2016 was a bellwether year for livestreaming, with everything from social networks like Facebook, corporate sites, and the mobile web all offering outlets for real-time video. However, according to analysts, this trend is just starting to gain momentum. 2017 is shaping up to be the year of “live everywhere”, with platforms like JW Live allowing publishers to harness this ubiquity for fresh promotional and revenue opportunities.
From Consumers to Business
To understand the future, it pays to look at the past. In 2007, Justin.tv and USTREAM popularized livestreaming platforms, dedicating entire networks for anyone to broadcast their life in real-time. Similarly, YouTube launched a live video service in 2011. But as mobile devices have gotten smarter and broadband networks have improved, Facebook and a raft of others have followed suit in the last few quarters, resulting in a fragmented set of livestream creation options, especially for consumers. At the same time, major media players, including sports leagues and awards shows, have offered live streams to deepen user engagement. The result of all of this? In 2016, end users began creating video and also watching it in unprecedented numbers.
“We’re seeing pretty reliable delivery of high-quality video, so now that the audience is comfortable that their setup can sustain a concert or a sports game for a couple of hours uninterrupted, that is building confidence to seek out live content on digital platforms,” said Mark Peters, principal consultant for IBB Consulting. “I think that, coupled with some niche and specialty content available exclusively on digital, is really making live come of age this year.”
The upcoming year will see livestreaming also becoming a key focus for businesses, because it now wields a digital influence that publishers cannot afford to ignore when it comes to brand engagement and monetization.
Livestreaming: A Crucial Tool
An example of the power of livestreaming is Southwest Airlines’ decision to show, in real time, events from its busy network operation control center as it dealt with system-wide delays related to snowstorms last winter. It broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, as The Financial Times describes in a case study: “A friendly face in a red polo neck guided viewers — potentially frustrated flyers — around a dark room filled with flashing monitors, showing how the airline was trying to cope with the bad weather…And in doing so, this showed how digital marketing is moving beyond pre-written tweets and scheduled Facebook posts.”
The gambit had the desired effect, offering transparency and engendering goodwill among the stranded and the delayed. But it also had resonance beyond the initial event itself: More than 100,000 viewers have watched the Southwest video to date.
Aside from the brand identity benefits, those kinds of numbers create major new monetization opportunities as well: Digital video advertising spending grew 46 percent to $7.7 billion in the US last year, according to eMarketer—but it will nearly double to $13.4 billion by 2018. Brian Solis, a principal analyst at research firm Altimeter, said that given end results like these, the initial focus on single-purpose social sites like YouTube, Facebook and others will give way to dedicated livestreaming apps that will establish new market segments across platforms. “An entire industry is emerging around these popular livestreaming apps,” Solis said. “There has never been a time when original content, new talent and individual opportunity has been so accessible and attainable in the video community.”
He added, “Digital influence has never been more influential, and now more than ever, entertainment executives and brand strategists must look beyond the traditional perspectives that defined yesterday’s celebrity and entertainment platforms. Establishing new channels for digital content creation will foster more engaging and rewarding opportunities for brands.”
JW Live: A Platform for the Future
It’s important to note that selecting the right partner to enable a live video strategy is just as important as the content itself. So as publishers look to leverage the power of livestreaming across individual sites, JW Player has launched a platform for the future. JW Live is a simple and flexible way to distribute, manage and monetize videos across multiple destinations. Organizations can create live video once, for simultaneous publishing to the full range of social sites, company websites and the mobile web—all with industry-leading support for the entire range of established advertising technologies and unparalleled enablement for essentially any type of monetization model.
The idea is that, with the same amount of effort that a company puts into developing video for one outlet, say Facebook Live, publishers can take that same effort and create a multipronged approach. This also means that publishers can control the monetization by driving traffic to their own sites, while capturing the incomparable exposure that social platforms offer.
Want to know more? Check out the first installment of this blog series, “Is Your Live Social Video Strategy Working?” And, read Part II, “Beyond Social: Complementing your Facebook Live Strategy.”
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.