4 million people watched Gezi protests on alternative live broadcaster

Photo: 4 million people watched Gezi protests on alternative live broadcaster / Turkey

UStream, the leading video technology platform allowing individuals to broadcast live online with their mobile devices, said 4 million people watched Turkey's Gezi Park protests as clashes between police and protesters on the mainstream news channels were not broadcasted properly, Hürriyet Daily News reported.

"There was an amazing traffic during the protests in Turkey, an incredible creativity by users. Some 4 million people watched only one channel at the time after protesters spontaneously created channels on UStream," company's marketing VP David Thompson told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 7 at the UStream headquarters in San Francisco.

Thompson, who leads the company's branding, product marketing and corporate communications, said "Gezi protesters' amazing, creative social phenomena live broadcast" rapidly drew attention from Turkey and the world.

UStreams played a unique role during the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, which had begun at the end of May against a government redevelopment plan. The attempt to save the last green area in Taksim Square evolved into the biggest turmoil in the country's recent history, with 2 months of long protests across the country resulting in the death of five protesters and a police officer, along with thousands injured.

Mainstream media's much criticized "silence" in the beginning of the protests compelled the protesters to broadcast scenes of the events themselves over UStream, which allows anyone with a cellphone or a camera connected to the internet to broadcast live from the scene, albeit with a reduced streaming quality.

"They became citizen journalists and our goal is to make societies more open," Thomson said.

"Someone who witnesses a breaking news event live can be the right alternative to mainstream media and also an opportunity for mainstream media to tap into any news around the world," he said, defining his company's role in contemporary media.

"We are just a platform supplying the technology necessary for people to broadcast; we are neutral tech company empowering people to communicate the messages they want to get across. Our mission is to empower anyone around the world to reach news audiences through the power of live experiences," he said.

Thomson also thanked Turkish people for using UStream as alternative media.

The company was founded in 2007 with a vision to render live online broadcasting technology a mainstream media platform; Ustream was originally created to connect military service members to family and friends across the world. Since then, the company has established itself as a socially-fueled video platform for broadcasters of any size to easily reach an infinite audience and share experiences in real-time.

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