VIDEO STREAMING PLATFORMS
Technology is something that has overruled the traditional methods of conducting business and also created opportunities which are being leveraged to create huge empires. Content is the driving factor in the digital economy, the way this content is being consumed through different platforms has brought in a new tangent to the marketing strategies, education, corporate working as well as entertainment platforms.
Streaming is one such method used to surf the content available on digital platforms. It has eliminated the need for downloading content, the only thing which is crucial in video streaming/live streaming is an internet connection. As the 4G and 5G technologies are coming into play, that won’t be considered as a problem to streaming. So what is streaming? How it has brought in disruption in many fields? Let’s try and understand this.
“Online video is the Swiss army knife of internet marketing. It really can be used all over the customer lifecycle, whether it’s customer service, marketing, or even recruitment.” – Mark Robertson
“Competing and streaming ‘Fortnite’ all night at the most iconic building in Chicago, a city close to my heart, is a dream come true” – Ninja.
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- Brand spends more than $90 billion on video content in 2018 and it will increase to $100 billion by 2023 – Forrester report.
- Revenue in the Video Streaming segment amounts to US$25,894m in 2020 –Statista.
- In the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment, the number of users is expected to amount to 1,306.8m by 2024 – Statista.
- Live streaming is going to be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021 – Neil Patel.
- 55% of enterprises are using live video for their company or division-wide broadcasts
- Globally, video traffic will comprise of 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021 – Cisco.
- “Facebook Livestream” search popularity has risen over 330% since Facebook live’s rollout.
- eLearning is expected to be worth $325 billion by 2025 – Forbes.
- A combined total of over 359.8 million hours were streamed on Twitch(Popular video game streaming platform) via Streamlabs in 2019
- In the lockdown period(1 March – 21 March), gaming witnessed a 41% increase in time spent while entertainment and OTT have registered a 34% increase – BRAND EQUITY
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Today, anyone with a fast internet connection can stream high definition videos and movies or make a video call. This is possible only because of the technology called “streaming”.
What is streaming? Streaming is a delivery method that continuously transmits audio or video files from a provider (Server) to end-user (client). It is an alternative to file downloading process in which end-user obtains entire content or file before listening or watching to it.
What is the difference between streaming and downloading?
We can relate these two terms with a real-life example of Lake Vs River. Downloading is more like a lake where, if audio or video file is downloaded it saves the content into a hard drive and it can be played once the data is downloaded and saved in the hard drive, similar to fetching water stored in a Lake. Unlike the lake, river water is continuously flowing and it can be related to streaming because the video or audio can be played and there is a continuous flow of data packets which are not downloaded and are just a part of the user’s browser history.
For better understanding, I have divided this article into 3 parts
- Video streaming (Including Live streaming and Video On Demand i.e. VOD) streaming
- Video game streaming.
- OTT Platforms.
Video streaming technology can be used in different areas.
There are two types of video streaming – 1. Live video streaming 2. Video-On-Demand (VOD)
What is a live streaming platform?
Live streaming is when the streaming media is sent over the internet in real-time without first being recorded and stored.
What are the platforms for live streaming?
- Live Streaming platforms for personal use:
Video conferencing apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Google Hangouts, Skype, Imo, HouseParty etc.
Live video tools like YouTube live, Instagram Live, Facebook live, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn Live.
- Live Streaming platforms for the Business purpose:
Private live streaming via video conferencing: GoToMeeting, Zoom, WebEx, Skype, Microsoft teams, etc.
Public Live streaming: IBM Cloud video, Dacast Livestream, Vimeo, Corporate YouTube, YouTube Live, Facebook live, etc.
Where can a business use live streaming platforms?
Most famous platforms for steaming, sharing and hosting content are Consumer-Focused platforms (B2C). YouTube live and Facebook live are considered heavy hitters in the market. Let’s see where businesses are using these platforms.
- Live Interviews and Live Q&A sessions with the CEO or top management of the company.
- Live product promotions for product launch marketing campaigns
- Live product launch employed by companies like Apple, Google and Honda are remarkable which results in the high conversion rate of customers.
- Live educational events and virtual training
e.g. Keynotes from CEO Satya Nadella at a Microsoft Inspire event pulled in thousands of viewers to Microsoft’s YouTube channel.
