What happened to all the live video streams from storm spotters?

J. W. Bowers

Enthusiast
Feb 28, 2011
1
0
0
I used to go to the News 9 (OK City) radar and click on the icons for the various spotters and watch their video streams. Not any more-nothing there. Which is sad-there used to be almost a hundred if conditions were right. Now I can catch 1 or 2 on ChaserTV and 1 or 2 on TVN Weather. Where did everybody go? And why?
 
Feb 19, 2007
176
79
11
Austin, Texas
www.randydenzer.com
Myself and Verne Carlson were some of the first TVN streamers and earned top streamer spots before WDT pulled away from TVN. For all the 100s of thousands viewer minutes and "Top Streamer" Bonuses I never made more than $650 per season. Streaming is a pain in the behind! and so many things can go wrong.
 
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Reactions: Jeff Smith
Nov 18, 2006
1,233
319
11
Chicago, IL
Streaming seems to be decreasing in popularity among the more seasoned chasers. Its a pain and there isn't much to gain in return. I used to deal with it because I could earn an easy 75-100 bucks on a big chase day but the revenue sharing plummeted so much I just got tired of dealing with it. I think I only streamed once last year...I'm still debating on it this year but right now am not too motivated unless the incentives have increased.
 
May 17, 2010
47
1
6
Savoy, IL
I agree with Adam. There's just no benefit. The couple times I've had large numbers of watchers I never made nearly enough to cover my yearly subscription to the streaming service, let alone the extra data it consumes. Plus, there just isn't an easy software/hardware solution to make it work easily without lots of issues.

I like watching the live streams, but I understand why fewer are doing it. Personally, for me it's got less to do with the money and more to do with the common problems. If someone could develop an easy to use hardware/software solution that's RELIABLE (set it and forget it), I'd be tempted to do it again. Until then, probably not.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,527
2,188
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Maybe everyone is finally realizing the sad realities about streaming. I've posted this take on streaming before, and my opinion hasn't changed one bit:

While its pioneers and providers had good intentions, streaming is one of the worst things to come along in storm chasing. It's all cost (in more ways that one), little to no reward. It adds significant workload to a chase (an additional camera to buy and pay attention to). Media pays peanuts to use streams on-air (in the rare event they do pick your stream). It chews up your mobile data. Online viewers are generally unappreciative and demanding ("MOVE THE CAMERA NOW!!!" "WHY ARE YOU GOING *THAT* WAY???"). The additional task of babysitting the stream is a liability. You have to constantly make sure the camera is pointing the right way to catch anything, or else miss the shot and face the wrath of your self-entitled viewers. Finally and most importantly, other than the 60 seconds someone is looking at your stream, nobody cares.

Streaming has already cost me dearly in making me miss shots I've been trying to get for a long time. I personally hate streaming and will never do it again.

I don't understand why anyone would make the decision to stream these days, unless that person is still in the delusional "I'm going to get my name out there and be the next big thing in chasing" mode. I guess it's one of those things that has to be learned the hard way.

I predict streaming will be a thing of the past in 5 years once everyone realizes the reality about it. Maybe other than having something like a static GoPro streaming to Youtube, but not for any other reason but to have a backup copy of dashcam video.
 
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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,527
2,188
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Those devices - they look nice, but again, why should I or anyone spend $300-$700 more on equipment for the sole purpose of trying to entertain unappreciative viewers or help save TV stations/networks thousands of dollars in sending their live trucks out or purchasing a sat feed. Buying those things for any TV purpose is personally-funded corporate welfare. Then again, so is selling video for $100, so it shouldn't surprise me if many start going that route.
 
Mar 15, 2015
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Wichita Kansas
Meh, I had little cost in my streaming. The liveshell I linked above was provided by a local TV station, I already had 2 cameras and I had unlimited data at the time (although spotty, as it was Sprint. Now I have 15Gb/mo with actual coverage with Verizon, but my partner has 20Gb to offset said chewing up). We had no pressure to "perform", simply left the camera on the windshield unattended and got what we got. But then, I was not under a contract or anything either, my stream was provided with no compensation.
 
Jul 2, 2004
1,775
91
11
Hastings, Michigan
www.stormhorn.com
A couple years ago, I began evaluating what it was that I was about. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was live streaming. But doing it was such a pain in the butt. I'm not a prominent chaser, but when I do get to go out, I want to focus on what matters, and that is the storms. I want to appreciate them for all they're worth. I concluded that live streaming just gets in the way of that. It's a major attention sink when I need to be, and want to be, watching the sky. Plus, I found that it was affecting my choices. I let a storm get past me a few years ago because I was parked in a strategic location for streaming as a wall cloud crossed the highway in front of me. I did that because I was talking with the local news and wanted to give them a good screenful of what I was seeing, but I should have been repositioning out ahead of the storm.

