With the growth of online video, connected mobile devices, and Internet for everyone, live content streaming is on the rise. Whether it’s an official cast of an event or concert, or “citizen journalism” efforts that deliver video feeds of what’s happening in the world, live-streaming has become embedded in today’s modern online and social experience.
Businesses understandably want to tap into this phenomenon—but making the most of the vast landscape of opportunities means looking beyond consumer-focused platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope/Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat.
Don’t Miss Out on Engagement—and Revenue
With live streaming on the cusp of significant growth, publishers, marketers and content creators who opt out of the trend are missing important brand and customer engagement opportunities.
The reason for this is simple: Live = interaction. Live is emotional, and it makes people feel up-to-date, involved and connected. Research from Parks Associates shows that though the space is young, 11% of US broadband consumers already indicate they have live-streamed video using a live streaming app, while 13% of consumers have watched live-streamed video on a mobile app—and those figures are growing every day.
Maybe you’re a publisher looking to effectively target interested audiences in deeper ways—or maybe you’re looking to raise a brand’s profile, or reinforce its identity. Live paves the way for new monetization options and revenue streams, by leveraging the interactive, sharable nature of digital media.
This comes in many forms: Content publishers can offer pay-per-view or subscription-based access to streams; or they can sell the recording of an event, conference or other broadcast after the fact. Syndication and rights-resale for live content streams are still other options.
And, innovative new models include re-broadcasting an event within a specific window—akin to a TV re-run. It’s not on-demand, but rather made available during a single window of access. That gives publishers (and marketers/advertisers) the opportunity to reach out and say, “come to my website at 8 p.m. and see something special,” lending a sense of urgency and building a sense of community.
Decision-makers are responding: Thanks to a growing awareness of the benefits of live, almost one-fifth of US media decision-makers are planning to invest in live stream video ads in the next six months, according to August 2016 research from eMarketer.
Getting the Platform Right
There are plenty of options for potential live-streamers flooding in from the social-media space, especially Facebook Live, Periscope/Twitter and Snapchat. And all too often, businesses that don’t have a deep bench of technical know-how will opt to simply use the widget that comes with a social media platform.
For publishers and marketers looking to tap into the opportunity however, this can become a game of whack-a-mole as they try to prioritize their investments according to whichever platform their audiences are using that week or day.
That’s because using consumer applications means creating an unwieldy library of content that’s not syndicated from platform to platform. Video needs to be uploaded to each outlet, be it Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on, separately—a time- and labor-intensive process that creates a management headache, especially for resource-strapped mid-sized businesses.
In some cases, the investment in developing content for a specific consumer platform can end up being wasted. Consider the case of Meerkat.
“Live streaming via mobile apps is in its early days,” said Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst at Parks Associates. His report, Disruption in Video Sourcing and Production, examined the emergence of live streaming through apps like Facebook Live and Periscope and found that the space is likely to see some upheaval when it comes to platforms. “However, this developing market has already had its first big casualty, as Meerkat, which brought live streaming apps to the consumer market in 2015, exited this space following the success of Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live and YouTube’s announcement of its upcoming live mobile streaming technology.”
Meerkat’s demise came in part because of the app’s lack of primary social media interaction for creators, he explained, which underscores the importance of built-in personalization and interactive capabilities in this new media world.
The lesson? To craft an effective and successful business-level live strategy that captures the full scope of the opportunities, organizations need to look beyond the consumer realm for their platforms.
There’s no doubt at all that brands need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, but a best practice is to choose a solution that allows video to be simulcast across social destinations. The key is to leverage the power of those audience touch points as a discovery tool while managing it all from a platform that allows publishers to control their content and monetize it on their own terms.
Enter JW Player
To help organizations effectively avoid this social video pitfall, JW Player has pioneered JW Live, an easy-to-use live streaming solution that allows organizations to create live video for simultaneous publishing to the full range of social sites, company websites and the mobile web.
Unlike many enterprise-grade platforms in the market that require significant overhead for the average business, JW Live was engineered to be easy for non-technical users to operate.
Most businesses want the feature set, robustness and control of a full-blown enterprise offering, but don’t have a video engineer or the time available to set it up. But following the trend of the consumerization of IT, JW Live offers ease-of-use on the front end, with heavy-duty features and robustness on the backend. It’s a simple and flexible way to distribute, manage and monetize videos on the web and in mobile apps.
The end result is an easy way to distribute, manage and monetize videos on the web and mobile apps, using a platform that delivers reliability and a rich feature set.
Want to know more? Stay tuned for Part II of this blog series, “The Trouble with Facebook Live.”
Businesses that don’t get on board with live streaming video are missing important brand and customer engagement opportunities. Contact JW Player today to talk about how to do it right—and avoid social video pitfalls.