NBC News scoops up mobile video sharing startup Stringwire

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NBC News is acquiring live mobile video sharing startup Stringwire, a move to leverage firsthand witness accounts of breaking news events. Financial terms were not disclosed; The New York Times first reported the deal, which was subsequently confirmed on Twitter by both NBC News Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller and Stringwire founder Phil Groman.

Stringwire relies on the emerging WebRTC standard to transmit real-time voice and video data over the Web. The service enlists Twitter users who tweet about witnessing a live event by tweeting back at them, inviting them to click a Web link and point their camera-enabled mobile phone at what they're seeing to begin streaming live footage. All video is streamed directly to NBC News' New York City control rooms, where staffers will vet each submission for possible inclusion in the network's coverage.

"You could get 30 people all feeding video, holding up their smartphones, and then we could look at that," Schiller told The New York Times. "We'll be able to publish and broadcast some of them." Schiller cited as an example July's crash landing of an Asiana jet in San Francisco, where passenger photos and a brief YouTube clip captured from the airport terminal generated the first flurry of media coverage until a local news helicopter arrived on the scene. Schiller said Stringwire also could have improved coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, where police investigations restricted the movements of reporters: NBC instead relied on Skype to interview residents of neighborhoods cordoned off by authorities.

Groman will relocate to NBC News Digital Group's office in San Francisco to complete work on Stringwire, currently in beta. While the network will initially limit use of the service to its news division, Schiller said she believes Stringwire has "great commercial opportunities," suggesting that NBC could license the app to others, creating a new source of revenue.

For more:
- read this New York Times article

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