Streaming is very much the in-thing in entertainment tech right now. Surging on the subscription model, the top streaming services are all incredibly popular even though most have only been around for a few years. Still, it’s a different form of streaming that looks to go from strength to strength in the coming years to become a crucial tech application for businesses and customers around the world.
Live streaming was thrust into the limelight in 2020, transforming it from its relatively niche usage to mainstream adoption and expanded application. The presence of live streaming is taking eyes away from TVs, with nearly half of surveyed live-streaming viewers saying that they’re watching less on TV because of the new platforms. It’s trends like this and its increased growth that see the live streaming market eclipse $240 billion in five years’ time, and even close in on $250 billion by 2028.
Importantly, live streaming is still being used en masse for what was its primary application, watching live events like sports, but its growth over the last few years in other areas has been particularly telling.
Connecting to events and people there and then
Prior to the sudden burst of usage from 2019 onwards in mainstream circles, live streaming was best known by most as a way to watch sports like soccer live. With the Premier League being the most popular domestic soccer competition in the world, it drew in millions of live streamers from around the world, as would big games in the Bundesliga, Serie A, and La Liga. Predominantly, live streaming offers convenient ways for people who perhaps don’t get the competitions broadcast in their countries to still see the action.
Of course, we’ve just seen the biggest single-sport competition in the world return to dazzle people around the world on TV, the FIFA World Cup. The 2023 edition in Qatar is said to be smashing viewership records thanks to the novel time of year for its play, and while TV was dominant in 2018, the tournament in Russia showed a heavy live-streaming audience that will only grow this year. Over 231 million people were counted as out-of-home and digital-only viewers, according to FIFA.com, with the prominence of live streaming in 2023 bound to set a new record for this stat.
Even though the sports industry has even seen the release of dedicated new platforms that aren’t present on TV and only live stream, such as DAZN and Viaplay, the biggest form of live streaming in terms of viewers and contributors is on Twitch. YouTube also has live streaming functionality, but Twitch is the dominant force, becoming a haven for video games like Warframe and its fans who live stream gameplay, and some who just want to chat within a community. At the time of writing, around 2 pm ET, there were over 70,000 channels currently live and 2.35 million live viewers, according to the Twitch Tracker.
In some ways, Twitch could be starting to be classed as a kind of social media, but one that is all about live streaming. Traditional social media platforms like Facebook.com, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn.com, however, have also jumped into the live-streaming game. In 2020, it was found that Instagram Live shot up by 70 percent in just one month. Last year, global engagement with live-streaming content was expected to surpass 550 billion hours.
Live streaming tech advancing at an incredible pace
For the most part, mainstream live streaming is a passive activity for the users, watching something happen on the other side of the screen and using chat features. In the entertainment medium of online casinos, live streaming has been taken to the next level. By using a live stream and some specialized equipment like a game control unit, real table games like roulette can be played by anyone in the world in real time.According to Betway.com, going live has proven very popular for the platform and the hosts of the games, expanding beyond casino staples like blackjack to Live 9 Pots of Gold, Live Football Card Showdown, and Live Boom City.
This additional layer of immersion and active participation with the content of the live stream is proving to be game-changing, both in the way that it’s brought new games to casino platforms and in the tech’s ability to attract customers. In the live shopping streams, customers engage with the host, ask questions, and can buy items shown in the video there and then as part of the live stream. Being able to interact with the core product in this way adds a degree of impulsiveness to the fear of missing out, which drives so many people to click on events when they live stream.
The application of live streaming tech in live commerce and live casino currently presents the most advanced mainstream uses, delivering live content while also making it possible for viewers to actively engage at the same time. For future advancements, there’s certainly a space that could emerge through live streaming for physical board gaming, allowing people to play with others via the internet if the software can also track and relay game events at the same time. Online learning, such as cooking classes, could also build up through live streaming with some specializations to allow the host to easily check on the progress of learners in real time.
Over the next five or ten years, live streaming will only grow in prominence thanks to widespread adoption and savvy new creations that leverage the tech in new ways.