04/04/2013 06:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Overcoming Life's Obstacles - HuffPost Live

emmys art

Entry Category: New Approaches: Arts, Lifestyle & Culture
Title of Broadcast/Webcast: HuffPost Live
Title of Story or Report: Overcoming Life's Obstacles
Running Time: 00:15:45
Production Company: HuffPost Live
Date content was originally aired / available for viewing (must be 2012): 08/21/2012
Original URL (if applicable):
Essay: Last summer, on August 13th 2012, we launched HuffPost Live, a live-streaming network, with the goal of creating the most social video experience possible. This is not an attempt to do TV on the web, nor is it merely a video network. It is a web and mobile platform for engagement.

Our premise: People are tired of being talked at; they want to be talked with. The news is no longer about a few people telling everyone else what happened -- it's about everyone telling everyone what's happening right now. This shift from presentation to participation is what fuels HuffPost Live.

Our approach: Put users front and center in the conversations we are having, speaking out on the issues that matter most to them, on equal footing with our other guests, including newsmakers, celebrities, pundits and experts.

This commitment to community engagement -- arrived at in the earliest days of our development -- has fueled every subsequent decision we’ve made.

For instance, in our initial iterations, we thought we’d have a big video player at the top of our page and a social stream below. That’s how it is almost everywhere – consumption placed far above engagement. Once we decided to make engagement just as important -- if not more important – than consumption, it changed the basic layout of where every element would go.

We shrunk the size of the video screen, increased the prominence of the social aspects of the platform, and made the ability to easily engage directly with the show – to join us live on the air – a top priority.

We then realized that if we were going to put our community front and center in our conversations, and include them as regular on-air contributors, we needed to make sure they were on equal footing with our other guests. So we created a resource well where we provide links to all the elements we are using to create that segment. So our potential guests are able to read up on the subject they are talking about, and be as informed as everyone else. This way, they don’t end up asking the so-called experts a question; instead, they engage in a real conversation -- disagreeing, offering well-informed opinions, presenting useful facts.

And we created interactive viewer guides that we call “Green Rooms,” that allow users to interact with a story even before the segment goes live -- they can read up on the topic, suggest things we should talk about during the segment, and start having conversations with other people who are passionate about the issue.

The decision to make engagement our North Star also informed the kinds of people we hired both on-air and behind the scenes. We ended up hiring non-traditional hosts. The skill set we looked for was less that of a standard TV presenter and more of a facilitator. Our people both have something to say, and are equally – if not even more -- interested in hearing what the HuffPost community has to say.

Our audience engagement metrics confirm that we have created a unique social and community video offering that greatly enhances the ways viewers can experience the news. For instance, our online viewers spend over 21 minutes per visit to HuffPost Live (four times the industry average for online video consumption), and, as of this writing, have left over 925,000 comments on our platform.

Since our launch, thousands of people from around the world have joined us live on-air, discussing an eclectic mix of issues and topics – from presidential politics to soft drink bans, and everything in between. And thousands more have joined the conversation via our interactive social tools.

This platform has given regular people greater access to the airwaves and furthered the democratization of the media. In the process, we believe we’ve created something innovative and worthy of consideration for this award. As Steve Grove, the head of Community Partnerships for Google put it an online posting: HuffPost Live is “re-defining live web video, and making a new kind of contribution to the public dialogue.”