We live in a constantly changing world – revolutionary changes in technology are a day-to-day occurrence, the “next big thing” is always around the corner. Live video streaming is no exception. With mobile internet becoming more widespread, and 3G and 4G internet taking over the landscape, video streaming is poised to replace broadcast television as we know it.
Video content is already becoming increasingly popular online. Facebook has reported 1 billion video views every day since June 2014. 50% of the people visiting facebook every day watch at least one video.
The internet, in addition to moving to a media-centric approach, is moving towards mobile and smart devices.
As per Ooyala’s reports, as of September 2014, smartphone and tablet views make up over 30% of all the video plays online.
Cisco claims that consumer internet video traffic will form around 80% of all the consumer internet traffic by 2019. So what exactly is coming up next ?
Big social media players are already vying for a piece of the cake – each with a different approach.
March this year saw social media giant Twitter releasing it’s video streaming app “Periscope”. Periscope lets it’s users record and broadcast live video from wherever the users are – their laptop, tablet or even from their phone. The offering has a certain ephemeral appeal to it – letting users immediately create and share their ideas with their Twitter following anywhere. The makers claim that it it will allow users a “visual periscope” into this world.
Envisioned uses include:
- Personal moments from your child’s first step to adulthood
- Broadcast of live events directly to Twitter feeds
- Sharing of protests, and all sorts of large-crowd events
With competitors like Meerkat (Which has already gained voiced support from the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Jared Leto) already in the market; it remains to be seen if twitter is up to the challenge. It’s army of dedicated followers twitting their every daily occurrence is nothing to be scoffed at. Periscope’s strength lies in it’s complete immersion in the Twitter feed – from live streaming to your followers to integration with the Social Graph, allowing for viral discovery and endless scrolling through hours and hours of related videos.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network and phenomenon, is not sitting on the sidelines. A new version of the Facebook video feature is now being deployed, allowing for live streaming of content to the “Wall”, which is geared towards celebrities and organizations with large followings to stream directly to it’s nearly 1.5 billion user base, who log onto Facebook every to show us their cat, latest selfies and opinions.
With an already existing user base and cult following, can competitors really stand up to the social media giant?
YouTube Red. Advertising was always the big word at at YouTube, which, over the last 10 years, has grown from a random collections of funny videos and low-quality video content to one of the largest online services in the world. The service is on pace to earn around $5 billion in revenue this year. But starting now – YouTube is not all about advertising anymore. The service is rolling out its biggest change yet: a monthly subscription offering that removes ads from the equation.
For 9.99$ a month, users will get:
- Ad-free access to all content on YouTube
- For the first time ever — the ability to download and watch videos offline
- New, exclusive content available on YouTube will now be put behind a paywall
- Free access to Google Play Music
For a nearly identical price to Apple Music and Spotify, Google is now offering access to an additional video streaming service to sweeten the package.
Netflix, hulu and HBO GO are already in the game, controlling a staggering share of the US online traffic. With simpler profit models and classic content we are already used to in broadcast television, online services are pushing broadcasters out of the game by affordable pricing and immediate availability of content-on-demand. Instead of the push-and-shove of competing networks for control of primetime viewership – online content providers let you watch content as much as you want, and when you want.
Whether this kind of traditional television will compete with, complement or cooperate with more social providers remains to be seen.
In a way, while Twitter and Facebook are pushing for a modern, viral, ad-based content system – Google has taken a step back and is letting users watch videos offline, and get their content in a more traditional subscription-based service, not very different from Netflix and Hulu. Google’s chief business officer – Robert Kyncl – comes from a history of management work for both , so with such talent – it is no surprise google is trying out new waters. This is a massive step away from the way google traditionally does business, and it remains to be seen how the public will react to the change.
How is all this competition going to affect you, the user ?
Netflix and Hulu have been making waves for a while, and are already on their way to knock out the traditional cable providers out of the game. With the market becoming less and less profitable for content providers, eyes are moving towards new technologies and opportunities.
What YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are doing are only the beginning – content creation is slowly going to go back to the masses, with the public having more of a saying about what it wants to watch and pay for:
- Since Netflix, Hulu and YouTube Red make their money from subscriptions, control of content is going to go back from the advertisers to the artists, and tv-viewing public (HBO, Netflix productions)
- With new revenue models, allowing for people outside the Hollywood eco-system to get in the game – content will become more diverse
- A new approach needs to be found balancing the demand for cheaper content from the public, and the finances needed by artists to make high-quality content
Freedom of content is becoming more and more widespread.
Sharing-based technology based on the Bittorrent technology is now being adopted by content distributors such as NetFlix shared streaming, allowing for more power and freedom in the hands of streaming providers, augmenting the power of social media providers such as Facebook and YouTube. Content and it’s distribution is becoming more social and exposed. The social nature and sharing of video gives many people information about what you watch (as in sharing-based streaming you may connect to hundreds of different people directly without you knowing). Balancing public power and privacy is paramount:
- Only browse websites you trust to keep you private, and free from viruses
- Be a smart consumer, and support content you love by purchasing and supporting the artist
- Always remember, public sites keep information about you. If privacy is your concern – privacy oriented services such as Seedr are here to help
Stay sharp, and enjoy the advancements ahead!