How far has live streaming come?

Back in the early days of the internet, ‘live streaming’ typically involved a cheap web-cam hooked up to a computer which broadcast low quality images. By today’s standards, the quality of streaming available even just two decades ago looks more like CCTV footage rather than something you might want to watch for fun. But with most of the world limited to painfully slow dial-up internet at the time, even this seemed like cutting-edge stuff.

Those days are long gone and today live streaming accounts for a sizable chunk of the total volume of internet traffic across the globe. With that said, it’s clear that live streaming video has taken the world by storm – something recent internet usage statistics clearly support.

The most interesting aspects of these figures relates to how live streaming is supplanting traditional media channels. And according to a survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, not only are 47% of the respondents to the survey watching more live streaming video than they were a year ago, but 44% were saying they are watching less live TV as a result of live streaming. This is a startling statistic, suggesting that in order to keep pace with the sorts of technologies younger generations are using, traditional media companies will have to find ways of branching out into the live streaming world.

One of the most disruptive companies in the live streaming space is Twitch—a brand that has now become synonymous with this new type of media content. Following an acquisition by the internet behemoth Amazon for just shy of a billion dollars, Twitch have established themselves as one of the main players in the live streaming space – currently boasting 3.8 million live streamers, 15 million daily viewers, with the total number of monthly viewers sitting at 140 million. This is just one platform however, and with Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube all featuring live-streaming features, competition is clearly beginning to heat up. These four tech titans are not the only popular streaming services in the Western market however, with many Asian equivalents such as WeChat posting numbers that blow Twitch well and truly out of the water.

But when it comes to what exactly people are watching on these streaming services, what sort of trends can we notice? The most popular category by far is online gaming. This covers everything from live video game tournaments to live casino games – and if you fancy, you can find out more about live casino sites on live casino page.

In fact, competitive gaming has become so popular that live tournaments are held in sports stadiums which attract thousands of fanatical fans all screaming for their favourite teams as they compete for million dollars prizes. The fact that live streamed virtual sporting events are now being played in sports stadiums to thousands of fans, while also simultaneously being broadcast online across the globe, shows the extent to which live streaming has become the new normal. And with the numbers growing exponentially on a month by month basis, we can only expect things to increase.

Written by Jonas Stenstrom

Jonas is one of the co-founders and lead producers of Untamed Science. He has a background as a marine biologist and science communicator. Jonas has spent several years travelling and documenting nature around the world. He is also the director for the Untamed Science Europe branch and international projects.

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