As I’ve been saying all along, live streaming is difficult. A lot more difficult than it looks because there are just so many factors involved. And high profile live streaming debacles usually bring this issue to the forefront time and again.
This time, it was the 2015 Oscars broadcast. On top of its 6-year-low TV ratings, the live streaming had its own hiccups. For some online viewers, the Oscars live streaming was suddenly interrupted with the movie “The Social Network” which was the programming from the night before. Although it was temporary, it was the second year in a row that ABC had trouble live streaming the Oscars properly. But even with these technical difficulties, as Jeanine Poggi at Ad Age pointed out in her article linked above, advertisers believe live streaming is where they need to be.
So, why is live streaming so important to advertisers?
Live Streaming Is All About Mobile. Live streaming is the de facto technology when it comes to delivering video content to mobile devices. No one has to be convinced that more and more people across the demographics are consuming video content on their mobile devices. The overall cellular networks are getting broader and faster, and the mobile devices are becoming more powerful, being able to process video content better than ever. Nowadays, when we say digital, it means mobile. All these factors are coming together as a perfect storm effect, making the mobile platform an essential advertising platform.
Live Streaming Is Big Data. Live streaming is over the Internet, which means it’s all data, big data. The analytics behind live streaming is an advertisers’ dream. Marketers thrive on data, and unlike traditional broadcasting that relies on often-not-so-accurate ratings services such as Nielsen, live streaming provides viewership data in more ways than ever before. And because of this, advertisers can target their segments effectively and prove their performances once and for all. Numbers don’t lie, and numbers are what make live streaming relevant for advertisers.
Live Streaming Can Be Interactive. The millennials, the holy grail demographic of advertisers, don’t want to be sold to. They want advertisers to personally connect with them and show them how their products and services matter in their lives. This “brand connection” is what live interactivity is all about. Because live streaming happens within the Web environment, we can make it truly interactive, so that online viewers can engage and interact in real-time with what they are watching. From the simple example of social chat integration, where online viewers can talk to one another as they watch a live streaming event together, to the more elaborate example of telerobotics, where online viewers can actually remotely control something that is part of the content being live streamed, live interactivity takes online advertising to the next level.
The fact is that live streaming difficulties will continue even with the best equipment and most reliable of streaming networks because it relies also on Internet connectivity on the online viewer’s end, which often can be unpredictable. But what live streaming offers far outweighs the growing pain that it’s going through. And smart advertisers know it.