- Live Competition broadcast or live contest
- Live streaming events which are conducted using streaming platforms like Periscope, Ustream, 6Connex, On24.
- Education industry- Classroom sessions conducted for distance learning and knowledge sharing.
What is Video On Demand (VOD) streaming?
VOD is basically the opposite of live streaming giving users the opportunity to watch recorded videos at any suitable time from any Internet-connected devices. Unlike live streaming, videos and content are already recorded in video streaming.
Live Streaming Vs Video On Demand (VOD) streaming:
VOD consists of content that can be edited before it is published and it can easily go viral with VOD than with live streaming. One can record, edit, and preview the video in VOD, which is not a case in live streaming. There is room for improvement in VOD and not in live streaming.
Considering all characteristics of both live streaming and VOD technologies, many business aim to combine them. No matter what your preference is, knowing your audience is a good start for future engagement. The content you create should always be exciting and should have niche relevance. It’s the only way to build momentum and discourse around it.
What are the best video streaming platforms and their comparison?
With so many video streaming platforms in the market, it can be daunting to know which is right for you and your business. It can be decided on factors like monetization options, video API access, storage, secure video uploading, analytics, and more. With this one of the important thing we need to consider while choosing the right platform is whether it is used for B2B or B2C business.
Following are some of the popular platforms available in the market which are compared against some key features:
|Key Features||DaCast||IBM CloudVIdeo
|Entry-level Price||$19/month||$99/month||Not available on the website||$75/month||$49/month|
|Storage||20 GB||50 GB||50 videos||Unlimited||250 GB|
|Ad-free viewer Hours||300||100||Up to 8 hrs/yr of SD live streaming||Unlimited||1000 or 6000|
|No of channels||Unlimited||5 only||Custom||1 Only||Unlimited|
|Paywall||From $125/month||Not Available||Available||Available||Not Available|
|Geo Restriction||Available||From $999/month||Available||Available||Available|
|Password Protection||Available||Available||Available||Available||Not Available|
There are some other famous platforms like Phando, Livestream, Streamshark, Panopto, Kaltura. As per the requirement, you can choose the best suitable video streaming platform for your business.
Advantages of video streaming Platforms:
- Monetization – Streaming has many opportunities for monetization including paid webinars and boot camps, paid product reviews, affiliate offer, inserting advertising through the broadcast, selling broadcast to other publishers.
- Convenience – It doesn’t require downloading, memory space and provide instant viewing at anytime, anywhere. It allows flexibility to design and release marketing campaigns.
- Global Exposure – It enables businesses to reach global audience which helps in increasing their customer base and in turn reaps benefits for the business. Video streaming platform allows students to access information globally and reach out to teachers and subject experts globally from any remote location. You can build an entire community around you with your idea and the industry you are passionate about.
- Real-time interaction with customers – helps to build the trust of the audience or customers.
- Cost Reduction – Eliminates the cost associated to reach out to a wide customer base and large audience can be targeted deploying minimum funds. Time and money saved allows company to use it somewhere else for company’s growth.
- Analytics Tracking – With video streaming platforms, one can evaluate metrics like no. of viewers, behaviours and engagement to evaluate ROI of streaming one’s content and find out the customer interests or which customer to target.
Disadvantages of video streaming platforms:
- Streaming platforms can be accessed only if there is an internet connection.
- Reliability and equipment failures can cause significant barriers to adopting video streaming technology. Technical glitches might stem from software as well as hardware.
- It requires more bandwidth and this can be a major challenge when bandwidth is lacking especially in rural areas. Some people cannot afford the bandwidth from their service providers which is necessary to deliver the quality of service.
- Poor internet connection, poor resolutions, network congestion, and other IT issues can easily discourage the viewers to continue watching streaming videos or events.
- Online streaming also comes with a package of security concerns, to avoid that companies choose paid video streaming platforms which call for more capital investment. Subscription rates is another concern of video streaming platforms and their plans from basic to premium for security and other features.
One of the best and biggest thing happening in the gaming industry today is video game streaming, it has onboarded many game streaming platforms. Game streaming industry is growing and a community is getting developed of professional and amateur gamers. Gathering feedback, growing a community, and providing a platform to earn money form gaming where a hobby can be turned into an earning source is done by the game streaming platforms.
