Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Live video streaming is thriving as a medium. Every year, we like to take a moment to reflect on the trends of the year past and also try to predict the video streaming industry trends of tomorrow. At the beautiful junction of improved connectivity and technological advancement, live video is accessible to virtually everyone. This democratization of live video has introduced enormous opportunities for experimentation, which has given rise to various trends. And there’s more to come: Cisco projects that live video will account for 17 percent of all Internet video traffic by 2022. That’s a 15-fold increase from 2017 to 2022. It’s an exciting time for the industry, and it’s equally exciting to consider what’s on the horizon for live video streaming. Let’s dig into the top live video streaming industry trends of today and tomorrow.
Top live video streaming industry trends of 2019
1. More industries are leveraging live video With live video as accessible as it is, many industries are using it for both internal and external purposes. Educational institutions, enterprises, governments, healthcare providers, and other organizations are all live streaming for a variety of reasons. Overwhelmingly, live video is helping organizations enhance their workflows and improve communication, driving efficiency overall. Live streaming is changing the way students learn. According to Kaltura’s 2019 State of Video in Educationreport, 53 percent of educational institutions live stream conferences, school events, and lectures. This figure has grown steadily over the past few years and is projected to soar even higher. Remote access to lectures and events helps students better retain knowledge, comprehend material, and take part in school events wherever they are. Businesses are increasingly using webcasting for large-scale communications. Kaltura’s 2018 State of Video in Enterprise report found that 80 percent of large companies broadcast events live. Enterprises also use live video for internal communications, employee training, webinars, live event broadcasts, and town hall meetings. Similarly, healthcare organizations are using live video for telemedicine, conference streaming, and staff training. Governments are streaming court hearings, town hall meetings, and mandated sessions. This trend is projected to grow even further as more organizations add live streaming to their arsenals: Brandlive’s 2019 Video Solutions Benchmark Report found that live video capture is a top priority for companies evaluating video solutions.
2. Consumers are cutting the cord in favor of OTT services Any discussion about streaming video today wouldn’t be complete without mention of OTT (over-the-top) video platforms. OTT refers to any streaming media service offered directly to viewers over the Internet (rather than through a satellite or cable provider). Consumers across the US – in greater numbers each year – are cancelling their TV subscriptions entirely (aka “cutting the cord”) in favor of OTT services like Hulu and Netflix. The choice to switch only makes sense: traditional broadcast TV bundles are often overpriced and available on a limited number of devices. Services like Roku and Apple TV offer much more flexibility in terms of pricing and device support. To stay competitive, many broadcast networks are launching their own OTT platforms (e.g., Disney+) and partnering up with popular online video platforms like YouTube to appeal to younger audiences. While many consumers have in fact cut the cord, others are still reluctant to do so. One of the major issues with online streaming is latency. Internet live video is often a minute or more behind its TV broadcast counterpart, which can cause annoying spoilers for fans. As Limelight highlights in its 2019 State of Online Video report, 58 percent of consumers would be more likely to watch live sports online if there was no delay compared to the TV broadcast. OTT platform providers are always looking for new ways to incentivize viewers to pick and stick with them. This includes producing original content and providing as much content variety as possible. This, however, introduces a new dilemma for consumers: what to watch? It can be hard to decide with so many streaming services to choose from and so much new content being produced daily. AI and machine learning can help here by creating personalized viewer experiences. Using algorithms, platforms can analyze vast amounts of user and video metadata (viewing history and other preferences) and make educated guesses as to what a viewer might be interested in watching, keeping them engaged for longer.
3. Live video is a fixture in marketing plans Live video is reinventing the way brands think about marketing and e-commerce. It has already proved itself as an essential marketing tool, helping brands grow and better engage their audiences. Today, we see brands going live regularly on social media and other content delivery networks (CDNs). During these streams, they promote products, interact with viewers, answer questions. All of these activities build a strong community around the brand. Thus, by introducing the element of authentic human interaction, live video helps brands come across as more transparent and approachable. Knowing this, brands are zeroing in on live video more than ever. A 2018 study by Brandlive and IBMreported that about 95 percent of companies consider live video to be an important part of their marketing mix for the upcoming year, and 25 percent agreed that “live content will be a top priority, edging out pre-recorded video.” Over 50 percent said their budgets for live content will increase compared to the previous year.
4. Social media is driving live video adoption We’ve witnessed the rise of live video journalism on social media, capturing life-changing events in the most polarized parts of the world. We’re seeing gaming and eSports live streams constantly break viewership records. Many online creators today are able to make a living going live. Thousands of houses of worship are streaming their services, connecting people together in prayer and in spirit. Live video apps like Periscope and Snapchat have skyrocketed in popularity, especially among younger audiences. Sending live video clips to communicate with peers feels natural to this generation. Perhaps just a decade ago, we felt awkward jumping on a video call. Similarly, we sometimes felt embarrassed watching someone else’s poorly produced live video. We are now more forgiving (and much more appreciative) of the more natural, genuine human behavior that comes across in live media.