Never again. On those occasions when I've got the money and opportunity to chase, I'm not going to let live streaming divert me from what really counts and what I care about most in chasing.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,527
2,188
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
I missed the Gateway Arch getting struck by lightning in 2013 because I thought TWC had my stream live. I stopped on the Eads Bridge to frame a shot for them for several minutes. A few minutes later, I was setting up my cameras downtown and missed the Arch strike by 30 seconds. I later found out that my stream wasn't actually being used. I missed a shot I'd been trying to get for 3 years and didn't even make a sale. Even if I had, it wouldn't have been worth missing that shot. Good riddance to streaming!

TV stations are for-profit entities and there is no good reason to do anything for them for free, even if they pay for equipment or gas money. I don't care how nice they are. They're on TV every day. They get more publicity than any chaser ever will, and they still get a paycheck. I never saw a dime of benefit for any of my free TV appearances, and no one remembers a day later anyway. Why provide products or services to multi-million or billion dollar companies for free or cheap? They'll pay millions for a new studio and thousands for a sat uplink no problem. They can afford to pay a chaser enough to allow the purchase of equipment and the time needed to babysit the stream, but they won't because everyone gives it away. I won't bash anyone who still does that, but man, why? Not me. If anyone is thinking about doing it, just ask yourself what you're getting out of that deal. It's really nothing, and that's just not fair to you or for anyone.
 
Mar 30, 2008
1,186
894
21
Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
You will never see a stream from me again unless hell freezes over for all the same reasons Dan outlined above. I've been heavily involved in 3 streaming companies (Helped found SevereStudios in 2008 and offer streaming, helped out with CTV in 2009, worked for WDT 2010-2013) and after the 2013 season I really thought "what are you doing?". It was doing nothing for me, that's for sure. Even when I had a thousand plus viewers.

Viewers were ungrateful and would second guess and email/tweet/text you to let you know what you were doing wrong. I liken it to being able to get into Bill Belichek's headset during a game and telling him what play to call.
 
Feb 22, 2015
34
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Milton, Ontario, Canada
It is most unfortunate that nearly all of you have found Live Streaming to be both frustrating and a financial burden. I can only speak for myself and say that I would miss following Live Streams on chase days if everyone were to abandon the idea. For a variety of reasons (including scheduling, finances, health..) I've rarely been able to travel down to travel down to Tornado Alley & Dixie Alley to feed my 4-decade-long fascination with severe weather. Consequently I have been enjoying following the live streams to get a feel for what it's all about, get a sense of chase strategies, and of course view some incredible footage as it happens. It definitely has been helpful addition to my efforts to climb the learning curve. Of course, I also have a number of memorable moments, thanks to the live streams, such as watching Andy G's chase of the Philadelphia, MS EF-5 & plus the Tuscaloosa EF-4 on the big Super-Outbreak of April 27, 2011, the incredible footage of the May 18 Rozel, May 19 Shawnee, May20 Newcastle-Moore tornadoes in 2013, and many many many more over the last 4 or 5 years!

And, I can assure you that I have never taken anyone's efforts for granted, and I have a hunch that there are many like me who very much appreciate the live streaming that has been provided those who can't join in on the fun (yet!)

Sadly, I don't have any solutions for the problems you folks have identified, but did want to let you know that not everyone out there is taking your efforts for granted.
 

skwidaker

Enthusiast
Jul 24, 2014
4
0
0
Are there any fields of work which involve a publically-consumed service or product that is completely exempt from having its critics, trolls, armchair coaches, and self-proclaimed experts? Are any such fields completely exempt from receiving hate mail along with their fan mail? Press on despite your critics, or else you will only ever give-in to their whims. This is exactly what some of your harshest critics want you to do.
 
Nov 25, 2008
219
31
11
Dallas,TX
www.wxdallas.com
Guess I'll throw my two cents in on this issue. I've streamed for several years. At first it was a chore and sometimes frustrating. As said above it took too much attention away from important things that should have had my immediate attention. After a while though I was able to adjust my rig so now it's pretty much a "set it and forget it" operation. I used to stream any and everything during a chase, start to finish. It was nice to locally archive my stream to have a backup record and even catch a few storm features here and there I otherwise may have missed. Since I've switched to a SSD and have other means to record the chase I won't be archiving the stream any longer. I'll still stream when / if there's something interesting to stream but it certainly isn't my main priority by any means. As far as profiting from streaming, I knew from the onset that wasn't ever going to happen. It's always been something I've done for fun, friends and family that are interested in seeing what's going on.
 
