NFL star Terrell Owens lifestreams with Hang w/
NFL star wide receiver Terrell Owens is expanding his already prodigious social media following with live internet streams that have the potential to become a quasi-broadcast channel.
He’s amassed 10,000 followers to his broadcasts on Hang w/, an app which connects people through live streaming video and simultaneous chat from iPhone, iPad or Android devices. Broadcasts can be of 3, 6 or 9 minutes in length with streams shared live to Facebook on IoS devices (3 minutes currently, for Android).
“Once I start broadcasting, people are able to see live content,” says Owens, a shareholder in Hang w/ and in the app’s LA-based developer, MEDL Mobile. “This is not recorded footage. There’s no editing, no tape delays. Other social media, like Twitter, Facebook and before that Myspace, didn’t allow this. I’d been trying to find some creative ways to be more social media savvy, and this opportunity was brought to me.”
T.O, out of contract since ending a season for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, is a major player in social media and well aware of the publicity that sharing moments from his daily routine could have as he seeks to grow his own health and fitness brand.
He’s clocked 200 viewers to a single live broadcast to date, so the trick will reside in converting his 3 million combined followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Hang w/ has a Twitter handle so everytime I broadcast it will I notify my Twitter followers to follow me on Hang w/,” he explains. “This is about fan interaction, not necessarily to monetise. But if I have anything going on then I can share that with my incredible fan base and they can see what I’m doing on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. I could tune in now and have fans watching us do this interview.” [Which was conducted via Skype].
“There are sections where fans can ask questions and where I can respond live and there’s audio too so that they can hear me,” he continues. “That’s important to me because a lot of times on social media, fans will make comments or ask questions and their messages can get lost. This way, I can shout out their user name. It’s a lot more fun being able to converse this way.”
The former wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys sees the possibility in broadcasting from football matches or other live events. “That would be amazing – especially if hundreds or thousands of fans in the stadia were sharing video from the same game. There shouldn’t should be any reason why you can’t broadcast from a game.”
T.O has broadcast from basketball training games and softball games where he’s teammates with [TV personality and glamour model] Kendra Wilkinson and former NFL star Hank Baskett. “I’ve even broadcast from our dugout,” he says.
How often does he broadcast? “It’s random. If I get in the mood, maybe once or twice a day. I may be training or be at the gym late with my friends, or if I’m playing basketball I may go live. I’ve hand-held my iPhone to record and also put it on a tripod like a TV interview. Although I’m interacting with fans and letting them into the world of celebrity I’m also showing them that I’m doing normal, regular things.”
He makes a point of tuning into other people’s broadcasts, too. “I’ll tune in at random, see who is broadcasting at any time. I’m usually made aware of new people who have signed up. One of the latest is Julius Thomas [tight end for the Denver Broncos]. I sent out a tweet welcoming him to the Hang/w family just before the Super Bowl.”
Since launch last March, the ad-supported app has been downloaded one million times and will get a further boost when Google Glass goes on retail since a glassware version has been added. There are plans to release an unlimited broadcast option for Google Glass. A number of other athletes and celebrities are helping promote it, including Larry the Cable Guy and 50 Cent.
Users simply click to start a broadcast, a 5-second countdown begins before going live. A countdown clock shows how much time there is left and how many viewers are watching. A broadcaster’s archived videos can be viewed on their profile page. And via an online viewer, broadcasts can also be shared to Facebook. Once shared, those broadcasts can be reshared virally (even while it’s happening live.)
MEDL has also developed the app Athlete’s Tweet (sports news from celebs) and App Incubator, a programme that lets anyone make their own apps.
Owens played 15 seasons in the NFL, scoring 153 touchdowns, receiving 1078 passes, and carrying the ball 15,935 yards.