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Let's be real, online - Why individuals and businesses are increasingly moving the live streaming way

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

By Yuki He, CEO of LiveMe and Senior Vice President at Cheetah Mobile

On June 24, 1993, at Xerox Parc in California, a band called Severe Tire Damage was playing at a gig. Elsewhere in the same building, a group of scientists were discussing a technology called Mbone, which enabled live streaming over the internet using multicasting. To prove their technology, the band’s performance was broadcast and could be seen live at Australia and elsewhere. A poor quality 152-by-76 pixel video with audio described as ‘a bad telephone connection’, band member Russ Haines stated in 2017 that it seemed as if they might have used approximately “half of the total bandwidth of the internet’ to broadcast that gig.

Today, even your cat’s snoring videos can be broadcasted all over the world in better quality by consuming lesser data and at the convenience of a click. Since Facebook introduced its Live feature in 2016, live online videos have caught the imagination of audiences big time. In fact, live streaming registered an unparalleled YoY growth during that year, as there was an increase of 81 per cent of internet and mobile audiences who watched more live video in 2016 than in 2015. From breaking news to conferences and concerts, live streaming events have become a great way to instantly grab eyeballs worldwide.

Unscripted, uncensored, unhindered - Why live-streaming has endeared itself to audiences?
Since live-streaming became popular with apps such as Meerkat, Periscope or Facebook, audiences have been gradually making the transition to live-streaming from conventional broadcasts as a source of timely information. Live-streaming apps have brought the much needed spontaneity and lean operational framework, moving content creation from the hallowed grounds of big production houses and lots of labour to just a person armed with a decent smartphone and a stable internet connection.

Additionally, live-streaming content does not have to go through any kind of regulations, thus providing the audiences with immediate content that has not been tampered with. It has decentralized media power considerably, empowering millions of voices with great power. Furthermore, it also enables the audiences to not only consume, but interact with content creators through comments, emoticons etc. This engagement quotient of live-streaming is the prime reason that has made it such an attractive proposition for brands and businesses all over the world.

Brand building, live - How live interaction makes businesses more attractive.
According to a report by Livestream, 80 per cent audiences have stated that they would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog or a social post. 67 per cent of live viewers are also more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video. From encouraging audiences to pay for live or exclusive events to opting for subscriptions, live video-streaming has emerged as a great tool to engage audiences, and monetise such engagement better.

The other side of the coin - The risks associated with live-streaming apps.
Great power necessitates great responsibility. As live videos are immediate and unedited, it possesses a few risks of communicating half-baked information or content created from a skewed perspective. Unfortunately, the popularity gained by the medium has ensured that sometimes, the damage caused by such videos often become irrepairable.

The question of privacy is also extremely pertinent when it comes to live-streaming. The ease with which videos can be live-streamed has made it a toy, and many individuals are becoming as irresponsible with the technology as children. The use of privacy settings, and responsible conduct by individuals can go a long way in ensuring the ideal implementation of the technology to emerge as the most popular communication tool for millennial audiences.

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