by Pam Greenberg
TVW, the C-SPAN of Washington state, just announced a new application that allows iPhone users to watch live television streams and live and archived TVW webcasts and produced programs. Simply visit www.tvw.org with an iPhone browser and the website will automatically be optimized for the iPhone. The iPhone application is TVW’s latest effort to make the site more accessible to more citizens through multiple platforms, says Greg Lane, TVW’s President.
TVW is in tune with a growing trend--people increasingly are using smart phones to access the Internet. Thirty-two percent of respondents to a November and December 2009 Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project survey said they use their cell phone or Blackberry or other device to access the Internet. That compares to 19 percent in December 2007. In an April 2009 Pew Internet report, 46 percent of respondents said that mobile access is very important to them for getting online information on the go.
TVW has been a pioneer in providing other applications, such as its embedding feature, which lets website owners embed a TVW video or audio event on another website in its entirety while TVW’s servers stream the content. A segment of a recorded TVW event also can be highlighted with a specific start and stop time, but viewers have access to the full video clip, so information is not taken out of context.
Of course, some legislatures have videos on YouTube or YouTube channels (listed here) that can be viewed on mobile devices, and some states are optimizing other kinds of legislative content for handhelds. Kentucky provides an iPhone friendly site, and other legislative sites are optimized for the BlackBerry or other devices, including the Pennsylvania House Democrats’ website, and websites for the Texas Legislature, the South Carolina Legislature and the Washington Legislature.