Live Streaming

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Live streaming is the process of broadcasting real-time video and audio through an online medium. It is a new type of broadcasting medium that is rapidly increasing in popularity as technology is being more integrative in our daily lives. The viewership of live streaming channels is steadily growing, and is anticipated to grow even more as new generations shift from classic television to online media. Live streaming has changed the ways of how information is communicated within the social medium. Instead of watching pre-recorded shows, live streaming can generate a “bigger audience, increase online interaction between the users, open opportunities for new revenue, and being able to stand out from the crowd” [1]. There are currently many popular applications and trends such as Twitch Plays Pokemon (TPP), MukBang and Esports that use a platform to live stream their content. The development of the industry has allowed streamers to make significant earnings from broadcasting their passion. Internet and live streaming has definitely disrupted the Television industry. Many companies such as Amazon and Apple have different applications to provide streaming-video service in response to such a booming industry. Businesses are finding that along with the unique opportunities of live streaming come unique challenges and risks. These challenges and risks facing by copyright holders are the challenges posed by international communications and varying legislations, the copyright infringement risk, the exposure of sensitive or personal information risk, and susceptibility to attack risk; However, following some good security practices are able to mitigate these risks, such as maintain anti-virus software and install a firewall. Live streaming is also believed to bring out potential future applications both business and consumer wide as well as a change in how marketing is done. Future live streaming will integrate with wearables creating a new experience which also includes virtual reality applications. Implications and concerns are expected including data security, demand for unobtrusive wearables, privacy and possible adoption lag.

An example of a live stream channel


What is Live Streaming?

Video streaming involves users to download and view the video in a continuous flow, which allows playback of video content before entire files are completed. This is possible by using protocols to break video and audio files into smaller bits, which may be further compressed to allow for users to download smaller files for nearly instant viewing. Live video streaming applies the same concept of download streaming with upload streaming, which is alternatively called broadcasting. Live video streaming involves both instant upload and download of video content in real time.


1993: Xerox Parc Concert

1993 marked one of the most significant events that led to the beginning of live streaming. Garage band "Severe Tire Damage" performed at the Xerox Parc Concert at the Palo Alto Research Center [2], which the concert was broadcasted over the internet. At the current time, computer technology was no where near as rich as the state it is in today. Internet was still being connected through dial-up connection, 8 MB RAM was considered to be fast, and 66 MHz processors were almost of equivalent value of an Intel i7 today. From the technological point of view, we can already imagine the video quality that the live broadcast was in. However, this still marked a beginning for live streaming, and demonstrated potential for the new medium.

1994: Steve Mann and LifeCasting

In 1994, Steve Mann was the first person ever to do a continuous transmission of his everyday life. This was later given the term “lifecasting” [3], as they broadcast their life non-stop. This grew in popularity and became the “Cool Site of the Day” in 1995. In addition, this encouraged others to start lifecasting, which was what indicated the start of online live streaming.

1995: RealNetworks Baseball Game

Also in 1995, RealNetworks broadcasted a baseball game over the internet for the first time [2]. This was another major indicator for the success of live streaming, as the mainstream broadcast medium was still considered to be the classic television set. The broadcast was recognition of the potential of live streaming as another medium in the future.

1996: Politics and more Concerts

Starting in 1996, there was also live broadcasts from Marc Scarpa and the Tibetan Freedom Concert, as well as Bill Clinton broadcasting events from Townhall [2]. This is further indication and recognition of the potential and trend of live broadcasting becoming a strong medium. The events that were beginning to be broadcasted live were beginning to diversify, creating a variety for the online live streaming industry.

2007: Enter

2007 was the year in which live streaming became widely popular. A lifecaster, Justin Kan, began the website for his lifecasting channel [3], which also doubled as an online live streaming platform in general. Initially, the platform was open for application by potential broadcasters, to regulate the content that would be available on the site. Due to a large response of applicants, became an open network, and was home to 3200 broadcasting channels a mere 11 days after.

2011: The Game Changer:

As time went on, the gaming category became the most popular and frequently visited area. This led to the inception of in 2011, which is a branch from the original gaming channel category. Today, is the most popular e-sports streaming service in North America. The viewership of the website can only be compared against other online web titans such as YouTube and Netflix. It became so successful that was rebranded under Twitch Interactive, which in turn reflected that the growth of the gaming channel was significant enough to rebrand the entire business model to revolve around that operation. As of August 2014, was shut down, allocating all existing resources to Additionally, it was announced in September 2014 that Inc. would acquire Twitch Interactive as a whole for US$970 million. This signifies the major transformations that live streaming has undergone over the past 20 years. Live streaming started with humble beginnings as a mere lifecast channel, and has developed all the way to large audiences and acquisitions by major companies. The growth it has displayed so far cannot be ignored, and it will only continue to grow in the future as the new generation triggers a switch in the preference of broadcast mediums. [4]

Demographics demographics

Given that the applications of live video streaming and use cases are plentiful, its viewership is diverse. Though, its demographic can be better segmented by analyzing particular sources. Take for example. It is the market leader in live video broadcast platform and streaming viewership. The most popular content category in the platform is video games and technology content. In response, content viewership is in gaming so its viewers have a strong concentration of males. Its age demographic is also highly represented by those aged 18-24. Overall, its viewership is concentrated for those aged 35 and under. The concentration of young male viewers on makes it a well segmented for advertisers [5].

