Live Streaming Market to Eclipse $4bn: What the Future Has in Store for Live Tech
Ever since video call services like Skype and later FaceTime exploded into the mainstream, going live, having live video conversations online, and making use of live broadcasts has become a normality for many. Over the last couple of years, many have been thrust into the world of live streaming, only to find it to be incredibly engaging and enjoyable, particularly on leading platforms like Twitch and Instagram. Now, the market prediction Cision reports reads that from 2021 to 2028, live streaming will hit a compound annual growth rate of 22.4 per cent, leading it to around $4.3 billion.
Such a massive leap in market value doesn’t come as a surprise, either, with live streaming already showing strong numbers. Helping the scene is how incredibly accessible becoming a live streamer or setting up a live stream has become for any given member of the public or, indeed, a business. The Adorama setup guide lists a Wi-Fi connection, tripod, and smartphone, tablet, or webcam as the entry-level requirements. Naturally, businesses will want a more professional sheen with ring lights and HD camera equipment, but it’s still not overly advanced or pricey tech.
Powering these market predictions is how popular the present capacity of the technology is, the glimpses at its potential beyond its more popular uses, and the ideas being developed for the future of live streaming.
The state of play of live streaming
Much of the live streaming market is built on the sensation of being in the moment, the content shown being real, and the sensation colloquially termed ‘FOMO,’ which means “fear of missing out.” As SocialMediaWeek unravels here, one of the three main drivers of live streaming is that people don’t want to miss out on what could happen when a live stream takes place, be it a potential gaff or a surprise offer for goods. This is further propelled by a community built around the live streamer or platform, with their excitement and participation fuelling this need to attend the stream.
Of course, one of the most naturally attuned industries to live streaming is that of music. Live events are coveted by fans, and while you can’t get the same gig experience through a live stream, it’s still happening in real-time without filters or a hard script. Many acts turned to YouTube to put on live music fundraisers over the last couple of years. The Post Malone channel put on a 77-minute live stream of Post Malone, Travis Barker, Bryan Lee, and Nick Mack covering Nirvana to raise money for the World Health Organisation.
It’d be impossible to talk about any form of streaming without mentioning Twitch, though. Twitch entices thousands of people from around the world to tune in to its streamers hourly, with most of them putting out streams from video games or gathering for a chat. While live streaming doesn’t make up a huge part of the platform’s total content offering, streamers are encouraged by the Creator Camp to notify viewers through its integrated ‘Go Live’ button, which amps up the attention given and the chance for FOMO to kick in.
Most advanced applications of live streaming so far
Much of the use of live streaming technology involves a streamer putting out their product in real-time or being at the ready to talk or perform for people watching. Some businesses have taken it a step further to create a more two-way, interactive experience. The Peleton live workouts are a prime example of stretching live tech further. While the monitor on their exercise bike live streams in the trainer, you also get a real-time list of stats about your workout. Off of the bike, Mirror also offers live-streamed workouts through its innovative fitness product, which also shows key data and stats for the session.
The next big step shown has been the ability to interact with a live-streamed product with real money in real-time. This is being showcased every hour across the library of Betway live casino rooms. After clicking on a tile, the user receives the live stream feed to the real game being performed by a human croupier. Then, thanks to the OCR and GCU, you can place bets and make in-game decisions in real-time via the app’s on-screen UI. To a more reeled-in degree, this is how Taobao live shopping has found its success. Charismatic streamers host live events where they showcase items, answer questions, and offer the ability for people to buy there and then.
What’s in store for live streaming technology?
The technology that’s been on just about everyone’s mind since Meta unveiled its plans to control the next realm of our existence is virtual reality. There is the fun and games side to it, with PSVR2 on the horizon and Tetsuya Mizuguchi on board, but then there’s the more business-oriented side of VR that seeks to create a whole new virtual world where people gather, explore, absorb ads, get tracked, and buy stuff. While Meta continues to make VR headsets more accessible through its Oculus line, the next step for developers is 360o live streaming, as Dacast delves into. This step for VR and live tech will suddenly make the virtual world much more real and immersive for the masses.
Away from the dystopic space being crafted by the brains behind Facebook, there are more entertaining applications of live streaming bubbling up. While the Stadia platform flopped – primarily because of its ill-conceived business model – Google’s good practices for subscriptions should be commended, as should its progress with the Crowd Play feature. The concept for this is that anyone watching a YouTube live stream of someone on Stadia could jump into the game via the Crowd Play join feature if the streamer invites them in to play. A working model of this would be game-changing for so many applications beyond video gaming; it’s just a shame that Stadia collapsed under its own misreading of the market.
Live streaming technology is here to stay, with its applications having the capacity to make the online experience far more real and in the moment. Undoubtedly, VR looks to be the next big frontier, but there’ll certainly be a company out there right now developing a novel use for the tech.