Skype Gaining Popularity on Broadcast Networks

Loyal Tech tAUk viewers will remember our infamous Skype episode. The Snowpocalypse here in D.C. was so bad, neither Douglas nor I wanted to leave our rooms. So, we ended up doing the sensible thing and filming a good portion of the show on Skype. It was a fun experience, and I was truly impressed by how professional it came across as after editing.

However, it’s one thing for two college students to film their TV show using Skype, what if it’s news journalists and broadcast networks?

A recent Associated Press article details how Skype is gaining influence in the world of broadcast journalism. Reporters from ABC News to Fox News are using Skype to conduct interviews with top newsmakers and even do their reporting when the more conventional equipment is unavailable or out of commission.

The following anecdote from the article stood out to me, because it reminded me of our Snowpocalypse episode.

One of Washington’s paralyzing snowstorms last winter left [NBC News reporter Tom] Costello without power and stranded at home, but his wife held up a laptop to take a picture of him thigh-deep in snow in their front yard so Costello could do a live report.

With the exception of the being thigh-deep in snow, that’s essentially what we did. Conditions were just too horrible for us to even try heading to the ATV studio, and this was our only alternative. So seeing a prominent news reporter basically doing the same thing just fascinates me to no end.

There is, of course, a problem with using Skype on live broadcasts: the quality isn’t as good. The article details how an interview an ABC reporter conducted was completed in time for the deadline, but the subject’s voice and mouth did not appear to be in sync. The video also looked a bit fuzzy.

If we want to look at the big picture here, the quality of the news piece matters far more than the quality of the video. Embedded reporters in foreign countries will sometimes utilize grainy satellite phones in their reports; does it make the information any less relevant? Of course not.

None of this is to suggest that Skype will soon replace the conventional satellite interview, far from it. But when an emergency arises or a deadline needs to be met, it can certainly be used in an emergency.

Oh, there’s just one more thing.

Skype’s second beta for Skype 5.0 for Windows allows users to make group video conference calls for up to 10 people.

That’s right, you can now video chat with 9 of your friends at the same time. And that can only mean one thing.

Managing the CNBC Decabox will be easier than ever.

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