Will Live streaming survive Post Pandemic?

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Virtual events and streaming is fast becoming the new norm as the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic continues. Major marketing events have turned their attention to the world of digital. Adobe, for example, has taken its annual Summit online, while Microsoft's Build developer conference was also turned into a digital event earlier this month. One medium that goes hand in hand with virtual events is live video. Facebook, for example, saw the number of views for Instagram and Facebook Live in Italy double within a week, Alex Schultz, VP of analytics, and Jay Parikh, VP of engineering said in a recent blog post. Meanwhile, Cisco's Webex is experiencing an "all-time high" when it comes to monthly, weekly and daily active users, CNBC reported.

Quoting App Annie, CNBC also said that Zoom is currently the most popular free app in dozens of countries. As of 21 March, its stock also rose 26% since February, CNBC added. And while the demand of virtual technologies soar sky high now, it is worth wondering that if and when the virus clears, will these companies still thrive?

In a statement to Marketing, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) Singapore Prakash Kamdar, said the trend that is currently unfolding is "likely not one-off". Therefore, it will fundamentally change the way the live events industry operates and de-risks its business in the future. When it comes to live streaming sports and gaming, in particular, Kamdar said the idea of watching and interacting with athletes and talent as a whole through live streaming platforms is only gaining more traction, especially with younger audience segments. 

"If online gamers can stream their games for others to watch, so can physical world gamers [those who play on gaming consoles]," Kamdar said. Even musicians have turned to live streaming during these trying times, from well-known artists such as Diplo, John Legend and Charlie XCX on Instagram, to indie musicians such as Marc Rebillet and Ducky on Twitch.

Moving forward, the new normal for live events, sporting or otherwise, will without doubt be heavily influenced by the events and circumstances of the last two months. "This is because the events have just about brought the industry to its knees, thus forcing it to rethink its future business model," Kamdar explained.

Like Kamdar, Thanendran Thanesvaran, head of sports marketing, Reprise Digital Malaysia also agreed that digital platforms will garner the most engagement, especially with more consumers staying at home. "This is already in motion with many events offering a pay-per-view experience. It will be interesting to observe this trend once restrictions are lifted as consumer behaviour will likely adapt towards this new norm," he added.

Although live streaming is unlikely to replace the multi-sensorial experience of physically attending a live event, Kamdar said in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, recent events will led event organisers and sponsors to rethink their business model to include a strong live streaming format component. 

The most obvious advantage of live streaming is the convenience of making audiences attend their events with little effort required.

Live streaming also offers a greater reach. Quoting Adobe Analytics, Kamdar said this year's Super Bowl in February was the most live-streamed Super Bowl in history, delivering an average per minute audience of 3.4 million, up 30% over last year and up 103% over FOX's last Super Bowl stream in 2017. Live streaming also allows for greater engagement and interactivity through features such as providing trivia or real-time stats during the broadcast. Such resources are normally not available right at consumers' fingertips and Kamdar said it will allow audiences to feel more connected to event, or a team should it be a sporting event. Another crucial about live streaming is more monetisation opportunities.

"Providing supplemental links to purchase tickets to the next live stream and player biographies or merchandise, can entice people to take the next steps to support their team, and bring in more revenue," he explained.

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