The Facebook page of TLCme went live starting Friday at 4:21 a.m. ET showing the mother, Rossio, in the late stages of labor at the family’s home in Virginia before giving birth about an hour later with the help of her husband and midwife. The videos, posted in two parts (here and here), had been viewed by nearly 50,000 Facebook users within the first 11 hours. The live videos carried a warning that the content was potentially graphic.
TLC’s stunt comes after a man in California last month said he inadvertently began publicly broadcasting his partner’s childbirth on Facebook, and then let it remain public after it went viral.
The TLC event, “A Baby Story Live,” was billed as a reprise of the cabler’s “A Baby Story,” a docu-series following expecting mothers through their final weeks of pregnancy that debuted on the cable channel and Discovery in the late ’90s. TLC said it expects to broadcast another live birth in the next few days, of 32-year-old Angela, who is due June 27.
If nothing else, TLC deserves credit for using a relatively new platform like Facebook Live to experiment with new forms of programming, even though the bulk of the broadcast seemed to consist of a lot of standing around and waiting. TLC and Discovery Life plan to air short-form versions of both births on their linear channels next week.
Separately Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg streamed his live chat with President Barack Obama after both appeared on a panel discussion at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University.
That came after Facebook Thursday touted its role in delivering more than 3 million video streams from Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives as they stages a 25-hour sit-in trying to force a debate over gun-control bills.
Facebook Live, as with other live-video services and social media in general, has hosted some disturbing events. Those have included a suspected terrorist using it to broadcast a deadly kidnapping near Paris, and a Chicago man shot dead while live-streaming on Facebook.