Nico Nico brings the chattering masses to TV

December 1st, 2009 by Felicity Hughes

Nico Nico Commentary

Nico Nico Commentary

Niwango, the company behind Nico Nico Douga, the hugely popular video site that displays user comments on the videos themselves, keeps rolling on. On Nov. 28 the company launched a service called Nico Nico Jikyou (translated as Nico Nico Commentary) that allows viewers to comment and view other users’ comments on TV content in real time.

At the moment it only works when you are viewing digital broadcasts on a PC, but soon, if you happen to own a ROBRO-TV, a new broadband TV manufactured by Doshisha Co. Ltd., Orion Electric Co. Ltd. and Kadenza Co., Ltd., you’ll be able to view the peanut gallery’s opinions from your couch.

The Nico Nico Jikyou service is currently being applied to nine channels in the Kanto region. It’s also possible to use the service from your mobile phone as well as from your PC.

A quick sampling of the Nico Nico Jikyou comments included one woman’s disgust with the new dark look of a pop star, praise for the music on a commercial and someone criticizing Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama for allegedly taking bribes.

We have to wonder what TV networks and their ad clients will have to say about this new visual feedback. Most likely as it grows in popularity, it will become difficult to ignore.

Naturally,  the ability to create raw, unedited video feeds coupled with chatty interaction comes with ill side effects. On Nov. 28, Asiajin.com reported on the alleged suicide of a 24-year-old Japanese woman. The aftermath of her jump from a 4th-floor apartment was streamed on Stickam Japan, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based live video-sharing site, and the boards at 2Channel were buzzing with commentary shortly after.

Nico Nico Live also come under the spotlight last week when a girl broadcast what seemed to be footage of her suicide. It later was revealed that the wrist-slashing and the blood were all fake.

For better or for worse, with the advent of live video and a very vocal audience, increasingly powerful tools are within reach of attention seekers.

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