The Future of Live Streaming

By: Chidu Subbiah
Untitled designLive Streaming has become a buzzword of late, but the history can be traced back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s when computing power became cheaper and powerful. The bandwidth of networks grew dramatically in this timeframe which increased the number of people and computers with access to those networks, creating the Internet as we know it today. Early live streaming efforts were mostly single-event broadcasts and were more focused around audio streaming. The following is a timeline of some of the evolution of live streaming leading up to what it has become today.

  1. In 1993, the garage band Severe Tire Damage became the first band to broadcast live over the Internet.
  2. In 1995, Real Networks televised a baseball game over the Internet for the first time during that year’s American League playoffs. Seattle made another advance in streaming later that year when the city’s Paramount Theater placed the first symphony concert online.
  1. YouTube was founded in 2005 and it fundamentally changed the landscape of streaming.
  2. The creation of software tools around this timeframe such as Flash Player facilitated the streaming of video content.
  3. Netflix started its online subscription model in 2007 and it changed the way consumers started to look at streaming.
  4. tv and USTREAM, for example, popularized livestreaming in 2007, creating dedicated entire networks for anyone to broadcast their life live at any moment.
  5. Twitch was created in 2011
  6. YouNow was founded in 2011 but become significantly popular towards the end of 2014.
  7. Amazon buys Twitch for a billion dollars in 2014
  8. Snapchat adds a live section in August 2014 allowing users to watch events live.
  9. In 2015, Meerkat and Periscope were launched.
  10. In January 2016, IBM acquired USTREAM for $130 million to build out its cloud video services.
  11. In Late 2016, Facebook Live was launched. Instagram live video was also launched around the same timeframe.
  12. More recently YouTube launched their version of live streaming

Last year, 1.7 million streamers used Twitch each month to broadcast live video, and what was even more impressive was that over 100 million people watched those streams each month. More recently Unanimous A.I. developed a “human swarming” platform called UNU which can integrate with platforms like Twitch and it fundamentally changes the way viewers respond with content creators;  best of all, it enables Twitch viewers to respond to the broadcaster, together, in real-time, expressing a single unified opinion. Today, livestreaming is everywhere and even major networks like CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBC, ABC or any other prime time network gives you the option to watch the broadcast live on your computer, laptop or mobile.
YouNow and are livestreaming networks most haven’t heard of, yet both are growing in popularity among younger Millennials and Centennials. YouNow focuses solely on live video and audience engagement whereas adds the ability to share Snapchat-like Stories (called Reels) through videos and pictures for a more complete story that lasts for 36 hours.
It is all about real time content creation; video being worth 1.8 million words per minute of text makes it a very useful form of content creation. I have personally seen an application of live streaming that has fundamentally changed the competitive landscape. As a child growing up in India, I used to go to classical music concerts with my father and it would cost quite a fortune; it was the privilege of the affluent who could afford to attend these concerts. Today a company called Tandora Networks has launched a live streaming channel on YouTube called Tandora Networks that allows you to stream these concerts for free from anywhere you like. The more important thing is that it has levelled the playing field and upcoming singers have an even chance of making an impression. More importantly, the artists get live feedback from the users.
Looking at the competitive landscape, Periscope seems to have the first mover advantage as of today. Greg Jarboe compares all the features of Periscope, Facebook Live and YouTube live in his post and lists out the pros and cons of each platform.  Periscope is simple to use and has superior functionality and has won over live streaming audiences for now. Periscope seamlessly integrates with Twitter and may remain the go-to platform for news outlets who will want to use Periscope’s live streaming content to increase user engagement. Facebook’s massive user base and nearly unlimited resources makes Facebook Live the better choice for brands looking to launch a live video campaign.
The key with live streaming is that it can be achieved with an internet-connected
smartphone and a live streaming app like Periscope.  For high quality streams you will need a high-end camera or a USB-connected webcam that can produce high quality HD video; and will also need an encoding device that communicates with a computer or the streaming provider. We finally will need a streaming provider, an online platform that has the bandwidth and server configuration to take the video input and stream it to the world. Popular video streaming hosts include Livestream, uStream, and DaCast and if you’d like to learn more about how they compare to each other click here.
Consumer brands have recognized the potential of livestreaming and are using it to get the word out about new product launches. BMW debuted a campaign for its M2 model through Periscope, and users got to see the car in action on a BMW race track. More than 5,000 people were reached in the first 10 minutes, and the campaign in total amassed 48,000 social engagements, 16.6 million impressions, and 3,000 new Periscope followers. Global cruise Ship Company Royal Caribbean ran a brand campaign called “Come Seek Live” on periscope where their viewers had the ability to see through the eyes of those aboard Royal Caribbean’s highest-tech ship, Anthem of the Seas, as it sailed from Caribbean destination to Caribbean destination. The streaming video was displayed not only on the company’s Periscope account, but also on a series of digital billboards throughout New York City.
Products available in the market:
Picture1MXL MM-VE001 Mobile Media Videographers Essentials Kit, Includes FR-310 Shotgun Microphone, Bracket, Mobile PhoneHolder, 3.5mm Audio Cable, Ball Head
Tripod Bluetooth with Remote Control for iPhone / Android Smartphone / Tablet / iPad, Use for Video Recording, Pictures, or Live Streaming
About the author:
Chidu Subbiah is a Tech Lead working on the development of web applications for a Fortune 500 company. He is part time doctoral student in Logistics and Supply Chain Management