NBC News zooms in on phone video streaming service

The news outlet buys Stringwire, a move that will allow it to collect user-generated video content from cell phones around the world.

Syrian youths use cell phones to film a protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the northern city of Aleppo last October. Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

NBC News is placing a bet that it can harness live smartphone video to deliver news faster.

The news outlet is expected to formally announce Monday it has purchased startup Stringwire, a move that will allow it to beam user-generated video content from cell phones around the world to its studios in New York. The news, which was broken Sunday by The New York Times, was confirmed in tweets by Stringwire developer Phil Groman and NBC News digital chief Vivian Schiller.

The intent behind the acquisition is to turn eyewitnesses to breaking news events into the network's camera operators, delivering video from multiple angles in real time, Schiller said.

"You could get 30 people all feeding video, holding up their smartphones, and then we could look at that," Schiller told the Times. "We'll be able to publish and broadcast some of them."

The service enlists the legion of Twitter users who tweet about witnessing a live event. Prospective camera operators will be sent a tweet and invited to click on a link and point their handset camera at the event. Live video will then begin streaming back to the network without the need for a special app, the Times reported.

 

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