AUSTIN, TX: General Electric, the conglomerate, has successfully demonstrated how livestreaming can offer a unique view on the most unlikely of subjects, with its "Drone Week" campaign securing significant consumer engagement.

Sam Olstein, GE's Global Director of Innovation, discussed this topic at MediaPost's OMMA conference held during South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016.

More specifically, he reported that the company utilised camera-equipped drones to broadcast real-time footage from five GE factories across America via Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming tool.

This effort attracted 20,000 viewers on Periscope – an audience registering a 15% engagement rate. Follow-up content then yielded 2.6m video views on Facebook. And, overall, Drone Week logged 45m free media impressions.

"Each day, we brought viewers an inside look at our facilities and our experts from places like Peebles, Ohio, where we test all of our jet engines before they're shipped out to airlines," said Olstein. (For more, including further campaign details, read Warc's exclusive report: Drone Week: How blue-sky thinking led GE to livestreaming.)

Although drones and livestreaming remain highly nascent parts of the marketing playbook, Olstein suggested that much of the campaign's underlying logic came from a flagship series aired on the Discovery Channel.

"What we tried to do in thinking about this is … take some cues from other forms of traditional media," he said. "And so we tried to take a cue from that, and build this as GE's version of 'Shark Week'," he asserted.

"We treated every day as its own episode. We went live a few different times throughout the day with Q&A sessions [and] with a few different flights.

"And we roped in in-house experts and some of our young talent – interns who were spending their summers at each of these sites to serve as narrators and cue up the intro and outro of each day."

Given the success of this program, Drone Week will be returning in mid-2016, this time located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"We're going to give people a sneak peak at how GE is helping the city build and prepare the infrastructure … leading up to the Olympics," Olstein reported.

Data sourced from Warc