I let the cat out of the bag this weekend on Twitter that I won’t be livestreaming New York Fashion Week this year.
Honestly, it’s heartbreaking.
I’ve worked really hard to stay on the cutting edge of coverage for the event so that I could hopefully expand my reach and show people the reality inside the tents.
When I began this endeavor with Julia in 2007, I was the only one posting blurry iphone pics live from the front row so our readers could feel like they were sitting with us. We had a great approach: I posted the shots live and she snapped clear pictures with her Canon to post that night. Soon, other bloggers and publications picked up on the concept, so I knew I had to find another angle.
When the Nokia N95 came out with live streaming capabilities, I attempted to use it to catch a few seconds of the models on the catwalk. Unfortunately, cell service and wifi in the tents was minimal so I reverted back to still shots.
In early 2008, Livestream was testing a unit called LiveU that harnessed 8 cellular networks so if say AT&T failed, they could jump to Verizon seamlessly. Our first attempt wasn’t successful because the unit was too fragile to be totally mobile.
For the Spring/Summer 2010 shows (which was in September of 2009), Otto and I finally pulled it together to offer the world (not that they were all watching) the first continuous coverage of NYFW. We didn’t turn off the camera between shows, we just kept rolling so you could see EVERYTHING as it happened in 4 hour chunks (on average). It was truly a unique experience if only because of the technology and exposure we were bringing to fashion. Think about it. What other coverage have you seen that was truly uncensored?
Last season in February, we had the process down, the image quality improved, and added scheduling and audience interaction via chat and twitter. Plus, I let viewers in on how I navigated the event, including passes for backstage, dealing with angry publicists, and sitting front row. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was real. And I was able to answer questions as you wrote them in.
The Huffington Post embedded our feed permanently on the top of their fashion page, and it was open for any other outlet to do the same. Trust me when I tell you, NO ONE else offered this coverage. Mostly because the technology was expensive and exclusive to Livestream.
For some shows, we had over 500 people viewing live and interacting with me. We truly felt like it was a success.
All of that being said, I was unable to secure a sponsor the coverage this September. We did it last year for free to prove it worked and could get an audience. At this point, the continuous, uncensored stream (as in not only shooting the show but keeping the camera on for everything in between), is still unique. No one else is doing it. This opportunity would give brands a new and entertaining way to engage with their customers, offer them something that interests them, and reach out to new potential customers. And. AND! The integration is more dynamic and cheaper than tv ads, not to mention the ROI is more quantifiable.
I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. I’ve gotten over being upset, but I do count this journey as a unsuccessful. Valiant and courageous, but unsuccessful when I assess my goals. I tried and did not succeed at establishing the value for this coverage.
So for those of you who did enjoy the stream in February and were looking forward to seeing the action live at NYFW’s new home in Lincoln Center, I apologize for not having the means to bring it to you.
This ends a pretty big chapter in my life. I have to say I would love to attend a show just to enjoy the clothes, but I know I would grab for my phone without hesitation to snap a pic and share it with you. Our NYFW dynamic has been truly satisfying for me. Your comments and feedback showed me you enjoyed it too. Thanks for coming along with me.Tweet this!