The proliferation of smartphones with high-definition cameras means that when a newsworthy event happens, ordinary people are usually the first to capture it on video.
Comcast‘s (CMCSA) NBC News is hoping to get a jumpstart on airing those videos by purchasing Stringwire, a web startup that allows users to post photos and videos taken by amateurs as events unfold. Vivian Schiller, the company’s chief digital officer, says the acquisition will allow NBC to broadcast footage taken from smartphones at major events like the recent political protests in Egypt, the New York Times notes.
Using amateur video would allow NBC News to obtain quick coverage in areas where it doesn’t have professionals journalists on the ground. Getting professionals to the scene of an event — especially in remote areas — can take hours or days.
With its acquisition, NBC is acquiring both Stringwire’s technology and its principal, Phil Groman. The move signals that traditional media organizations like NBC are moving to adapt technology in a way similar to startup acquisitions by tech giants like Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL), which often acquire startups just to bring their founders on board.
Last week, the Republican National Committee threatened to cut NBC and CNN out of the GOP primaries in 2016 if they proceed with plans to produce movies about Hillary Clinton, who is expected to seek the Democratic nomination during the upcoming presidential campaign.
Shares of Comcast slipped slightly in Monday morning trading.