What is video game streaming?
Gamers record their gameplay and this recording can be viewed by visitors who visit the website (it can be live or a recorded gameplay), this is termed as video game streaming. Game streaming became popular in 2010 on platforms such as Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, and others. Software such as Open Broadcaster Software or XSplit are used by home computers to upload a live stream to Twitch’s servers.
Now, laptops which serve the purpose of gaming are available and have a ready to use a system which can be used for online streaming for games. High-end graphic cards and processors are used by manufacturers which gives better quality and connectivity for the online gaming experience.
Also there are dedicated apps for mobile devices which are used for viewing and streaming for consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are developed by Witch and YouTube gaming.
What are the most popular video games in-game streaming?
|PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)||Call Of Duty (Modern Warfare)|
|FIFA 20||Apex Legends||Hearthstone|
|Just Chatting||Dota 2||League of Legends (LoL)|
What are the best game streaming platforms?
Internet is full of live streaming platform, but your selecting the right one involves careful analysis. Some popular live game streaming platforms are:
- YouTube Gaming
Advantages of video game streaming Platforms:
- If you become popular, you can earn money and also there’s a chance to meet other famous streamers like Shroud, ChocoTaco, Ninja.
- Games can be promoted via these game streaming platforms. This is done by providing demos. Some of the marketers say that supporting your game with a demo actually reduces sales, but when it comes to gamer’s community, demos are often appreciated.
- Live game streaming provides liveliness and authenticity, it offers the viewers a chance to enjoy and access live content with ease with the facility to provide live comments.
- The major advantage of the game streaming platform is to be able to engage directly with viewers while the gamer is still producing live content.
Disadvantages of video game streaming Platforms:
- To stream your gaming content, having a Wi-Fi connection is primary or else your console won’t process the data smoothly, there will be patches or the gamer will go offline in between the stream. The Wi-Fi from where is the internet connection is sourced should be stable and should be strong enough to facilitate your streaming activities.
- You need to work through your legalities to add streaming content. Your ability to add content is based on the legal feasibility and other factors.
- If the consoles face any glitch, it might be hard to troubleshoot. A gamer who is not familiar with the usage of remotes for the console can face challenges.
- Digital products ownership is particularly tricky, Games have no distinction, game installed on a physical disc makes you feel like you own the game, while with game streaming, you are just renting it and don’t own it.
The future of game streaming is “Cloud game-streaming”?
Cloud is an alternative available for storage and “Cloud gaming” is a tech buzzword now. However, the central idea is that there is no need for gaming PCs or consoles with powerful graphics hardware.
All the processing and heavy lifting required will be done “in the cloud” and the input actions from keyboard, mouse, and controller are sent over the network to the cloud gaming server. The remote server performs will do all the heavy work and the gamer’s computer will only receive streaming video and audio.
It will allow game streamers to stream without actual hardware setup required for gaming. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Sony will be the key players in the cloud gaming war.
The world is fighting a global pandemic and lockdown was declared in many countries. So how are you surviving in lockdown? Is it by binge-watching? What strikes your mind when you hear the term binge-watching? I’m sure it won’t be any other than Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hotstar. OTT (Over – The – Top) platforms or video streaming platforms are one of the biggest gainers of the lockdown.
People search for entertainment options while staying home and this has resulted in a secular rise in OTT consumption across demographics and devices. There is a huge rise in the traffic witnessed on the OTT platforms because cinema halls remain shut amid lockdown.
As everyone is hooked to streaming content, producer’s and filmmakers are considering to take up OTT platforms to launch their movies and content, instead of waiting for theatres to reopen. There were times when a single television was shared in family and now families share Netflix account, the content has evolved.
To know more about OTT platforms in detail refer to the link: Future of OTT platforms
As discussed in the article about various types of online streaming and its growing importance in different sectors. Streaming has become an integral part of our lives where it has laid its foundation in home entertainment, gaming and also businesses. With the growth in technology, the adoption rate of online streaming platforms is increasing which calls for different players trying to cater this market, resulting in competition.
Choosing the right streaming platform serving one’s needs is very important and this can be done via the process of need assessment and evaluation against different parameters.
Streaming is the future and is causing disruption in many fields. Indeed it is the future for sector ranging from entertainment, education to business processes.
Author – Snehal Namade