Blogpost: Twitch, YouTube Live, Periscope, Meerkat… Live Streaming Apps & Online Services – Where Will They Take Us?
Live streaming is becoming a hot topic as the world speeds towards instant gratification and the ability to be as up to date as possible on worldwide trends and events. The ability to stream media has been alive and well for decades in the forms of elevator music, ticker tape and closed captioning, but the now common reference is to audio and video transmitted via the internet. With a quick Google search of “live streaming”, one can find a multitude of different topics from soccer games to video games to major events, giving anyone with an internet connection a front row seat to an occasion on the other side of the world.
So with so much to view out there, beamed live to your phone or tablet, where does this take us as a society?
Since it’s inception, live streaming has revolutionised the way the world can consume media in that the sender of the information need not wait until it’s fully transmitted before the receiver begins to view it. In the early to mid 90’s, for example, bands began to live stream their performances using multicasting, meaning they could be seen by millions of people worldwide instead of their live audience alone.
In recent weeks, live streaming has been a hot topic with the release of Periscope, owned by Twitter. This product, where you can literally live stream anything to your heart’s content to the entire world, was seemingly brought to the market to counter the love child of this year’s SXSW, Meerkat. Periscope, promoted to users as “seeing the world through someone else’s eyes”, has already become an extremely popular application allowing people to share important moments and events with friends and family who could be anywhere in the world.
On the flipside of this amazing technology is the unfortunate potential for television and film piracy. Just a few days ago, the internet was hyped by the anticipation of the return of Game of Thrones. When the first episode aired however, Periscope users began live streaming the program which was watched by millions of viewers throughout the world. In plain terms, this simply means that producers and networks could potentially lose an unprecedented amount of ratings and, as a result, money – if viewers have live streamed their favorite tv show, why do they need to watch it when it airs?
With live streaming so difficult to constantly monitor, is it a blessing or a curse?
I think it’s an absolute blessing and that it will forever change the way we will watch live events and that it’s another big blow to traditional TV broadcasting.