Quantcast
return Home

Live video is a category to watch

We’re about to witness a renaissance in live internet video thanks to a convergence of factors, both technological and social. Although live video streaming has been possible for almost 20 years, early live content was largely limited to broadcasting sporting events, where much of the fun is seeing the action as it unfolds.

For most other content, on-demand was a more suitable model, and viewing recorded programming was a familiar consumption model based on the precedent of TV content (other than news and sports). The latency imposed by bandwidth and processor limitations and the tethered nature of internet access, tended to steer content providers towards on-demand.

So what’s changed? In 2016 where mobile internet devices abound, most of us have a camera with us at all times (in our phones), and 4G networks are able to deliver real time video that’s good enough for people to want to watch. Beyond the technical evolution, the way we communicate has fundamentally changed. User generated content and social media have led to new attitudes about the role of real time information and experiences.

Who’s who in live streaming video apps

The release of the Meerkat live streaming video app in early 2015 drew a lot of tech media attention to the live streaming category. The app made it simple to broadcast live video from your smartphone to your Twitter followers. AdWeek credited Meerkat with making ‘the biggest splash in years’ at South by Southwest. Yet, its day in the sun was short-lived. Weeks after Meerkat’s launch, Twitter hobbled the upstart app by severing access to Twitter’s social graph (i.e., Meerkat uses couldn’t automatically connect to people they already followed on Twitter). Almost simultaneously, Twitter finalised the acquisition of Meerkat competitor Periscope.

Live video on smartphones ()

Periscope, like Meerkat, is a social media app that makes it easy to broadcast your life to your Twitter followers. However, it adds the useful option of saving streams to replay them later. Periscope has been integrated so deeply with Twitter that you don’t have to open or even have the app to view Periscope videos from within a Twitter feed. Viewers with the app can tap their screen to ‘like’ the content, which places heart icons along the edge of the video stream.

On Twitter’s February 2016 earnings call, CEO Jack Dorsey attested to the central role of live content by asserting, ‘Twitter is live: live commentary, live conversations, and live connections.’

Meanwhile, Facebook is rallying around their own live streaming solution, with the not-so-inspired name Live. Facebook Live was originally introduced in 2010 as a channel for Facebook staff and celebrities to post videos. It took until this year for Facebook to enable all users to share live video on the social media platform. During a February Townhall Q&A in Berlin, Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘live video is one of the things I am most excited about because it’s so raw and so visceral,’ and he’s backing up that statement by marshalling internal resources for the Live development team. Early reviews suggest the service will require additional development to satisfy consumers. According to The New York Times, ‘[Facebook] Live is about interruption — sometimes annoying, sometimes welcome, always attention grabbing.’

It probably won’t be a surprise that YouTube owner Google has plans of its own in the live streaming space. According to N4BB, YouTube Connect is Google’s response to Facebook Live and Twitter Periscope. Early reports suggest that streams will be available in a standalone app as well as on YouTube. It’s not yet known if the new app will offer integration with popular social media platforms.

Live video isn’t just for streaming millennials 

The implications for live video reach much farther than millennials who want to share details of their daily routines. Brands and publishers are experimenting with live video too. They already know that video advertising is far more engaging that standard ads (Millennial Media measured mobile video as five times more engaging). But, there isn’t consensus on the return on investment for developing live video content. While social media live video can be produced at little or no cost, commercial content that mirrors the production quality of TV programming can be pricey.

Forbes Tech contributor Steven Rosenbaum, who participated in an expert panel at CES on the future of video observed, ‘One thing that was clear was live streaming is going to be controlled by brands and be high-quality, or controlled by individuals and be about community, or maybe both.’  The reality is the future of live video is up for grabs. How it evolves will partially be shaped by the business models around who’s willing to pay for it and what content audiences want to consume.

A new live streaming capture device is about to ship which was designed to make professional quality live content creation more affordable. The Movi camera is hoping to do for live events what GoPro did for extreme-sport videography. The makers claim the $399 device (only $299 for those who preorder) will enable professional quality video to be editing from an iPhone.

Live video with speakers ()

As a sobering epilogue, Meerkat, briefly the darling of the live streaming category, recently announced plans to seek a new business model. Competing with the likes of Twitter Periscope and Facebook Live was proving to be an un-winnable battle. Maybe the live streaming business isn’t for the faint of heart (or undercapitalised), but for some it’s going to be huge. Internet infrastructure provider Cisco predicts mobile video will increase 1000 per cent from 2015 to 2020, when three-quarters of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Who the winners in live streaming will be hasn’t been determined but, one thing is for sure, this revolution will be televised.

Live video chart ()

More like this

Using video, images and more to make the most of the mobile, social, visual web

Quartz editor-in-chief on engaging advertising, videos and charts

Video the “superhero” of content, says Hearst exec

  • Building the future of journalism: analyse, atomise, amplify, archive

    Content is a collection of data, an array of information and a bundle of details. As such content is flexible, it does not care on which platform it’s published or when it’s shared across social media and certainly content does not prefer one reader over the other.

    15th Mar 2017 Opinion
  • How to develop your chatbot strategy

    If you have Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant, then you probably start your morning with a conversation with a chatbot. Because let’s admit it: chatbots are already everywhere. On the one hand, we love to hate them because they are, well, not human. On the other, we love to love them because they create an interactive and personalised experience. Brands have been quick to adopt this technology. Too many media companies lag behind experimenting in this field.

    16th Mar 2017 Insight News
  • Video strategies for a visual world - with AJ+ and AwesomenessTV Unsurprisingly, a hot topic for many of the speakers at this year’s Digital Innovators’ Summit is audience engagement via video. On day one of the conference, Alan Saura, audience development strategist at AJ+, focused his talk on how to maximise audience engagement using video and social media. Meanwhile, chief digital officer at AwesomenessTV, Kelly Day, explained how the company harnesses the unique attributes of Generation-Z (those aged between two and 21 at present) to create content that really speaks to this young but powerful audience. 20th Mar 2017 MagWorld
  • John Wilpers showcases top trends included in new FIPP Innovation World Report Messaging apps and chatbots are two of the main developments media should be paying a lot more attention to than is already the case, John Wilpers, Innovation Media Consulting senior US director and author of FIPP’s annual Innovation World Report, said at Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin today as he shared top media innovations from around the world. 20th Mar 2017 MagWorld
  • Platforms as mass media, magazine media as niche and ‘why you should not outsource your future’ Published content drives daily news consumption and engagement on platforms all over the world. They (platforms) have become the new mass media. Magazine media are now in the niche media business, according to Grzegorz (Greg) Piechota, research associate at Harvard Business School and 2016 Nieman Fellow, presenting at Digital Innovators’ Summit yesterday in Berlin. 21st Mar 2017 MagWorld

SUBSCRIBE

FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the world

FIND OUT MORE

SHARE YOUR NEWS

Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovations

FIND OUT MORE

Upcoming @ FIPP

What’s happening now, what’s coming next

Go to Full Site