Kyle Kittleson uses livestreaming in a very unique way. Kittleson’s efforts, delivered over a variety of platforms, have transformed more than 1,000 dogs with positive reinforcement training. He’s also developed a strong passion for marine mammals, an interest important to him since the age of 6, and he has worked across the U.S. in the fields of animal care, rescue, rehabilitation and training. His interests and aptitude have led him to work with exotic birds, penguins, harbor seals, Hawaiian monk seals, California sea lions and more. Small Business Trends interviewed Kittleson via telephone for his thoughts on the latest trends in live programs and what resonates with viewers in the livestreaming world. He also talks about monetization in regards to Busker, an up and coming livestreaming app that also includes a tipping function.
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Small Business Trends: How many live streaming platforms do you use? Do you treat them differently?
Kyle Kittleson: I use three platforms: Facebook Live, Periscope and Busker. On my Facebook Live, I’ll always deliver high-value informational content, never just chat. Periscope and Busker can be the chatty ones. Let me say I think highly of Busker and the people who created it. While it’s nice to be on the receiving end of Busker tipping, it’s not a priority for me. I didn’t open a Busker account to get tipped. I’m more interested in making connections with viewers and creating relationships.
Small Business Trends: Let’s talk more about Busker tipping, because it seems like an answer to Periscope’s absence of a monetization function.
Kyle Kittleson: When I first heard about Busker, I wondered why any viewer would tip. One day I was in Mary Desmond’s broadcast and I asked her to play a Britney Spears song, and she did. I tipped her and then it made total sense. I give tips in real life, to a piano player for example, so what’s the difference? Not much. It’s a great feature of Busker. I teared up during my first Busker broadcast because of the support I received. It was just me introducing myself, but many of the viewers were already watching me on Periscope for a year.
Dog training advice was what I initially thought would generate the most Busker tips. But I’ve noticed when I’m just doing a broadcast about me, or walking my dog Callie or just hanging out with her, I get more tips. I don’t know the reason, but I think it’s because for the people who are following me — nicknamed the #KittleFam — it’s the first time in a year they’ve been able to communicate in a way that was more than a tweet or an email. Tipping was something they could do instantly to show appreciation, and not just for specific broadcasts I was doing.
They were showing appreciation that I was even on livestreaming to begin with. So it’s not about getting a dollar, it’s the fact that somebody would think enough of me to show their support.
Small Business Trends: Can you give us a preview of what content you might bring to Busker? I’ve seen you give animal behavior tips and you do street interviews, but what else?
Kyle Kittleson: “Closet Confessions” is my most popular Periscope show, and I might bring it to Busker so it can reach a brand new set of people. Busker’s quality is better than Periscope, but my following is larger on Periscope. But most importantly, I’ll be where the #KittleFam wants to watch me. If they say they want to watch me on Periscope, I’ll be on Periscope. It’s more up to them than it is up to me. At first, the Periscope #KittleFam weren’t too happy with the thought of me shifting anything to Busker, mainly because it wasn’t available on Android at the time. But Busker is on Android now.
Small Business Trends: I’ve heard people say it’s exhausting and difficult to create a live streaming show that gets a lot of viewers, so congrats. How popular is popular?
Kyle Kittleson: I get emails from people saying they have to record “Scandal” because they’d rather be part of “Closet Confessions” live on Thursday nights. The show really resonates with people. It’s a perfect use of live streaming. It allows people the chance to share and confess something that’s bothering them in a supportive environment. While it’s live, people connect to each other too, which is rare on social media. Revealing personal secrets on social media isn’t always safe because social media has an evil and horrible side, but “Closet Confessions” is a safe haven for thousands of people every week.
Nine or ten months ago, I found myself broadcasting from my closet, and that’s how the show idea started. The next day was the show’s first episode and 1,500 people tuned in. Since then, I’ve had guests on it like Sonequa Martin-Green from the hit show “The Walking Dead” as well as live streamers. It’s become a community. Nobody is above having something to confess. Participating can result in major life-changing decisions. And I mean things like rehab, divorce, taking information to the LAPD.
Small Business Trends: When can people watch it? How can people reach you directly?
Kyle Kittleson: “Closet Confessions” is every Thursday at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Let me add, the show has nothing to do with me. It’s all about the viewers — they are the show. I just moderate it. I’ve spent years studying animal behavior and there’s not a lot of difference between animal behavior and human behavior. “Closet Confessions” is powerful, but it’s not for the weary. My background lets me view human behavior in a unique way, which is helpful for moderating the show because it’s all live and it’s as real as it gets. What’s known as “reality TV” isn’t real. But real people making real confessions, that’s real. You can send me a direct message on Twitter or Facebook, or email me at [email protected]
Image credit: Robin Roemer; Pictured: Kyle Kittleson, Callie The Lab
This is part of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world.More in: Livestreamed Livelihoods