On the Future of Live Streaming: Business and Marketing Perspective

Live streaming is not a new concept. It dates back to the appearance of webcams in the 2000s. However, only in 2016 it has become the major trend catching fire on social media marketing and attracting attention of brands. In fact, the growth of live streaming has revitalized traditional entertainment such as live sporting events, breaking news broadcast, awards shows, etc. – events that bring viewers from all parts of the world together. Nowadays, with availability of smartphones, tablets and laptops, people can watch almost any show on-the-go as well as going live whenever they want without having a special equipment and tech knowledge. Live streaming continues to soar spreading in all the spheres of our life. Just take a look at the NASA live stream where you can watch Earth from the space station 24/7. Live streaming provides you with abilities that are potentially beyond simply recording content. Looking ahead, it won’t be surprising to watch hotel’s live stream of the resort tour providing an exclusive look at your property, beach and other commodities; enjoying live concerts of favorite bands; getting live reports on current world events broadcasted from different angels simultaneously. The described actions don’t seem a fiction anymore, do they? The rally of big investors chasing for a tidbit in the streaming world just reflect the trend. For instance, in 2014, Facebook made a huge investment in virtual reality technology named Oculus which enables streaming 360 footage and provides more sense of reality to the viewers. Not coincidentally, in the same 2014, Amazon purchased Twitch, one of the biggest and most successful streaming platforms. Virtual reality is just around the corner, and if the things continue that way, the world will genuinely change soon.

How Does Live Streaming Impact the Market?

It is difficult to predict how much of the market live streaming will capture in the future, but it will definitely influence strategic business models for brands and marketers as well as attract additional investments. According to GroupM 2016 Report, 31% of Internet users stream music on a weekly basis, 33% of respondents stream TV and movie content at least 1-2 times per week. Rounding up, about 47% of people are live streaming some type of content on the weekly basis which means that we are reaching the point when streamers will become the majority of online population. In fact, the shift to live streaming as a leading technology has already happened in the USA, Sweden and other IT-developed countries. For the rest of the world, it is just a question of time.

Below we give you some interesting facts showing how live streaming has swayed the minds of people:

Below we present 3 main reasons why live-streaming is a trend to follow for investors and entrepreneurs:

#1. Smartphones Make Live Streaming More Accessible

According to Global Mobile Economy Report, in 2016 mobile devices comprised 60% of all broadband connections. Increasing availability of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices stimulates the development of data-driven and live-streaming applications and services. The emergence of popular apps Meerkat (2015) spurred the birth of new live-streaming applications – Periscope, Facebook Live, Blab. 60% of music streaming is made via mobile while 40% of TV and movie streamers also prefer streaming on mobile” The future of smartphones alongside with live streaming is very promising, as the market for new apps and mobile hardware is wide open. Developers will continue to work on the creation of new hardware that can save the battery longer, provide devices with high-quality cameras, etc. Moreover, if refer to the same Report, smartphones and tablets generate 37 times more data traffic than feature phones. The development of 4G and appearance of stronger and faster networks allow users to live stream in a high quality at prime time from almost any place they want. Live-steaming app developers are constantly working on realizing the perfect app that combines minimum data and optimal performance. All these steps will enable the future growth of live streaming.

#2. Social Media Become More Stream-Oriented

If 2014 was the year of social media marketing, 2016 was the year of live streaming. You have probably noticed that almost all social networks one by one launched live-streaming features. Thanks to Snapchat and Facebook Live, live streaming has become an essential strategy changer for social media marketers. Live streaming is no longer limited to only sports, games and entertainment. It has become a part of daily activity of ordinary users: people record their everyday life, share experiences and opinions. Live streaming also helps brands to raise awareness and engage more audience. Even small businesses can leverage their profit from live streaming by making simple sale previews and sneak peeks. Moreover, live streams via social networks can be beneficial for advertisers. For example, when you go live on Facebook, viewers don’t see any ads. But once your stream is over, it will be saved and shown on your page with an ad roll. As almost everyone is already using social media, you stream is guaranteed to be discovered by your subscribers, friends and followers.

#3. Live Streaming Offers New Opportunities for Advertisers

Live streaming provides marketers with new opportunities to reach the massive audience. With TV and movie streaming, advertising is more difficult as the majority of permanent viewers prefer paying for ad-free subscriptions. However, with music and game streaming things are different. Top music streaming platforms – Pandora, Spotify, YouTube – give a completely free service, supported by ads. Though, they do offer paid subscription, it is not very popular among users. Advertisers can take advantage of the moment when media consumption is growing, especially on mobile. New media realities allow advertisers to better understand their audience with the help of contextual targeting. In the nearest future the famous phrase “content is a king” will be replaced by a new motto “context is a king.”  With live streaming, it is possible not only gather geographical and demographic data, but also know what users are doing at the moment, how they are feeling at the moment. Summing up, it is easy to see why advertisers consider lives streaming as a powerful tool:
  • Streaming adds a human element to marketing
  • It is more natural way of communication with audience
  • Streaming provides you with real-time feedbacks
  • It facilitates communication directly from product experts (tutorials, product launches and behind-the-scene streaming)
While live streaming is still in its early stages, brands are already leveraging micropayments, mid-roll ads and direct payments from social platforms, to monetize their live streaming videos.

Take Away

Live streaming brings us one important thing – accessibility. It gives the average online user a possibility to easily broadcast their lives and watch other people’s streams in a matter of seconds. Moreover, live streaming increases the overall time users watch digital video providing unprecedented opportunities for businesses and marketers. In spite of over saturation of big-name players in live streaming, the industry is only going to grow leaving enough space for innovations and technological improvements. With on-the-go technologies and growth of streaming population, we can better understand people behind the devices. These realities will allow brands and marketers to provide curated and meaningful content as well as more effective advertising experience. Whether you are an investor looking for new opportunities or an independent businessman seeking new ways of promotion, live streaming should become your focus.