Digital news organization The Young Turks (TYT) is partnering with live streaming start-up Firetalk to launch a real-time interactive broadcast of their self-titled flagship political discussion show hosted by TYT founder and CEO Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian.
The Firetalk-enhanced broadcasts of “The Young Turks” will stream Tues. and Fri. from 3 to 5 p.m. PT, starting today. The hosts and producers of the show will be able to take viewer questions and respond to comments live on the air, and the viewers can participate in real-time chat using Firetalk’s online platform and iOS mobile app. When the show is off-air, viewers can still visit TYT’s Firetalk channel to access content, products and videos, as well as social features, including group video chat, leadership boards and one-on-one conversations.
“Live streaming is more about live engagement with our most active fan base and delivering the best user experience,” Steve Oh, COO of The Young Turks, told VideoInk. “It generates buzz and excitement by giving the viewers the sense that they are part of the show. Live streaming is a very big part of our marketing and branding strategy.”
Firetalk GM Rush Doshi says that the platform is intended for everyone — from YouTube stars, politicians, musicians and athletes to teachers, preachers and moms — but unlike some of the other live-streaming apps (e.g. Periscope and Meerkat), it is more focused on creators with an existing audience.
“We’re building a platform to help them further engage with and monetize both through live and pre-recorded video,” Doshi told VideoInk. “They don’t need to be experienced ‘live-streamers’ since the medium is relatively new to most, but this person should be genuinely interested in interacting with their fans and of course be comfortable in front of a camera.”
In June, Firetalk did a live AMA with Def Jam artist Lil Durk that attracted 3,663 viewers and generated an average of 187 messages a minute, as well as 290 gifts sent.
“It was only 30 minutes long but the level of engagement was extremely high,” Doshi said. “The gifts currently don’t have monetary value but will very shortly so that a creator can actually earn additional income.”
Firetalk officially launched at VidCon in Anaheim last month with a three-day series of live stream interviews from a stage on the convention center floor. The programming lineup included a broadcast by TYT’s pop culture show “PopTrigger” and interviews by Shira Lazar of “What’s Trending,” who struck a deal to live stream the “What’s Trending Now” podcast on Firetalk.