C-SPAN bypasses House blackout of Democratic sit-in using Periscope, Facebook Live

Twitter's mobile live-streaming app, Periscope, made history on two levels Wednesday, when a Democratic congressman used the app to broadcast a sit-in on the House floor, and C-SPAN relied heavily on the feed to broadcast the event, likely the first cable network ever to do so.

For background, Democratic House members have struggled to get gun control legislation passed over the past week, in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando. Frustrated with Republican members' refusal to hold a vote, the representatives staged a sit-in on the floor of the House, prompting the Speaker to call a recess.

House policy states that when Congress is not in session, the cameras in the House are turned off. That left C-SPAN, which retransmits the camera signal from the House floor to Americans via its cable network, with no live video.

Instead, the network broadcast a live Periscope feed being broadcast from the mobile phone of Rep. Scott Peters (D – Calif.). C-SPAN later switched over to a Facebook Live feed.

C-SPAN Director of Communications Howard Mortman told Gizmodo that this was the network's first extended Periscope broadcast.

Periscope and C-SPAN weren't immediately available to comment to FierceOnlineVideo on the broadcast, and it wasn't clear why the live stream shifted to Facebook Live.

Politics aside, the event certainly strengthened the case for crowd-sourced live streaming, with Rep. Peters' stream topping Periscope's highlight list and Facebook Live suddenly enjoying much more attention that it may have expected amid its ongoing rollout.

The relatively new Facebook streaming service, in fact, just announced it has inked $50 million in deals with over 140 media companies and celebrities to build interesting content for Facebook Live. For the moment, however, the action on Capitol Hill could be its biggest hit yet.

For more:
- see this Vox article
- see this Gizmodo article
- see this WSJ article

Related articles:
From Periscope search pains to China's discomfort with free speech, mobile livestreaming challenges grow
Google reportedly looking to catch up with Periscope with YouTube Connect
Facebook's live video push sure to spur data traffic on mobile networks