The next generation of live video streaming

March 30th, 2015

Kaboom! That is the sound of the live video streaming market over the last few weeks. Why? Why has it “suddenly” exploded with interest when live video streaming, even the one-to-many applications like we’re seeing with Meerkat and Periscope, has been around for years?

I’m not sure there is a single answer. I believe it is a bit more composite. Bandwidth, mobile device saturation, video quality, networking making word-of-mouth faster than ever, and the App Store. All of these are likely factors in how both of these applications have seemingly gotten more attention than their predecessors.

I saw a tweet from Dave Pell that seemed to also be a factor in why people are watching these completely random non-professional video streams: “Live TV is dead. You’re lonely.” — he wrote.

Lonely? Maybe. Bored? Most likely.

On Saturday morning while sitting on the couch I found myself thumbing through the list of live streams on Periscope. I tuned into an NYC tour bus, watched a few cats chase some lasers, learned how to make corn dogs, and saw a whale off the coast of Hawaii all in a matter of a few moments. Relative to just 20 years ago this was an amazing feat. But valuable?

I did so because I had nothing else to do and had no desire to turn the TV on. Will this passive time-wasting entertainment portion of Periscope’s usage be its path to being on every person’s mobile device? Doubtful. No doubt it will have huge moments during elections, tragedies as we saw in New York City, sporting events, etc. but what I’m waiting to see is how both Meerkat and Periscope craft their applications to steer usage.

Should be an interesting next 12 months.