Say the word “livestream” to someone and they will immediately think of streaming concerts live, but there is an entire content category that goes by “livestreaming” and it’s about to become the next major social content platform.
Livestreaming first gained attention in a major way when Meerkat launched at SXSW 2015. It was an app that enabled the user to stream video live from their mobile phone at the touch of a button. No special equipment was needed, and it was structured like a social network so you could alert friends that you were broadcasting. Not sure what to broadcast, most people stuck to filming events happening around them and providing commentary. A chat window allowed for viewers to respond. A week later, Twitter acquired livestream rival Periscope, cut off Meerkat’s access to the Twitter social graph, and launched Periscope as a Twitter product. With Periscope informing your Twitter followers whenever you went live, the number of viewers, and thus the number of streamers, rocketed.
Livestreaming had already become a phenomenon in the gaming world with Twitch, a site where gamers played live while viewers watched and learned. Twitch had sold to Amazon in August of 2014 for $800 million. But, Periscope and Meerkat were the first to make it easy to broadcast from your phone and to open it up to any topic. That made it fair game for anyone.
Since then, a number of livestream services have emerged. In the Gen Y/Z demo, there’s YouNow, Live.Me, and Live.ly. In music, there’s Streamup, Ampli.fi, and Krue.tv. Facebook recently launched Facebook Live to the public and YouTube is slowly enabling certain accounts to use its livestream function. There are many, many more, some even in niche categories like food, and they are all trying to attract broadcasters and users alike.
Rather than be exhaustive with comparing and contrasting the services, this report takes a look at what makes livestreaming special and how broadcasters can grow audience along with revenue. Some highlights include:
- How livestreaming is different from other forms of broadcasting and from social content networks in general
- How to be successful on livestream services as a broadcaster
- The differences between the revenue models of the livestream services
- How to make money as a broadcaster
Top photo: © Gettyimages / Weedezign