Has Live Streaming Reached The Top Of Its Game?

Live streaming reached new heights in 2016, but has it reached the top of its game? With the release of Instagram’s live video, publishers now have a new way of sharing, which may present new opportunities for the platform.

In the past year, large events like the US presidential campaigns increased the number of viewers on live streaming platforms to numbers that have never been seen before. This has prompted many brands to begin experimenting with the new media as they try to find new ways to engage with their audiences.

However, the growth of live streaming may not stop there. Twitter has announced that it will begin to integrate a new feature in 2017 that will make live streaming even easier for users. This will signal a greater meshing of Periscope into the already hugely popular social media structure. Some platforms are also rumored to begin supporting 360° live streaming video. In a report released by MarketsandMarkets, it is expected that the live video streaming market will expand from 30$ billion in 2016 to more than double at 70$ billion in 2021.

Over the past year, the methods and applications of live video streaming has evolved drastically. Last April, Facebook Live has become available to the average user, which has caused a huge spike in the number of users broadcasting at any given time. According to the company, the amount of users live video streaming has nearly quadrupled since its release. Live video streams also create 10 times the amount of user engagement in comparison to other regular videos.

In addition, Facebook's integrated platform and built-in user base has been drawing a lot of attention from big brands. This has spurred a ton of creativity and innovation in the way that brands use live streaming to connect with their audiences. The top UK live video streaming by a brand this year featured moments such as giveaway prizes, scavenger hunts, fitness classes and other engagement tactics that are new to the platform. Some brands such as Carl’s Jr. even began to play with live ads featured on platforms like Twitch.

In almost every platform, live streaming is becoming increasingly more innovative and complex. Brands like E! News hosted live-stream shows that are extremely similar to their traditional televised formats. They have also begun to produce sponsored events that are demonstrating an effective way of monetizing the platform. Recently, a live stream of a Tough Mudder competition that used multiple camera perspectives and even drone footage garnered nearly one million viewers.

However, consumers still have an appetite for content that is real and free from the curating hands of producers and publishers. For example, Chewbacca Mom was the most popular live stream of 2016, which featured a totally un-staged stream that blew up in a big way. 

With Facebook Live and Instagram Live gathering speed, there could be a lot of potential for brands to find ways to hook consumers with live raw content, but they will need to figure out how to integrate sponsorship in a natural manner first.