It’s another great year for the live streaming world. From major events to video gaming to high school graduations and even live news from major news outlets, the widespread adoption of live content as a broadcasting form shows that it’s quickly becoming a mainstream way to deliver content.
As more consumers shift towards live video, 2018 is predictably going to be the biggest year for live streaming ever. Whether you’re doing corporate marketing, IRL streaming or anything that involves going live, now’s the time to do it!
And to give you a bit of motivation, we’ve compiled 5 reasons to grab that camera and go live:
1. Social Media is On A Roll
Who doesn’t love checking Instagram every now and then to see people travel the world while you sit in an office? Joking aside, average daily use of social media by global Internet users has risen to 135 minutes in 2017, up from 126 minutes in 2016. This has pretty much been the trend since the inception of social media, and with so many new features being developed to keep our eyes glued to our screens, who can blame us?
More people are spending more time on social media than ever before, which makes for an excellent opportunity to get views on your live content. And this doesn’t just apply to Facebook anymore - 2017 was the year of Instagram, with the company announcing that they now have 800 million active users monthly; sharing 95 million photos/videos per day. With millions of Instagrammers browsing the app every day, it’s an excellent platform to attract viewers to your live stream.
2. Viewership for Live Videos Are Up.. Again!
Ever notice that if someone’s streaming live video on Facebook or Instagram, those always pop up first on your story? It’s not a coincidence; our favorite social media platforms prioritize live video over regular posts in order to encourage more users to try it out.
And to some degree, they’ve succeeded. According to the Global Web Index, viewing of live streams has gone up 8% since 2016 on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, totalling 28% of social media users who’ve seen live video before. In addition, we’ve seen countless organizations of all sizes opting for Facebook Live over traditional broadcasting avenues such as CNN, NASA, HBO, The Verge and much more. This is because they know live stream viewers will watch longer, comment and share videos, resulting in huge viewer turnouts.
3. Easy and Affordable
Remember when The Simpsons predicted that one day people would be communicating face to face on a tiny little computer screen? Well it happened. Thanks to smartphones, 4G/LTE Internet and social media, going live is really just a click of a button away. Furthermore, watching a stream is even easier thanks to Facebook and IG algorithms. The tools for accessing live video is all around us.
Streaming from a smartphone is one thing, but those professionally-made multicam videos you see on Facebook, YouTube and the like are done with high-end video cameras and external video encoders. For example, Soul Kitchen Creative (live production company in New York) streamed a Westworld Q&A using multiple cameras fed to a switcher and into a VidiU Pro, achieving a 720p (Facebook max resolution) professional live stream.
The truth is, delivering HD content to live platforms is both easy and affordable now. With encoders like the VidiU Pro, all you have to do is connect a video camera to it via HDMI, connect an Internet source (Ethernet, WiFi, 4G USB modem) and choose a destination to start streaming. Once it’s up on the Internet, social media will do the rest.
If you’re still on the ropes about investing in an encoder though, consider trying out Live:Air Action. A free live streaming app for iPads, Live:Air Action lets you add things like graphics, transitions, text and overlays to your video and streams it to whichever platform you choose. The best part? It’s actually a multicam switcher that allows you to use up to 6 iOS devices as additional cameras, giving your broadcast a professional touch if you need it.
4. Comments and Shares
When NASA live streamed the Great American Solar Eclipse to every social media platform last August, they achieved 85.9 million views. But this wasn’t just thanks to meticulous planning and copious pre-broadcast advertising. Over the course of the broadcast, NASA’s video had 296K comments on Facebook, 89K tweets and 198K social posts about it, all of which further distributed the live videos around the Internet.
All of this points to one major thing about live streaming: engagement is key. According to a study conducted by Yahoo Live Opportunity, people feel significantly more excited watching live video online than on-demand video or broadcast TV. Being able to interact with fellow viewers is critical; you can’t cheer at a TV screen and expect a response, but you can express that excitement online and get the same feedback.
Furthermore, with the way Facebook works, commenting and sharing makes the live video appear on more people’s dashboards, allowing it to branch out to many users quickly. And with more people spending more time on social media than ever before, this makes for an excellent strategy to reach viewers.
5. Height of Quality
Nobody likes to see a low-quality stream, but thanks to years of development in the live streaming ecosystem and advancements in Internet connection speeds, we’re at a point where live video quality is acceptable for the average viewer. At least compared to previous years.
Where a few years ago live video was mostly spotty and low quality 480p, now it’s common to see 720p Facebook videos and 1080p YouTube videos in live formats. Pushing 3-5 Mbps is now possible on smartphone 4G/LTE networks, with WiFi and Ethernet bitrates able to achieve even higher.
Furthermore, not only do content producers have more bandwidth to stream the video, but viewers have more bandwidth and CPU to decode them on their devices. Every new generation of handsets like iPhone X & Pixel 2, as well as new generations of cellular networks like 4G/LTE, are pushing the boundaries on what video consumers can access. What this means for live stream producers is that delivering a HD stream is pretty easy now, and getting viewers who can watch it is even easier.
As the ecosystem behind live streaming advances, 2018 will see a critical mass of demand for live video. From rising social media use to stronger media devices and even the impending arrival of 5G mobile networks, live video is poised to be a major contender of global multimedia consumption.
So if you’re interested in trying out live streaming, or have been live streaming already, now’s the time to do it. Grab your camera and go live!