13 Jan In 2021, Livestreaming is The Norm, Not New
Think of the Internet like it’s your TV and websites like they’re your TV channels. The channels 3, 6 and 10 – the ones “everyone watches” – are just like the websites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Then there are those cable TV channels in the upper 800s that some people watch – you know who you are. Those channels are like the obscure websites few people have even heard about.
But cable TV and the Internet are different in an important way. TV is rigidly structured, while the Internet is very fluid. A little-known niche website today might be considered prime time next week. These days we’re seeing live video services rise from small communities to thriving media pillars − we watched this happen with Snapchat and Instagram not too long ago.
When college student Justin Kan founded Justin.tv in October of 2006, he did so as a novel way to have some fun. Kan, wearing a baseball cap with a webcam powered by a laptop-backpack rig, intended to ‘lifestream’ online 24/7. While ‘lifestreaming’ may not have stuck around, the concept behind it did. What started as a piece of comedy may have brought rise to one of the biggest mediums on the internet today: the live stream.
Twitch.tv Leads the Race
The reigning champ of live video streaming is Twitch.tv − which Amazon purchased for $970 million in 2014. While Twitch was founded as Justin.tv’s gaming spinoff, its user base of 17.5 million daily active users (up from 15 million, as noted in our 2018 blog) also tune in for live streams of podcasts, music and personalities.
There is ample opportunity for content creators and advertisers on Twitch and other livestreaming platforms like Facebook Live. The H3 Podcast, one of YouTube’s largest weekly shows, is conservatively estimated to bring in upwards of $500,000 (up from $100,000 in 2018) every week through a combination of sponsors, viewers and paid subscribers, watched by upwards of 1,000,000 engaged users weekly.
“But Gamers Aren’t My Market”
Think again. “Gamers” no longer make up their own specially segmented market profile. While they typically match the profile of an average millennial, it may surprise you to know that 3 out of every 4 Americans play video games – that’s over 244 million ‘gamers.’ And before you say ‘Well, I don’t know any gamers!,’ realize that in 2021, most smartphone users can be considered hypercasual gamers.
COVID-19’s Impact on Live Streaming
Twitch has been gaining momentum for well over a decade now, but when ALL social interactions went virtual as a result of COVID-19, the website was perfectly positioned for a massive, rapid expansion. Just three days in to the global pandemic, Twitch viewers were already spending an extra 15% watching streams. We also know that since 2018, Twitch has surpassed traditional news outlets in concurrent viewers – a trend that’s continued through 2020.
The time to start considering the power of live streaming content, partners and advertising was yesterday. Live streaming used to be “the future of entertainment” on the Internet. Now it’s a reality with a strong value proposition: Video content with no middleman and immediate gratification. And in the age of a global pandemic, there are no conferences – only livestreams
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