Close up of Field Marshall Montgomery Piper at the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships

Broadcasting the World Pipe Band Championships to over 180,000 Global Viewers

by

Hundreds of pipers and drummers fill Glasgow Green with tightly rehearsed melodies and rhythms, thousands of spectators shrug off the drizzle to watch and cheer them on and we live stream a day-long programme to 180,000 unique viewers around the world.

As specialists in live streaming, Inner Ear has been broadcasting online the heats day of the World Pipe Band Championships since 2013. Last year we worked with broadcaster, piper, writer and host of the event, Fergus Muirhead, to present a mixture of live and pre-recorded interview feature packages.

In 2016 event organisers Glasgow Life commissioned us to create content during the Piping Live! festival that leads up to “The Worlds”. We spent a busy week (in which we were also supporting our friends at the National Piping Centre with live streams from Piping Live!) hanging out in the (mostly) sunny streets and parks of Glasgow speaking to pipers, drummers, judges and fans of traditional music from all over the world.

As the world’s pinnacle of pipe band excellence, it’s an impressive event. Glasgow Life always put on a great show in the city’s historic Glasgow Green park (which you can explore thoroughly in the Walking Heads Clydeside Promenade audio walking tour, which we produced).

And our live stream usually attracts a big audience. In 2013 we reached about 30,000 people (live and on demand). In 2014 the heats day moved from Saturday to Friday so the audience size dropped a wee bit, with about 20,000 watching live. Last year, with the addition of the interviews we conducted throughout the day we reached over 70,000 unique viewers. And in 2016, with a concerted promotional programme of activity that we ran in conjunction with Glasgow Life and Piping Live!, we were delighted to reach over 150,000 unique viewers of live and on demand content throughout the day. And at the time of writing (November 2016) we have reached 180,000 unique viewers.

The average durations watched are encouraging too. While it’s fair to say that attention spans for short-form on demand video online are typically around 60—90 seconds, for live streamed (long-form) content, we find the average duration watched is much longer. People watched “The Worlds” live for an average of 20 minutes, for example.

Our interview feature package content definitely helps keep people watching (or entice them back after a cup of tea). That’s especially important with an event that includes lengthy breaks.

Another way to extend audience reach and deepen engagement is through the use of Livestream’s Post Highlight feature. While you’re streaming live, you can use this feature to post a stand-alone clip of any part of the stream. We used this to post each band after they played so their fans (and friends and family) could watch their specific performance directly. This feature was welcomed by international viewers, particularly those staying up late or getting up very early to watch the action.

2016 winners Field Marshall Montgomery’s medley performance.

Broadcasting niche events from special (deer green) places is an effective form of cultural tourism, which is one of the motives for our commission to live stream the event each year. We also get excited by the energy and enthusiasm shown by the international audience who watch their favourite bands and cheer them on from their living rooms, workplaces, pubs and town halls all over the world.

Dougal Perman (Director, Inner Ear)

Whether it’s a large scale outdoor event, or a smaller self-contained show, with our mixture of creativity, understanding of strategic use of content and technical proficiency, we can take your activity, make a programme around it and get it in front of your ideal target audience. Get in touch and let’s discuss how we can help you reach the world.