As viewing has transitioned from the stage to our homes, live entertainment is coming back bigger than ever as technology has become increasingly more mobile. Smartphones provide unparalleled connection to the outside world. We live in a society where everyone is constantly connected—how many times have you sprinted back in your house to find your phone after walking out the door without it?
The fact is, increased accessibility to smartphones has already revolutionized the way people consume media. With both Spotify and Apple Music offering libraries of over 30 million songs, users today are used to having on demand access to the content they want. While its full effects remain to be seen, live video is set to take the stage as the predominant visual media platform for users to consume entertainment.
Since its inception, video has remained the predominant entertainment source and information consumption method. Video is simple, visual, and requires no effort on the part of the viewer. The question becomes: what alterations would change the current scope of video entertainment?
The answer is to make it more social. According to Statista, there are currently 2.34 billion social media users across the world today. With a massive audience like this, it’s no surprise that social media giants began to incorporate video into their platforms with the hopes of massively increasing ad revenue. Facebook reports that in 2015, videos posted per person increased by 75%. That same report shows that 50% of daily users watch at least one video every day. While this does create a more social community surrounding the posting and reposting of videos, it does little to make the actual content more social.
The good news is that a more social form of traditional video already exists. DaCast affirms that live streaming content over the internet has been around since the early 1990s. Before going any further it’s probably best to clarify the confusion surrounding the term live streaming. There is a bit of confusion surrounding the true definition of “live” streaming.
Live streaming is typically used as a blanket statement to cover both streaming live video and prerecorded video. However, “live streaming” should only refer to an actual stream of something occurring live, while “on-demand streaming” refers to viewing of prerecorded content. While on-demand streaming is massive and has created an entirely new market for video viewing, live streaming materially changes both the production and consumption of video.
Live streaming video has two real opportunities and advantages over traditional media forms. As nearly all social media giants have begun implementing their own versions of live streaming services, broadcasting to your friends has become commonplace for casual users. This is one of the major opportunities for live video; by creating an extremely easy and seamless way for users to begin sharing live video with their friends, the ad space is exponentially increased. The effect of this is two fold: live video both increases the amount of people per ad and the amount of ads per person.
Live video already shows massive promise in both increasing the number of ads per person and the number of people per ad. Live video is more viral and keeps the attention of viewers longer. Facebook reports that users spend 3x the time watching live video than prerecorded video. Live video plays on the societal desire to constantly be current and in-the-know. By creating a temporary opportunity for users to view the content, viewers inherently feel like they are a part of something exclusive when watching a live stream. It is this constant knowing that the content is only temporary that drives such a strong engagement between user and live video.
According to eMarketer’s report on digital ad spending, TV ad spending will peak at $72.01 billion in 2017 while digital ad spending will raise to $77.37 billion. eMarketer also forecasts 2% less growth in TV than Q3 of 2015. As video media continues to grow in all facets, it’s clear that this decrease in growth indicates an increase in growth in a different discipline. For now, this increasing growth is headed for live video. The Motley Fool found that Facebook users comment 10 times more on live videos than regular videos. Live videos are a way for advertisers to reach a particularly engaged audience. By increasing audience engagement with the content they are watching, viewers will inherently be more engaged with the advertisements being displayed.
According to Google, we live in a world where 56% of digital ads are never seen by their intended audience. Live video provides a new opportunity for advertisers to reliably reach an engaged audience. That same report shows a current ad viewability of just 48.4% for the arts and entertainment industry, and live video is a massive way to increase that. Mid stream ads are a consistent way for advertisers to target specific audiences and get their ads seen.
SocialTimes reports that 65% of marketers rate social media as the most important form of advertisement distribution. Despite 59% of respondents favoring video platforms, Facebook does something that traditional platforms like YouTube simply cannot do. YouTube does an excellent job of unifying content with advertisements and vice versa, but Facebook adds another ingredient to the mix: social.
In the coming years, we can expect more and more brands to adopt live video streaming as a part of their social and overall marketing plans. It’s an inherently engaging, exclusive content format that’s well-suited for advertising and marketing. For live streamed video, the trend is definitely going up.