Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world in 2020, we have all had to find new ways of living while containing the spread of the virus. But again, technology came to the rescue by allowing us all to work from home and stay in touch with our loved ones through video calls.
Quickly, video parties and hangouts became the “new normal” and live streamed concerts where artists performed remotely and audiences attended from the comfort of their homes. This was a creative response from the entertainment sector, as social distancing measures included a limit on attendees at physical venues or a complete ban on in-person events.
According to Cisco research, video traffic will quadruple by 2022, with video accounting for 82 percent of all web traffic. As a result, the appetite and demand for new ways to explore content has increased, and live streaming is expanding to meet consumer needs.
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Broadcasting in its purest form is the act of broadcasting by an individual, a group, or an event via live video.
Brands are realizing how beneficial live video can be in connecting with users and their target audience, opening the door to live commerce, which sells products online through live video, and social commerce, which sells products online. online through social networks. The entertainment industry is no different: live video presents a unique opportunity for artists to perform in front of their audiences and interact in real time.
It goes beyond a pre-recorded show by allowing fans to comment and like while the show is in progress, and artists can see those comments immediately and interact directly with the audience. In addition to this, live streaming allows for a wider audience without borders, thus increasing reach.
Before the live broadcast, artists and fashion brands would record their shows and post them online for viewers to watch later. Live streaming revolutionized this format by allowing real-time interaction. While recorded content will be available later as video, interactions happen in real time with comments, shares, and likes.
Such interaction adds value to shows, and many companies and artists have introduced virtual tickets to incorporate monetization and offer exclusive content for subscribers only. This also allows for the introduction of new features, such as AR, VR, and live shopping.
Live shopping is a growing trend and several brands are embracing it, such as big box retailers TUMI and Zalora. Additionally, other key players have entered the live streaming space early on, recognizing its potential.
Viewers and recipients of live video have evolved over the last decade, and it really took off in China. Most of us are aware of how China uses live streaming and how it started as a social engagement where people could go and interact with their friends, family and even build a small fan base.
Ten years ago, it was the main source of income for small live streamers and influencers in China. It has become an immensely popular virtual gifting platform throughout Southeast Asia.
There is much to be learned from how China uses live video capabilities; For example, the most popular Chinese live streamers built their base by constantly posting live videos and engaging their audience. Most of them know their loyal fans by name and remember to call them during each live session.
It is exciting to see how live streaming has become a unique opportunity for live trading around the world, adding more interactive capabilities. The benefit here goes both ways, as the host can display and describe the products in detail. At the same time, the audience can ask questions and get a complete view of the merchandise, creating a smarter and more personalized shopping experience.
These features can contribute to a more immersive and authentic experience and encourage higher purchase intent from viewers. The key difference between live commerce and traditional e-commerce is that it allows brands to engage in more authentic interactions, build trust, and improve brand awareness.
The rise of live commerce stems from consumer demand, and today’s shoppers are more discerning about what they look for in an online shopping experience as there are multiple options to choose from.
Armed with good content and high-quality live video streams, retailers can take advantage of growing consumer interest in “retail entertainment” experiences. Furthermore, social commerce is also on the rise. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since everyone now has a social media presence, why not sell through social profiles?
An eMarketer report forecasts that US social commerce retail sales will grow 34.8% to $36.09 billion in 2021, representing 4.3% of all eCommerce retail sales. This is particularly useful for digital influencers who can show products to their followers through their social accounts and quickly sell them through the social stream.
This shows that live streaming is no longer seen as a hype but a necessity for businesses, who recognize how increasing their digital capabilities can be essential to keeping consumers engaged and loyal to their brands.
While social media strategies for eCommerce businesses have been evolving, live streaming can complement them, and many brands are exploring it as a source of engagement and outreach. For example, if they have videos streaming on Facebook, the social platform actually promotes live streams much more than regular content in the news.
So it’s an easy way to gain traction when someone comments on a Facebook Live stream, because when your friend comments, it’s likely to be seen by many more people. That’s a great way to get involved, and a natural next step for brands would be to have their own live streaming feature to complement existing digital properties.
In addition to the digital strategies of brands, personalized live streaming platforms are very useful. It maintains specific brand elements making them more recognizable and allowing secure payment directly through the personalized platform.
These trends also come into play now, making the audience part of the content when it comes to the entertainment sector.
Many features can be implemented to encourage engagement and generate revenue, such as incorporating patron trading during concerts, virtual giveaways for artists during performance as additional monetization (especially if the live streamed concert is free), and the use of polls to request songs from the audience for the artists to sing.
In addition to scaling new monetization channels, artists can create better content and understand user behavior through data. For example, they can analyze the most popular songs or the most engaged parts of the live stream and fully understand their fans and what they are looking for.
It is essential to note that other verticals within entertainment can benefit from live streaming shows. For example, while musicians may have found it a way to maintain revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, fashion brands have also benefited from connecting with their customers when brick-and-mortar stores were closed.
However, the trend continues even as restrictions are lifted around the world. Live streaming has proven to be an innovative way to engage with audiences, and the fashion industry is ready to continue exploring it.
Some innovative campaigns include offering a members-only behind-the-scenes look at model preparation and live Q&As with models, which can increase member sign-ups for this type of exclusive live streaming look.
Additionally, live streaming platforms can be developed to meet the specific needs of the artist and brand with highly personalized features for their users. Louis Vuitton, for example, presented its Autumn-Winter 2022 Women’s Collection through a live broadcast on March 7, 2022 from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and reached 130 million viewers.
It is worth mentioning that non-profit organizations can also benefit from live streaming. Create a new channel to connect with people who want to help more and eliminate the geographical barrier, since anyone can donate from anywhere in the world with a simple click directly through the live broadcast.
All the new possibilities offered by live streaming showed that innovation is here to stay. Brands are accelerating digital transformation, while artists are embracing new ways to connect with fans and generate revenue. At the same time, it is clear that users are hungry for new and more engaging content, opening new avenues for remote content production to ensure audience demands are met.
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