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Livestreaming Killed the TV Star

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Livestreaming Killed the TV Star: FIU alums’ company rides streaming wave

It is a hacker’s Mission Space Center.

A vast space of keyboards, monitors and consoles – displaying cosmic measures of data within graphs, charts and an infinite number of web browser tabs –  sits next to a collection of tinkered down cameras, tripods, backdrops and other audio-visual paraphernalia.  

From the 22-ft high ceiling, a white photo-backdrop rolls down the wall.  Apart from color, it is visually no different from a celebrity red carpet.  Two Wall-E like light contraptions face each other at the bottom, flanking the backdrop.  Missing is the thing-to-be-photographed.  Blue LED lights pulse softly beneath keyboards.  

In the corner is a rendering of a rocket ship shooting upward, soaring through the stars: the logo of StreamingBundles, a Miami-based tech startup company that wants to connect people and companies to the future via online streaming, using the power of social media.  

Daniel Zambrano and his older brother, Felipe, are the young entrepreneurs behind StreamingBundles. Both are FIU graduates; Daniel double-majored in finance and international business and Felipe in international business and management. Felipe was Daniel’s first evangelist and partner once the younger Zambrano sold him on the potential of a company that helps businesses and individuals use social media platforms as a way to communicate effectively with target audiences.  

“I was not aware of how important this could be, to drive social media and how social media can drive sales and how to generate more awareness and strengthen the product branding,” said Felipe Zambrano. “How do you compete with a larger scale company that’s been in business for 20, 30 years?  Well, now the advantage is that technology is able to level that playing field and we’re able to promote ourselves effectively.”

The brothers found that by 2018, over 80 percent of content consumed by mobile devices will be some sort of streaming video, with the fragmentation of the traditional media markets.  With the acquisition of Twitch by Amazon, in a huge bidding war with Google where the former won the platform with a purchase price just shy of a billion dollars, the global behemoth will provide the video gaming platform with a colossal financial backing, a massive indicator that companies are acting upon the next wave of entertainment media.

The Zambranos decided to ride the wave and facilitate users, whether these are businesses or individuals, to create online media through various media such as video and podcasting.  

Daniel, who heads up Business Development, successfully recruited a Finnish gamer, whose gamertag is “PeteMoo,” as brand ambassador.  PeteMoo is best known among a certain group of gamers as “the most f—— insane ‘For Honor’ player” anyone has ever seen.  “For Honor” is an online game that pits Vikings, Samurais and Knights against each other on a medieval cyber battlefield.  Petemoo, whose real name is Pietari Jukarainen, livestreamed his gaming via Twitch after coming on board with StreamingBundles, because his followers can enjoy Jukarainen’s gaming even when he’s not online. The livestreams are recorded and available for viewing at any time his audience desires.  

With over 16 million viewers tuning into Twitch every day in just the U.S., it holds more viewership than major television networks. Jukarainen’s gaming will receive exposure from larger audiences given the flexibility of viewing-at-leisure that Twitch provides.

“It used to be that American households would come home and they would tune in to the same TV shows,” Daniel said. “They would talk about it the next day at the water cooler, or with their friends.  We were all watching the same TV shows, and then with the advent of streaming, now that you can have everything on demand, well, you really don’t have to do that anymore.”

StreamingBundles’ product offerings center around three main categories: online videos, live streaming (live broadcasts) and podcasts (on demand radio shows that you can download), targeting three levels of budget sensitivity, from entry level to higher-end if the budget is bounteous. “Good, Better, Best” is the way the younger Zambrano describes it.

“We’re not Amazon,” Daniel said.  “We’re not going to offer every product under the sun.  We found out what the top streamers and YouTubers are actually using and we went ahead and evaluated these products to bring in what we think is the best value for the buck.  Period.”

Alejandro Arrieta, phD, an FIU assistant professor who specializes in health policy and management at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, met the Zambranos at eMerge Americas earlier this year, where the latter had a booth.  They had just made the semi-finals at University of Miami’s startup competition, earning accolades for their business idea.  Learning that Arrieta needed assistance in communicating with medical professionals throughout remote locations in Latin America, they set up a discovery meeting.

At the discovery meetings, that Felipe explains is set up to explore how the company can tailor production services to the client’s specific needs, Daniel showed Arrieta a lightweight cell phone tripod that helps with stability.  The professor tinkered with it, noting that it would be useful for the upcoming training sessions.

“We can basically show you and take you from plugging in every single cable, configuring everything, to uploading your first video, your first livestream,” said Daniel.  “You can feel confident that these packages are going to basically get you doing what you need and over time you’re going to improve, but the learning curve, the struggle to push yourself to start doing something creative, we’re going to make that as painless as possible.”  

Arrieta also asked for assistance in using his new, high-ticketed DSLR camera, to which the brothers explained how it can best be used.

“We have our experience of doing Facebook Live,” said Arrieta.  “But the quality wasn’t the best.  Now I found out this is probably the best way to improve the quality of our program, and that’s what we need now, to find the right equipment.”

Other companies that have jumped on the social media bandwagon are traditional large-scale business-to-business companies likes Caterpillar and Deloitte, who surprisingly have many followers on their social media platforms.

“Deloitte [has] over 1,200 videos,” said Felipe. “I think audiences now are more educated.  They expect to get more information.  They expect to have a closer relationship to you and you can do that through social media.”

To the brothers, the time is now more than ever with competition from large media companies mounting.  For example, rumors abound that Universal Studios wants to push ‘The Rock’ to create YouTube content. StreamingBundles hopes to encourage future streamers to not be swayed by the huge media company competition.  Having endless financial resources does not equal online success, they point out.

They have seen channels that are remarkably clever and simple that are successful online, with millions of view and followers.

“It’s David versus Goliath,” Daniel said.  “The Davids are winning online.”

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