Nov 8, 2014
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28
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O'Fallon, MO
ofallonweather.com
I am sure there will be plenty to view as soon as the weather becomes more active.
For me it is easier than ever to stream, plug in the USB cable, launch OBS, hit the stream button. I agree that one can let the live stream takeover the chase, trying to keep the subject in frame can be frustrating at times depending on the storm motion and road network.
Then there is still the question about revenue sharing for those of us that have used that in the past to help offset a portion of our chasing cost.
 
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Nov 18, 2006
1,233
319
11
Chicago, IL
After thinking about this some more I realized I may give it one last try. I guess for me it is my setup using an old bulky camcorder that had extra cords and wires dangling all over the place. The size of the camera meant I couldn't really turn or aim it well so I missed half the shots I wanted to get. Once CTV is setup and running its quite simple to activate. So I guess I just need to simplify things with a smaller camera and I bet most of my issues will go away. I did like being able to share what I was doing with friends/family and the NWS. As far as revenue sharing goes...well...time will tell on that one. There are plenty of people out there who like to watch.
 
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nmoore125

EF0
Jun 14, 2014
35
10
11
Kearney, NE
I can see the point of a lot of you here but I am more on the other side of the spectrum. I am on TVN and really enjoy it. I have been chasing on my own for years. Over 20. It wasn't till last year that a few people that I had shared my experiences in the past said that they thought it would be great for me to show it off to the world. Now if I was a brand new chaser alot of these points above make absolute sense, but I have seen so much over the years that getting that perfect spot or shot isn't the end of the world to me. So I started out giving TVN a shot. The response I got was amazing and people really loved it. I have been hooked ever since.. I feel I had my time to enjoy this to myself all these years now I want to give to those that do not get to experience it. There are a lot of people out there that don't have the means or just can't get out to the plains to see this stuff. So I now it my goal to provide the best experience for the people that do follow me. Yes.. Its a different thought process, and I am a little safer and not as "gutsy" as I was solo with no streams but I thoroughly enjoy people getting see the beauty of what we all love. Obviously if things get really intense and I for some reason find myself in a bad spot then focus obviously turns away from the stream. I am also luck and have unlimited data from Verizon so the costs are not to bad..

Anyways just my 2 cents on the topic. Nobody is wrong .. I think it just depends on where your at in your chasing life and if you enjoy it or not.
 
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Mar 30, 2008
1,186
894
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Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
The other real problem is that sometimes you can get into poor data areas and your stream stops working well and causes GR to stop downloading radar data. Typically I'm already on a storm at that point, so I don't care so much, but it can be a pain to not have up to date radar data.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,527
2,188
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Press on despite your critics, or else you will only ever give-in to their whims. This is exactly what some of your harshest critics want you to do.
The "critics" are just one of the many negatives to streaming. They aren't the only bad thing about it that keeps me from doing it, they are just one part of a whole host of reasons not to stream. The problem isn't a few "negative nancys", it is that there is absolutely no redeeming quality in streaming that would make we want to do it again, critics or not. The critics just help to put another nail in the coffin. If there were just one other really good reason to stream, a few critics wouldn't bother me. The point is that there is NO good reason to stream. It is all cost and hassle to a chaser, and brings no benefit whatsoever.

I realize there are a few who might enjoy and appreciate watching a stream. But honestly, for as horrible streaming is to me as a chaser and to my chasing goals, I would simply expect those appreciative viewers to start ponying up to pay for their share of chase expenses just as if they were riding along. We all know that's never happening. Even if I could somehow attract enough paying subscribers to make the economics work, the thought still makes me cringe. When the free viewers are already exacting such wrath on chasers for camera angles and chase strategy, I can only imagine the unholy firestorm that would descend on me from paying viewers when things aren't done to their liking! No thanks and no thanks!!!

Again, I won't fault someone for continuing to stream if they want to, people can do what they wish. You just won't see me doing it, if that means anything.
 
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rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,960
480
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
The point is that there is NO good reason to stream. It is all cost and hassle to a chaser, and brings no benefit whatsoever.
At the minimum it covers my gas for every chase, and if it's a good chase then I have gas plus a fancy steak dinner at the end. Every time.

Approach TV stations and try to get a guarantee for using your livestream. I'm not going to get rich, but as noted there's very little work for me to do and it always has a return. Even on clear-sky busts, the TV stations I use still want to "brag" that they have chasers out so I get paid.
 
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