The Proliferation of Live Streaming Technology Across the Web
It’s incredible to think just how far live streaming technology has evolved in the last decade. The way in which smartphone and tablet devices have been developed to handle streaming – at higher video quality and streaming speeds – has enabled a plethora of industries to embrace the value of on-demand content. The technology has grown to such an extent that Research & Markets believe the global streaming industry to be worth $70 billion by the end of this year.
Live streaming has not only helped drive the information and entertainment age. It’s also become an agile form of digital marketing, bringing brands to life on screen. Below are five of the key industries that have made the most of live streaming technology in recent years.
Live streaming has changed the way we consume news. In fact, news channels and broadcasters are now accessible at any time, anywhere. No longer do individuals and households have to sit and wait for the 6 o’clock news. News broadcasts are accessible to stream via news apps 24/7. It’s even possible to use live streams to keep up to speed with the latest current affairs. In the UK, BBC News live streams most of the important political events, including Prime Minister’s Questions.
Similarly in the US, millions of viewers tuned into live streams of former US President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. It wasn’t just through the traditional US broadcast platforms either. The official White House website was offering a free, HD-quality live stream to viewers worldwide. Some of the live streams of news broadcasts also enable viewers to engage and interact with others via live chat functionality, allowing users to discuss key events while they unfold.
Live streaming isn’t just used for informational purposes, it’s also used for commercial and marketing purposes too. Social media’s warm embrace of live streaming has made it possible for brands to use live streaming as a way of engaging with their target demographic. Live streams can showcase a brand’s personality and expertise, helping to turn prospects into customers and customers into long-time brand advocates.
YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have been the major players in the world of live streaming on social media, but LinkedIn has also grown in recent years as a serious source of live commercial broadcasts offering engaging B2B content. TikTok is another live streaming platform that can create short-form content to cater for millennial and Gen Z demographics. At the end of the day, today’s customers don’t give their loyalty lightly. Live social media streams facilitate meaningful connections between brands and consumers.
Many people visit land-based casinos for the social experience. A chance to sit down and chat with like-minded people and play a few casino games along the way. In many ways, live streaming technology has enabled users to achieve this all from the comfort of their homes in the form of live casino games, streamed to users worldwide. Most table games operated by live dealers offer multiple camera angles as you play, while the real-time chat boxes make it possible to talk with the dealers and fellow players.
Live streaming technology for online casinos is underpinned by optical character recognition (OCR) technology. You may have previously thought of OCR as a means of converting images or documentation into a fully editable digital file. These specialist OCR cameras work slightly differently as they are designed to monitor the in-game data quickly and accurately from cards and wheels so that it can be relayed on-screen in real time. Without OCR, live dealer casinos wouldn’t be able to replicate the high-octane, dynamic environment of a land-based casino. The live streams also offer HD-quality visuals using either Wi-Fi or 4G connectivity on desktops, laptops and mobiles.
Evolution gaming and the Playtech company both operate their own live casino studios across Europe, using live streaming technology and employing hundreds of professional real dealers, managing live casino games in real time. They have contracted with the leading online operators to provide branded live casino rooms and tables. 888 Casino is the only operator that have signed agreements with both Evolution and Playtech to provide over 200 live casino games, making it what they call: “The capital of live gaming”.
It was only a decade ago that sports fans had to rely heavily on terrestrial and satellite television broadcasters for their live content. On many occasions, these broadcasters were only contractually obliged to showcase the events after it had been played. Fast forward to 2021 and it’s clear that live streaming now has a seat at the top table of live sports broadcasting. The major satellite networks like Sky and FOX Sports make it possible for fans to engage with their broadcasts via live streams on computers and mobile devices, thanks to fully responsive apps that work flawlessly with 4G or Wi-Fi connectivity.
Sports fans can access live streams of their favourite tournaments and events on multiple platforms now. Many of the leading online sportsbooks have also secured streaming rights with the major broadcasters, enabling sports bettors to watch live streams through their favourite bookmakers providing their accounts are funded. eSports is another emerging sport that’s taken live streaming to new levels. Twitch is the primary platform for the burgeoning eSports community, which attracts millions of millennial and Gen Z viewers on a daily basis.
It would be remiss to discuss the proliferation of live streaming without the rise of on-demand entertainment platforms. Video-on-Demand (VoD) brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime have become entertainment producers in their own right in recent years. Both platforms regularly invest in and produce their own shows and movies, exclusively for their subscribers. Thereby creating a closed shop for on-demand entertainment that consumers must pay for in the same way as the big screen movies at the cinema.
Between 2020 and 2025, the VoD global marketplace is forecast to expand with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 12%. The figures from Reportlinker.com suggest that Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) has the most scope for growth in the industry, as the increasing availability and speed of fibre broadband solves the issues of latency issues that have formerly plagued this vertical.