave, “and the entrepreneur in me knew that I wasn’t going to be the only one — I saw an opportunity knowing this was the direction things were headed. And we’re only at the beginning of this transformation”. Continuously developing and hacking together new ways for audiences to engage and be delighted, it became very clear to Dave that the next wave of content would be live and interactive. Only when you are live can you truly interact. Emerging from a desire to learn and create, along with a solid belief of future demand, STAGE TEN was created.
Life in Ultra Low-Latency
The introduction of Web Real Time Communications, commonly known as “webRTC”, was a turning point. WebRTC made the latency low enough that these real time interactions became possible for audiences to experience. Building an interactive, low-latency player was the latest breakthrough for Dave and his team. The technology, as Dave expressed, “has the ability to let an audience experience content with only 100 milliseconds of latency, that’s near real-time. This is a game changer for this kind of interactive and transactional content we’re talking about”. Although live video technology has experienced significant advancements (especially over the last 10 years with the rise of social live streaming), there are still so many avenues and opportunities that haven’t been explored yet.
Interactions & Transactions
The web is a two-way medium. Once content is created that takes advantage of this power — there will be no stopping it. Content that not only lets an audience join the show or play along, but also transact with the publisher directly on screen. Transactions are interactions. Buy an item, send a tip, pay to play along — all these activities make audiences feel part of a community and give them a reason to tune in together, at a specific time. STAGE TEN fills the two missing links: content generators that let creators command and control interactions and transactions in the context of live shows, and an ultra low latency, clickable video player that lets audiences interact and transact in near real time. Right now, STAGE TEN is only offering these new features to select customers, with plans to release them to the full user base shortly, so stay tuned.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Creators
“There’s just so much excitement for someone who loves content and loves the media to have this new canvas to work from” — Dave Lazar
At the very core and foundation of STAGE TEN, the vision has always been to democratize broadcast media — lowering the barriers-to-production for all. The dynamic team based in Toronto, is dedicated to building breakthrough technologies on the forefront of the low-latency, live video revolution. Not so long ago, live video required a multitude of chunky gear to record, encode, and transmit over the air. Some of the gear was actually in truck form! Dave and the team have worked hard to build software that can reproduce the core functions of a video control room, make it accessible, and actually put these capabilities in the hands of anyone, everywhere. With the ability to drag and drop multiple feeds, add overlays, and pull in pre-recorded video easily within a web browser, YouTubers, influencers, Twitch Streamers — literally anyone — will be equipped with the tools and infrastructure needed to create professional, real-time, and engaging live content.
The future of live broadcast certainly captivates the imagination. It’s inspiring to catch a glimpse of all the “what ifs”, “maybes”, and “one days” that so many people around the world have dreamed up. Dave and the STAGE TEN team are excited to introduce the world to the future, and bring the future to the now.