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Why does Apple avoid keynote live streams? A PR masterstroke.

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 12th September 2012

In 2010, Apple live streamed two keynote events.

Many felt (and hoped) this would signal a change in the company’s approach to live coverage of its infamous product launches.

But no, when the iPad 2 was launched in March 2011, the option had disappeared.

Don’t give ’em what they want

I’ve often been frustrated by the lack of a live stream. Some have suggested the live stream was pulled because of concerns over the appearance of an increasingly ill Steve Jobs. But I think the absence of a live stream for Apple keynotes is part of a master PR plan that helps the company create buzz (if anymore were needed) around these events.

Creating buzz is something that Apple excels at. Whether it is leaking certain details ahead of time or even taking the Apple website down in advance of a new announcement, everything is geared to getting as much buzz as possible.

And it works. Even when the product announced is disappointing, the sheer amount of media coverage that Apple achieves – good and bad – will ensure there are queues stretching out from Apple stores on launch day.

The lack of a live stream is just another part of this media savvy jigsaw puzzle. As a tech PR, I know better than most the importance of third party validation. Forcing us all to pop over to Engadget and Gizmodo to see their euphoria surrounding the latest shiny revelation is a lot more effective in building positivity around products.

Keep ’em hungry

The lack of live stream action is also another example of the power that Apple likes to wield over the media. By ensuring the only people that can publish real-time updates are those that are physically in the room, Apple can add or remove journalists it does or doesn’t favour. Bash the company and your access to keynotes (read: eyeballs) is massively impacted.

Secrecy is important for Apple. It creates intrigue and mystique. Of course products still matter and it is because of the revolutionary nature of its products that Apple fanboys ever appeared in the first place. But, from a PR standpoint, Apple perfectly stage manages the whole process to ensure as much noise as possible is achieved.

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