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We're Talking About Streaming

Cian Duffy
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Streaming! It means a lot of different things,

so much so that Merriam-Webster doesn’t really tell you what it is. (No offense M-W, you’ll always have social distancing.)

Streaming is the transmission of audio and video from a host to your device. Netflix, Apple Music and YouTube are all streaming platforms, and the efficient method opposed to downloading. (Ugh, remember downloading? Remember floppy disks? Remember walking to school, uphill, BOTH WAYS? Thank god that’s over!) The word streaming is an umbrella term and, when used informally, it can get kind of confusing. You can blame the platform Twitch for that.

Twitch is a live-streaming platform that first gained popularity in the gaming community. Twitch allows people to play video games live and invites viewers to participate in a chat feature. Twitch launched in 2011 and saw substantial growth in 2014 when it became an Amazon subsidiary.

Unless you’re a huge gamer, you’re probably wondering, “What does this six-year-old platform have to do with me?” Well, we’re glad you asked (and stuck around this long). The rise of live stream views has tripled since lockdown started, with 1.1 billion hours of content watched over Twitch. People like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Terry Crews and Post Malone have all streamed on Twitch. Twitch is no longer just for gaming. There are tons of categories beyond video games. Comedians, sports fanatics, podcasters and musicians are all on Twitch. Our very own Gen Xer Kris Mariani tunes in to Trey Anastasio’s Beacon Jams stream often (so it must REALLY be catching on).

Love statistics?

Yeah, we didn’t think so, but here are some that may be of interest to you anyway. They certainly are to us:

  • Live streaming is supposed to become a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
  • It makes up 1.8% of US peak internet traffic (for reference, Facebook takes up 1.5% and Hulu takes up 1.7%).
  • 80% of people said they would rather watch a live video from a brand than read the brand’s blog.

Okay, that last one hurt a little bit, but nonetheless, live-streaming is another way of engaging with your community and it’s growing fast. In the age of Zoom calls, virtual events and all things online, live-stream platforms like Twitch could be just the thing your organization needs. Not only is live-streaming a strategic tool because it’s in its moment right now, but with easy integrations to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, impressions don’t end when your live stream does. That sort of lasting content generation is what all brands should be working towards.

So the next time you have a virtual event, promotion or other going-on that requires the internet, consider what Twitch or another live stream platform could do to elevate your brand’s presence.

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