Livelens, an Israeli-developed app, lets users take video using their iPhone or Android devices, and, as of this week, with Google Glass, and share them with the world in a live stream, which they can charge money to view. The Tel Aviv-based company offers users a way to make money from their everyday lives.
The firm even recruited a “celebrity” to help spread the word, the infamous Thamsanqua Jantjie, of the phony sign language depiction of President Barack Obama’s speech at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Livelens is designed to allow users to take video of events and share them in real time, or through a cloud-based recording, with anyone else. The video can be shared on Facebook or directly through the app, and users can notify others when they go “live.”
With those features, Livelens is no different than a dozen other iOS and Android apps, but has the video monetization business cornered, at least for now. When shooting a video, users can designate whether they want to allow free access or charge up to $9.99 for the privilege of watching.
The fare available in Livelens will be familiar to aficionados of live streaming video apps, including funny pet tricks, video selfies, and the guys or gals getting together. There are also some surprises, such as Tuesday night’s broadcast of a concert with the Pixies, who appeared in Tel Aviv. The videos are uploaded to the Livelens server, where anybody can watch them. Like with many streaming video apps, viewing can be choppy, depending on the strength of the network and the power of the device.
With Google Glass, Livelens takes the “live” aspect of its service to a whole new level, according to Livelens CEO Max Bluvband. Unlike with a smartphone, on which users must activate the app and aim the camera in order to upload video, Glass can do stream video hands-free. All a user has to do is put the Glass on and activate the app verbally, and an always-on stream runs until the user turns it off.
Reminiscent of the 1998 movie The Truman Show, in which millions of viewers tuned in to a television program to watch the adventures of Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey, the Google Glass app lets viewers anywhere see what the Livelens-equipped Glass-wearer sees, in real time, and cash in on it. Users of any of the Livelens versions can set a price up to $9.99. Potential viewers can watch the first ten seconds of the video for free to decide if they are interested. In addition, the app provides a “tip” function for free videos. Viewers who want to pay or tip just click a button, and their App Store or Google Play account is charged.
The Google Glass app, said Bluvand, will “provide a fascinating experience for broadcasting your life. We’re excited to expand into the growing sector of wearables.
“Giving anyone the ability to easily share their moments in real time will also present the opportunity to create planned events where anyone can charge to view unique, behind-the-scene type content,” he added.
Perhaps even more unique than providing a monetization component for live video is the fact that Livelens recruited Thamsanqua Jantjie as its celebrity spokesperson. Jantjie was outed as a fraud last December as he made meaningless gestures during a speech by President Obama during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, instead of presenting the sign language translation of the speech he was supposed to deliver. Why Jantie? “We needed something surprising,” Sefi Shaked of Livelens told the New York Daily News in an interview. “We wanted to choose a presenter who is the worst presenter for a live app possible; you know, the person who did the worst screw-up on live TV, ever.”
Click below for a video of Thamsanqua Jantjie promoting Livelens: