December 5, 2018

Live streaming trending while short form suffers


Live streaming is increasing in popularity as more viewers across the world are cancelling their cable subscriptions, says a recent report from research firm Nielsen.

The company said in its Video 360 report that 42% of the population in the US have now live-streamed online content; a significant rise from 25% in 2017. The most popular content is regular-season sports events, influencer-led steams, and television shows.

“Live streaming” (Public Domain) by State of the Net

Skinny bundles

The success of live streaming can thank, in part, the large number of web-enabled skinny television bundles that have come a long way over the past few years, tempting cable subscribers with flexible cancellation policies and low fees. YouTube, Hulu, PlayStation, DirecTV, and Dish all offer live television bundles.

The streaming video ecosystem is also a factor in the success of live streaming. As of 2018, 80% of the population have reported using either a streaming service or an app to watch online video during an average week.

Two groups that are enjoying streaming video are family movie franchise fans and superhero fans. Per Nielsen, 94% of the family movie fans stream video content weekly, while 89% of superhero fans do the same.

Super subscribers

This year has seen 66% of the population pay for a subscription video service, a rise from last year’s 63%. People subscribe, on average, to 3.1 subscription streaming services, according to the report. Superhero fans subscribe to 3.4 services, on average, while family movie franchise fans subscribe to 4.4 services. This suggests that these two groups are prime candidates for additional offerings, as well as such broader services as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

While the major online TV and film platforms have demonstrated the value of live content, streaming is also enjoying success in other industries. In the gaming industry, for example, online superstars are being made of gamers streaming their gameplay on popular platform Twitch, where viewers can watch, as well as interact with each other via chat.  Streaming has also taken off in sports betting, with any bookmaker worth its salt now offering live betting online alongside live commentary. In-play betting, as it’s also known, is available at the likes of Mr Green (see: https://www.mrgreen.com/ie/) and offers a more interactive and immersive way to enjoy sports, with players able to respond to the action unfolding on their screen.

Decline of short form

One victim of television streaming is short-form content. In the last three months, just 55% of the population has watched short-form video. That’s just a single percentage point rise from 2017.

It’s noteworthy that physical video purchases haven’t declined, in spite of the video streaming increase. In the past 12 months, 51% of the population have bought physical video, up from last year’s 48%. That eclipses digital download purchases, which account for 42 of the population in 2018, up from 41% the previous year. The fact that family movie franchise fans rank high among the buying public isn’t surprising. Many in that group said that pursuing certain titles is more important to them than the available format.

The study’s data was collected between April 15-23 and surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers.