Live Streaming

How the Full Potential of Live Streaming Hasn’t Yet Been Realized

Live streaming may have only been popularized, or even made viable, over the last five to ten years, but it’s actually been around since the 90s. On June 24, 1993, a band by the name of Severe Tire Damage broadcast their performance via live streaming on a small but global network, Mbone, and continued to do so in the form of private showings. Now, live streaming is one of the default ways to both experience entertainment and perform business matters.

When Liverpool won their first title for decades, people all over the world live-streamed the game and trophy ceremony. In fact, 2020 proved to be one of the biggest years for the technology yet, with year-on-year viewership rising from over 1.9 billion hours watched to over 3.9 billion between April 2019 and 2020. Most famously, with the options being molded for personal use to connect distant friends and relatives, live-streamed video services also rose to the fore. Chief among them was Zoom, which even allows custom live streaming for meetings as well as group conversations. However, even with this burst of activity and its continued use across several industries, live streaming may not have reached its potential just yet.

Becoming the standard in entertainment

Now, while the term “streaming” is very widespread in entertainment, with Hotstar being one of the biggest platforms in India, true live streaming is less prevalent but not less popular. Live streaming takes a lot more equipment and preparation, with viewers being tied to the moment in real-time. Still, entertainment products that could once only be enjoyed live have now embraced the technology to reach audiences far and wide. A prime example of this is with the National Theatre, which launched NT Live to stream live shows to cinemas in the UK, Europe, and North America. Now, even if fans couldn’t attend the theatre, they could go to a local cinema to see the stars of the show in action, live.

Taking the technology another step further, the casino entertainment industry has morphed a kind of augmented reality with real casino table game tables to create interactive live streaming games. Now, the live casino features a variety of titles, from spinning wheels to card games, all of which are played live at physical tables via a stream. It used to be that you’d have to go to a casino to play at a real table with a professional croupier to run the game. Similarly, to experience a professional musician in their element, you’d need to follow them to a concert, attend a festival, or happen upon an indiscreet gig. Instead, the music subscription goliath Spotify put on live streams with major artists, including Rag N Bone Man, Bleachers, and Girl in Red.

Adapting the live streaming model to spread learning

The original purpose of the internet was to allow for the open sharing of information between people all over the world. While it’s far more commonly used for less productive means these days, some savvy entrepreneurs have taken upholding the spirit of teaching and learning online, with live streaming greatly enhancing the services. While many have been learning a new language from flashcards or gamified apps, Chatterbug has pulled in live streaming to make learning interactive, which they claim makes for more engaging lessons and better results. Another gamified language learning app is the world-famous Duolingo, and even they are making use of live streaming, having set up their own channel on Twitch.

Language learning can be greatly enhanced by speaking to someone and getting their input on how to improve, particularly when it comes to pronunciation. In this regard, learning an instrument would also benefit from the live stream approach – and it does. Lessonface connects would-be musicians to experts around the world to learn instruments.

Potential to enhance business

Live streaming can put you in the moment for experiences like live shows, sports, or music, but as shown by the likes of casino entertainment and language tutors, it can also create two-way engagements so that the user gets even more out of any interactions.

The internet is already a tough place for businesses to compete, with tips to accelerate one’s Shopify store only going so far. So, as has been popularized in China to yield some $60 billion per year, some are taking to live streaming. Known as “live commerce,” people looking to sell their products or those given to them by partners will start a live stream, offer some form of incentive to viewers, and perform demonstrations. Shopping online greatly de-personalizes the experience, so live commerce reconnects people and products, showing what they’re like in the real world. Another way in which businesses could make the most of live streaming is with customer service. One of the biggest gripes among customers is the impersonal approach of customer service options, such as there being an automated chat or slow email returns. Live video support can allow people to talk properly with an agent and solve their problem without anything getting in the way – be it poor spelling or misinterpretations. Live streaming already offers people a great way to interact with products and other people, but the two-way potential of the technology is yet to be fully utilized across the board.

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