We've been hearing that video content is the next big it thing for years. Video has definitely landed, with an added juicy bit called livestreaming. I must admit that I'm an instant gratification kind of gal and the idea of watching a broadcast unfold, sans edits or scripting is like a cold drink on a ridiculously hot morning.
Live-streaming isn't new; in fact, it's been around in one form or another since the 1990s. Sites like Ustream and Livestream have been around for years, but never before have we experienced the perfect overlap of smartphone technology and social media.
Facebook is leading the pack and investing big time. A few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced new live broadcast features--through a live broadcast, of course. In just a few short months, Periscope alone has accumulated over 15 million registered users and Youtube offers 360° live-streaming and 'spatial' audio for realistic surround sound.
Let's face it - Live-streaming video is cheap, highly engaging and easy to pull off.
Brands have traditionally spent billions of dollars on TV ads, billboards and print, but that focus has now shifted to digital media. Social media is more cost-effective and yields better results than the traditional methods. Social media is constantly evolving and tracking ROI is no longer a difficult task.
But what is it about live-streaming that's so appealing to people?
What you see is what you get
With so many edited images and videos, nothing is as it seems anymore. Live-streaming makes it much harder to paint a rose coloured image. I love a bit of unscripted reality tea and it feels good to know that what I'm watching is real. People want to see who you really are and feel like they are participating in a shared experience. According to Brandlive, over 90% of marketers say that the biggest benefit of live video is the authentic interaction it provides with their audience.
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
One of my new TV favourites is BBC's Inside the Factory. It provides exclusive access to some of the largest factories in Britain to reveal the secrets behind production on an epic scale. While the series isn't live- streamed, it's a perfect example of the type of bite-sized content that brands should be creating to engage with their audience. Live-streaming humanizes a brand in a way images and recorded video can't. It makes it easier to tell your story and to give access to your brand in a whole new way.
Last year, GE launched #DRONEWEEK on Periscope, broadcasting live video film by a GE-engineered drone flying from coast to coast.
Live video isn't just for big brands, it can be a great tool for organisations that have teams scattered across the globe. Live-streams are now being used to conduct team meetings, shareholder meetings, brief new hires, trainings and how-to's - the possibilities are endless.
Completely ad-free (for now)
Those annoying ads in the beginning of the video that you are forced to watch on YouTube? Not here, not yet. Facebook is testing short video ads that will play during breaks in Facebook Live broadcasts, but you can enjoy ad free streaming for the time being.
This is an area that I will be keeping my eye on. It will be interesting to see how the healthcare space uses live-streams. Dr Shafi Ahmed, a cancer surgeon at the Royal London Hospital who is pioneering VR surgery, broadcasted the first live surgery - in virtual reality few months ago.
Now I need to get back to a beach in Barbados, where a steel band is jamming in the sun.