Here’s Exactly Why Everyone Is Into Live Streaming

November 6, 2016

2:30 pm

In 1980, CNN launched. Founded by the Ted Turner Network, it was the first all-news TV station in America. Because it became a 24-hour network, it was the very first live streaming phenomenon in the U.S. Of course, live streaming is all over television these days – other news channels, sporting events, reality shows, and more.

It took a much longer time, and some major advances in technology, however, to make live streaming possible for everyday users to participate. Now, however, almost anyone with a smartphone can live stream an event and send it to their following, something that Pay-Per-View cable TV networks are certainly unhappy about. Nevertheless, it’s here, and it will impact how consumers access news, entertainment, and even product/service information from now on.

The Year of Live Streaming

Video became the most popular form of online content by 2015, with over 200 million viewers of video content in the U.S. alone. While most viewed movie trailers, music videos, and other humorous items, video became a common feature of content marketing campaigns too.

We are now saturated with videos, and the next “eye candy” has become live-streaming as a way to capture an audience. Couple this with the continued decline of TV viewing and a marriage between people and their devices, and there is the “perfect storm” for live-streaming.

A recently published report of from Business Insider provided the following data:

  • Streaming video is currently 66% of Internet traffic and it is forecasted to grow to 82% by 2020.
  • Live-streaming will reach far beyond concerts, events, and news into marketing, with product launches, business-sponsored events, behind-the scenes footage, etc.
  • While live-streaming is in its early stages in 2016, marketers and advertisers will have spent far more on video than the $7.8 billion in 2015, and live streaming will be a chunk of that spending in 2016.
  • Given the timeline of live-stream launches and announcements, it is clear that this growing phenomenon will continue:


The 2016 Elections

In years’ past, political junkies were glued to their TV sets on election night. They watched live while broadcasters delivered the returns, state by state, until finally a winner was declared. This year, not so much.

Instead, they will meet up with their friends, access CNN Live and watch as much as they wish from wherever they wish as cable news are still deemed to be the most helpful news source by 24% of consumers.

Live-Streaming as a Marketing Tool

An e-book from Content Marketing Institute in 2015 predicted the rise of live-streaming for marketing, for the following reasons:

  • It’s accessible to everyone. No expensive equipment is necessary – just a phone with a solid web cam, a good microphone, and an Internet connection. Small businesses on limited budgets can easily compete. And consumers do not expect perfection with live-streaming – just great content.
  • There is versatility. Viewers can participate with comments during broadcasts; live interviews with influencers can include a “live” audience that can ask questions or provide great content of their own in real time. And depending on the medium, live-streams can be saved for periods of time, promoted, and even shared on other platforms.
  • Live-streaming builds trust between brands and their customers. It’s a much more engaging form of connecting with consumers, who get to see the people behind a brand and share an experience with them. This is far more personal than simply viewing social media posts and engaging in written conversations.
  • It allows consumers to participate in events (conferences, product launches, etc.) when they cannot be there in person. These events can be publicized far in advance, with regular reminders, and saved for those who missed the initial broadcast.

Getting Started

Live-streaming is by its very nature informal – after all, it’s happening in real-time. This doesn’t mean that it is dis-organized or haphazardly put together. It takes planning. Newbies should first access the live stream events of related niche brands and get ideas about how to make live streaming events entertaining, unique, and engaging. No one wants to be bored. Choose compelling titles, advertise the event often, and make sure that your “attendees” have plenty of opportunity to interact.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien