There is no question that video streaming has quickly established itself as a staple in our everyday lives. Whether we’re streaming a concert we weren’t able to make it to, taking part in real-time gaming, binge-watching a Netflix original series or tuning into a World Cup match we didn’t want to miss while stuck at work, we are all contributing to the rapid adoption of this new form of media.
Over the last few years, on-demand video in particular has become pervasive. Numerous reports, including a recent set of global research from Sandvine, have shown that people worldwide are spending more time than ever consuming content found on sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, DailyMotion, and others that provide video on-demand.
In the wake of on-demand’s rapidly growing adoption, live streaming has also grown significantly more popular. The World Cup was a great example of this, shattering previous large-event live streaming records by a factor of 2-3x, including peak data delivery and hours of content delivered.
So as live streaming is clearly poised to become the new standard, its crucial for businesses to jump on this opportunity in order to maintain an edge in their market. Here are five key reasons why:
1. Streaming extends reach - Streaming a live event provides an opportunity to connect in new ways, whether we are talking about sports matches, church services, concerts, company all-hands meetings, or university lectures. You can reach people who could not otherwise attend in person, which, depending on your goals and business model, typically translates either to positive membership impacts or new customers.
2. Streaming boosts engagement - Live events are compelling for users. There is an immediacy to them that can’t be matched with on-demand viewing, especially for live games. According to Ooyala, the average live-streamed video is viewed as much as 10 times longer than on-demand. Social media only bolsters the engagement, making us part of a larger real-time conversation around the event.
3. The live experience has drastically improved - Live streaming now provides a better user experience than ever. Over the last 15 years, we’ve gone from low-resolution, stuttering, postage-stamp sized viewing experiences on desktop computer monitors to HD (and even Ultra HD) streaming on computer screens, mobile devices, and connected TVs. Thanks to increasing bandwidth, more-scalable Internet infrastructures, improved streaming technologies, and a plethora of devices that support HD playback, our streaming experiences now can rival or surpass those of traditional television delivery.
4. Cost is no longer an excuse - The prices for computer hardware, storage, and bandwidth continue to drop. Cloud-based infrastructures and services make streaming even more affordable for many people, providing the flexible low-cost computing and scalability you need, and for discrete events, only when you need it. As an example, you can stream an hour of high-quality video to 100 users for about the price of a latte.
5. Higher quality is now possible with less complexity - In just minutes, you can be online and streaming live events globally. The more advanced your requirements, the longer the first-time setup may take, but streaming products and services continue to abstract away more of the complexities and reduce the learning curves.
Live streaming has come a long way, and it will only continue to advance; however businesses that continue to wait for the next best thing will likely find themselves playing catch up to those embracing it today. We’ll likely see these types of battles ensue across industries in the years to come.
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