Over last one week we have seen couple of key announcements related to live streaming. First was shutting down of Blab.im and that was followed by changes to Google Hangout On Air. Both these announcements are being debated about widely in various live streaming communities.
Most of us are talking on what went wrong with those two platforms and what can we see going further. But before we go there, let’s see what has been happening so far.
Glance at Live Streaming Universe
Some stats –
- Periscope has over 10mn users
- Periscope has over 200 million broadcasts so far
- Everyday, over 110 years worth of videos are watched on Periscope
- Blab had over 3.9mn users
- Average daily user viewed blab for 65 minutes
While live streaming was already popular with Crowdcast and Google Hangouts, it came to prominence with the launch of mobile platforms like Meerkat and then Periscope. The ease of doing live video by tapping on your devices and reaching out to wider audience was a power brands could hardly fathom.
Then came Blab.im, a platform that could live stream with 1-4 participants along with it’s iOS app and desktop interface. It was also tech light, which made many Google Hangout users to switch loyalties.
But now, by this time of the year, live streaming universe is dotted with multiple players – Periscope, Facebook Live, Firetalk, Huzza, Crowdcast to name a few and each of them offer more or less the same kind of functionality and few extensions too.
So we believe that the combination of mobile app + social + tech light has done wonders to the live streaming universe and is giving rise to many live streaming stars, each good in their own niche.
Then where is the challenge?
The first and foremost challenge is – ‘listening to community‘. For someone like me who were doing an occasional Periscopes but more Blab based shows, the announcement of shutting down Blab was quite sudden. Though it was not surprising given the way folks at Blab had stopped listening to the community since early 2016.
We often heard people having trouble signing in or unable to download or even asking for updates on certain features. Most of the time, they hit the wall with their queries, so many of us could see it coming. The only question was when.
The second challenge is ease of use. Many folks had migrated to Blab or similar providers from Google Hangout to host multi-participant shows because of the ease at which they could do those shows. These platforms were tech light and as easy as login & start show or login & join or just view the stream. And with mobile apps, most of them were able to go live tapping few buttons on the device.
Third and BIGGEST challenge – ‘Quality of content‘. While folks using Google Hangouts or paid platforms like Crowdcast gave out best content, free platforms like Blab or Periscope were often serving out crappy content. And that is exactly what Shaan Puri spoke about on the last post about Blab. According to him and which is true, many people were just ‘hanging around’ and broadcasting. That really doesn’t add any value to either the platforms or the followers.
What next for live streaming?
The churn is for real and I wish the best platform wins. And the platform that will be able to provide ease of use, quality content, easy integration with tools, mobility will be the winner.
And indeed, live streaming is not going away, so if you’re still sitting on the fence, it’s a good time to pick up platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope or Google Hangout and start engaging with your audience.
For starters, Google Hangout is not going away but just the integration with Google+ is moving to Youtube. Which means, few functionalities like Q&A might not work on the new integration. Youtube Live should be the next platform to watch out for. Though my hopes are not very high given Google’s history of bungling on anything ‘social’.
Other platforms that I am betting on, apart from Facebook Live and Periscope are Crowdcast and Firetalk. Both are pretty similar to Blab and I see many of the regular Blab users already on those platforms.