Qik rival Bambuser partners with Finnish public broadcaster

bambuser[Sweden] Bambuser, the Stockholm-based videocasting service that rivals the likes of Silicon Valley’s Qik, has announced a partnership with Finland’s YLE. The public service broadcaster represents Bambuser’s first major customer in 2010 and the company is hoping it will lead to other major media companies adopting its platform.

YLE, which has never been shy of experimenting with social media, wants to better understand how its audience are using consumer-facing services such as Bambuser to break the ‘monopoly’ of traditional media, and to connect with viewers in new ways. The broadcaster is running a pilot in which several teams of journalists will be using the mobile video streaming service as a way to “document everyday work life” as well as to file live reports.

“We think it is important that we know how to use the tools that are available to consumers. In that way we my also understand how people might best share their videos and stories with us and the rest of the world”, says Tuija Aalto, Head of New Media Development at YLE.

The service, which enables live video streaming from a PC or mobile phone (Symbian, Android and iPhone), is free to use for personal use and by not-for-profits but charges for commercial use.

Along with Qik, Bambuser also competes with Tel-Aviv, Israel-based Flixwagon and San Francisco’s Kyte. Bambuser, however, claims that it has lower latency compared to its competitors.

So as to keep the video stream as real-time as possible, the Bambuser mobile app drops frames dynamically, while at the same time storing a full frame-rate version locally on the handset. Any dropped frames or audio that can’t get through during the live broadcast are uploaded immediately afterwards for archived viewing. Although, as we’ve noted in the past, comparing like for like is nearly impossible given the flaky nature of 3G networks.

That said, whatever Bambuser’s technical merits, it certainly doesn’t have the mindshare of Qik. Or the distribution for the matter – Qik recently began being bundled on select Nokia handsets.