The dissemination of live videos on social networks is one of the biggest trends of 2016. To meet this trend, a growing number of applications and sites are integrating live stream capabilities into their platforms, allowing businesses and individuals to stream live videos to their communities. Video-hosting site YouTube recently announced its plan for a new live streaming app, joining the ranks of Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat who already offered these services to their users.
But how interesting is this phenomenon for professionals? What are the best ways to live stream videos on social media? Here's a brief introduction to the webcast trend that is taking over social media.
Video content is increasingly emphasized on social networks. At the beginning of the year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that 100 million hours of video were viewed each day on the social network.
Real-time information and the lure of video has led to an interest in broadcasting live images. Commonly referred to as live streaming, this image sharing has become a specialty for some smartphone applications, such as Meerkat and Periscope on Twitter, whom are completely dedicated to these broadcasts. Other applications, such as Facebook and YouTube are also exploring ways to integrate these functionalities into their platforms.
Live broadcasts offer a number of possibilities to both businesses and individuals. This more direct form of communication can facilitate the diffusion of news concerning a specific event, or even bring instant access to exclusive events to subscribers or contacts.
Despite its many benefits, live broadcasts also have some limitations. Without the opportunity to edit or screen content before it's released, poorly controlled distribution can be very damaging to a brand or personality (as was the case for soccer player, Serge Aurier). Subjectivity issues may also arise, especially if broadcasts are covering more controversial topics, such as political debates or religion.
Benefits of Live Streaming for Businesses
These new live image distribution tools address multiple needs for businesses. Webcasting opens the doors for consumers to get a "behind the scenes" look into a business' operations. This more personal form of communication can help a company build loyalty by offering an interactive experience to subscribers or fans.
In addition, this use of modern technology will have a greater appeal to digital natives, who are very active on these live stream channels. Broadcasts are a great way for brands to garner increased visibility and position itself as "innovative."
Ways To Stream Live Video
The list of live stream applications is both long and constantly changing. Today's most popular broadcast platforms include Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook Live Video, but other live stream tools such as Livestream and Ustream offer the opportunity to stream live broadcasts to more specific audiences. Here's a quick list of some tools you can use to stream live video.
Acquired by Twitter in March 2015, Periscope is a live streaming application that allows users to broadcast live videos to their subscribers, as well as view live webcasts. Broadcasters have the option of streaming publicly, or limiting their streams to a more specific audience. Periscope videos remain available for 24 hours following their release.
In August 2015, just four months after its arrival on Twitter, Periscope announced that it had hit 10 million users worldwide. According to the carrier, the equivalent of 40 years of videos are viewed every day.
Periscope is available on Android and iOS. A Twitter account is required for use.
Launched in March 2015, Meerkat allows users to broadcast live videos to subscribers. The application was originally available on Twitter, but can also be connected to a Facebook account.
Upon the release of Periscope, the application decided to block many of its features, resulting in a loss of use and viewership.
Meerkat is available on Android and iOS.
Since January 2016, Facebook has offered its users a "live" feature, which allows people to broadcast live streams by simply clicking on a dedicated icon on Facebook's interface. Live broadcasts via Facebook Live cannot exceed 30 minutes.
Facebook Live videos may be accessible to friends, customers, or to the general public, depending on user preference. Contacts and subscribers are notified of the live stream via Facebook notification, and an online counter keeps track of the number of spectators.
Facebook Live was initially rolled out to iPhone owners in the United States. The social network has since adapted its application to the Android operating system, and is currently rolling out the live stream functionality worldwide.
Pioneer of global live broadcast on its network, YouTube Live has offered a live stream functionality since 2011. Live streams may be viewed on YouTube Live's home page.