[Case Study] Livestreaming Executive Interviews with CXOTALK

Streaming Live With The Most Innovative Minds In Enterprise

Michael Krigsman’s list of interviewees for his live show, CXOTALK, is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the hottest, most innovative leaders in technology. “The show is based around the guests,” says Krigsman. “They are shaping the future as top executives in the world and they all spend time to help make their episode really great.” Since Krigsman began livestreaming executive interviews, he’s broadcast over 225 shows with executives like Box CEO Aaron Levie, General Electric CMO Linda Boff, Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, and Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty.

“Streaming live creates its own energy,” says Krigsman. “There is an excitement that happens during live interaction that is almost impossible to replicate otherwise. The dynamic of live guests interacting with a real audience on Twitter is just magic. To be honest, I get nervous before every show, and I’ve done hundreds of live events, but that energy and tension create something special.”

The show evolved from Krigsman’s job as an enterprise software industry analyst specializing in how organizations can innovate with enterprise technology. “I was meeting lots of interesting people building companies and thought: These are people shaping the future. Wouldn’t it be interesting to talk with them and interview them?” Krigsman tells Livestream. “I had this idea for CXOTALK and just started it as a labor of love.” He decided he’d reach out to his cadre of tech high-rollers and start livestreaming executive interviews.

Michael Krigsman

Finding The Right Workflow

When he started the show, Krigsman was using Google Hangouts to host and record these interviews. “In theory Google Hangouts should be great, but in practice there were too many bugs and problems,” he says. “If you need help with anything you’re dealing with Google which means there is no help.”

Since he works with such high-profile guests, the interviews are booked months in advance. “There’s no margin for error,” says Krigsman, “and we had too many instances where the video would cut off and we couldn’t do the show.” After doing some research, Krigsman discovered Livestream, choosing the platform for its reliability, features, ease-of-use, and price point.

“It’s very clear that livestreaming is increasingly important,” says Krigsman, who has become an evangelist for the platform, which sponsors the show. “If you’re going for a larger audience you need some kind of differentiation. We create high-quality video and put a lot of effort into that. That’s why we use Livestream.”

Krigsman taught himself live video production and does the show himself from his office. He uses Livestream Studio software, a Sony A7R2 camera, a professional quality microphone and an RME Babyface USB interface. He runs the software on a “fast computer” and lights his workspace with LEDs from B&H.

“It’s not a huge investment,” Krigsman says. “The thing to remember is using Livestream Studio you’re replacing a production studio and technicians. I do it myself. Frankly, it’s amazing what modern technology allows you to do.”

Distributing Where Your Audience Lives

Since Livestream launched the Simulcast feature, Krigsman has been streaming to his website as well as Facebook to expand his reach and audience. “Facebook Live is not a video creation tool, it’s a distribution tool,” he says. “If you have a sophisticated platform like Livestream with good quality microphones and a camera, you can create a high-quality video stream and push that to Facebook as live video.”

Krigsman stresses that as a video producer, you have to know where your audience lives. Despite the engagement on Facebook, he finds it’s crucial to experiment with distribution. “From a publisher standpoint there’s a major issue with Facebook,” he says, noting the brand’s famous algorithm changes. “With video content, views on your site is important but engagement really matters. We use Facebook as one important tool in our arsenal.” Krigsman says he takes this reach-first approach, distributing the video broadly.

“When you have different channels available, you have no choice but to go where the users are,” says Krigsman. “That’s why publishers grumble about Facebook, but they’re still using it – because viewers are there. That said, you also need to have a home base where you’re storing your video.”

To make sure as many people see CXOTALK as possible, Krigsman employs a few strategies. Livestream helps promote each episode, featuring it on the “Watch” page as well as on social. “That promotion is hugely beneficial from a viewership standpoint,” he notes. “However, It’s not just the number of views, but the engagement,” said Krigsman. “On the CXOTALK site we get 20 minutes per viewer.”

Krigsman also promotes CXOTALK across social channels and writes a summary blog post on ZDNet for most episodes. When the production is complete, he reaches out to journalists who might be interested in covering the conversation and embedding the video.

Livestreaming Executive Interviews

The CXOTALK format is simple: “The show is about innovation and digital disruption and I choose the guests by trying to find senior executives from the largest and most well-known companies in the world. But they must also have an interesting story to tell around the impact of technology on business and society.” Krigsman sends his guests guidelines and discussion topics to prepare for the show – including the equipment they’ll need and how to test their connection.

“We’re fanatical about quality,” Krigsman says. “I’m not a journalist, I’m an industry analyst. I’m not interested in the latest news, but in their thinking on the industry and the dynamics shaping their company and its future.”

In the end, the discussion provides structure for the conversation, but you need to allow room for spontaneity as well. “You have to follow what’s natural for the interviewee,” says Krigsman of his format. “That’s how to create an interview that goes by very fast. When that happens, I know it’s successful.”

You can watch episodes of CXOTALK here.