When you think of online video, what comes to mind?
Very few answers will fail to mention YouTube and we all understand why. YouTube’s dominance can be traced back to the “B” word; “B” as in “billions.” Consider the music video Gangnam Style by Korean rapper Psy. It holds the distinction of being one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time with nearly 3 billion views.
With YouTube’s user base of over a billion people who watch millions of videos each day, it’s hard not to mention YouTube as a leader of online video.
The combination of better technology and social media outlets like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat enabling live video capabilities allows consumers to embrace video, despite its uncertain place in the market.
A report from last quarter sheds light on what some call an up-and-coming video platform. Facebook, just universally recognized as YouTube, actually outdid its competitor in the following way: 21 percent of internet users in the U.S. reported watching live video on YouTube while 14 percent used Facebook Live last June. By November of last year, 16 percent reported using YouTube while 17 percent used Facebook.
Start-ups and other online companies failed where sites like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and other social media sites are gaining ground in the uncertain world of live streaming. Facebook Live was pitted against Snapchat Live Stories and Twitter’s Periscope and still came out on top. In addition, Facebook Live was the only platform that increased in reported viewership over the months it was tracked.
During this observation period, the total number of viewers did drop off slightly, but it’s not entirely clear as to why or due to a lack of authentic or quality content.
Unlike any other medium, video has the unique power to draw its viewership in with captivating and sometimes raw imagery. The same holds for live video, which can be unpredictable, but no less engrossing. Just recently, for example, the nation sat on the edge of its seat watching two baby American bald eagles begin to hatch in Fort Myers, Florida. And it was all thanks to a live camera.
So there’s no surprise that Facebook pushes the idea to publishers to create video content. But it’s also asking individuals to do the same. Whether it’s to find the next Candace Payne, AKA, Chewbacca Mom, or capture an entire audience and upend its mood, Facebook knows there’s a bigger and brighter future in live streaming.
And while all these details about the best platform and where the best content will come from are ironed out, it’s important to note that this type of outreach is still in the niche category. Consumers are not yet accustomed to how it works exactly depending on the various sites they visit. No trend is clearly going in one direction or the other. Despite these uncertainties, there’s no way to ignore a good video and live streaming may be here to stay.