Jim Cantore, watch out: Hurricane Matthew’s run up the U.S. East Coast saw a spike in Periscope and Facebook Live streams from users located in the path of the storm. And some local TV stations relied on the social media sites’ streaming capabilities to make sure their broadcasts reached viewers across multiple platforms.
While Twitter didn’t reveal how many users live-streamed their view of the hurricane, Periscope staff set up a dedicated Hurricane Matthew page to aggregate streams related to the storm.
Local stations of course live-streamed their broadcasts, but at least two Florida stations, WPEC in West Palm Beach and WSVN in Miami, also utilized Periscope and Facebook Live to stream their live linear broadcast. According to CNN Money, WPEC attracted at least 700,000 viewers to its livestream during the storm.
Fox Television Stations offered a dedicated hurricane page at myfoxhurricane.com with aggregated forecasting, weather maps, webcams and live-streamed video.
And NewsON, which offers linear streaming from participating stations across the country, sent device updates about to users in storm-affected areas of the U.S. East Coast, and additionally pledged to donate $1 per download of its app to hurricane relief, up to $10,000. A NewsON spokeswoman told FierceOnlineVideo that the provider “will hold a poll for our viewers to decide which charity to donate to as the campaign efforts are on their behalf.”
Regardless of the source, viewers across the country had a front-row seat to the storm and its aftermath, with access to footage beyond that provided by local television stations. That access led to at least one rescue in storm-flooded South Carolina, where a drone photo of flooded houses posted on Twitter was responsible for a man’s rescue from record-high waters.
Craig Williams, who lives in Austin, said he sent the drone photo to his brother Chris, who lives in the affected area, after Chris contacted him hoping he could help find a way out of his flooded neighborhood. Chris responded, “That’s my house,” ABC 11 reported. Craig retweeted the photo along with a plea to the drone photographer to help his brother -- and the photographer was able to contact a FEMA rescue crew.