The viewership demographics reflect the platform content. The same could be reflected on those watching streams of cooking shows, sporting events, music events, or even adult entertainment content. On, the leading niche content is Mukbang, which is broadcasted eating. The content is viewed primarily by young professionals and the model is funded through “balloons”, which are internet tips or gifts of money.

Streamers: Who are they?

Sony E3 Press Conference

The host of the live stream is generally referred to as a “streamer”. While the majority of streamers are individuals, there are also companies such as Sony that uses live streaming to broadcast events such as product launches and convention events. One example is the Sony E3, which is a large scale annual press conference held by Sony. The event itself does not focus on Sony, rather it is a major convention for the video game industry. Many titans of the video game industry present their upcoming projects and previews of what will be released later on in the year, to gauge audience reactions. This event is also live streamed online, which acts as an additional indicator to account for the potential audience that could not attend the event in person.

Individual streamers consists of a very diverse population. There are no trends as to who would be likely to stream; It is an open platform for anyone to broadcast content, so long as the content is legal. Streamers are sometimes partnered with other organizations, which provides them compensation based on endorsements or ad revenue.

A Closer Look: Brian "TheOddOne" Wyllie

Highlight of One of TheOddOne's Streams

Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie is one of the most successful streamers on today. Being an ex-professional gamer for TeamSoloMid in the game “League of Legends”, he had gained fame and supporters for his activities. Now a retired gamer from the scene, Wyllie spends his day live streaming the game on a systematic basis. Out of a full week, you would most likely be able to catch him streaming from 12pm to 10pm, playing “League of Legends” or another game of his choice. Viewers would know when he is streaming through Twitter updates, or avid viewers can follow his channel on Twitch to get e-mail notifications when he goes online. For US$4.99 per month, viewers can get exclusive authorities in the chat room compared to free viewers. There are options to set the chat room in subscriber only mode, to filter away the free viewers who would be spamming messages, causing the room to flood with messages faster than you can read them. In addition, Wyllie occasionally organizes subscriber games to interact with his fanbase, as a mean to thank them for their support.

Streamers dedicate most of their time to broadcast their passion to their audience and fans. Wyllie spends most of his waking hours broadcasting to his fans, which makes one wonder how he sustains himself. Live streaming has grown enough for streamers to make a significant living out of their passion. Twitch offers their partners compensation based on ad viewership. For every 1000 viewers that view an ad, Twitch will pay their partner US$2.00 [1]. While this may not sound like an abundant amount, streamers with a large fanbase such as Wyllie gets a large amount of viewers consistently throughout the stream. In July 2012, Wyllie has an average viewership of 16,605 viewers and a total of 196 hours streamed that month [2]. By playing a short 1 minute ad on their stream, he can earn US$33.21 per hour with his viewership. Out of a 8 hour “work” day, he would make US$265.68 on ad revenue alone, which even includes his lunch break because his viewers will gladly watch him eat lunch and still interact with him in the chat room. In addition, half of the US$4.99 that viewers pay to subscribe to his channel is given to the streamer. This means that they make bonuses in addition to their above average hourly wage, if they have a large enough audience. You can find his latest streaming statistics here.

An individual stream is similar to a business. The streamer and the activity they are doing is the product, and as a streamer you must find a way to attract customers, who are the viewers in this context. Thus, each individual streamer must come up with a style of streaming to attract viewers to their channel. This can be done through various methods. Some streamers give away gift cards every hour, others attract viewers through constant interactions with their viewers. The streams with the highest viewers are mostly ones with constant interactions, and streamers with either intelligent or witty personalities. Intelligent style streamers provide insights in the activity they do, whether it be gaming or crafting, and bestows knowledge to their viewers. The witty style streamers keep viewers entertained by narrating their actions and making jokes along the way. Of course, there is no one definite route for success. There are other streamers that do a combination of styles to achieve success. However, it remains important that there is a point of attraction coming from the stream.

Live Television Broadcast Streaming VS Online Live Video Streaming

Popularity of Channel Types in Live Streaming

Live video streaming has existed as early as 1993, where the Xerox live video stream broadcasted the band “Severe Tire Damage” at the Palo Alto Research Center. It is not a novel technology but the technology platform took over 10 years to gain popularity. Its rising popularity can be attributed to faster broadband internet speeds, increasingly more affordable and accessible computers, and online platforms. As the bottlenecks in hardware and software are being reduced with improved technology, live video broadcasting and streaming are more accessible to the average consumer. In fact, live video broadcasting is even available on mobile devices with apps like Periscope and Meerkat. Live video streaming is filling gaps in media consumption that were never filled by conventional television before. Though, it may take another 5 to 10 years to gain ubiquity over live television broadcast as production value of the average broadcaster is lower than conventional television networks. Online live video broadcasting’s advantage over live television broadcasting is relevance; where it may fall short on production value, it can be more responsive and viewer-focused with its integration with social media.

Television is currently the dominant provider of media viewing in America. According to Nielsen reports, the average American spends 141 hours per month viewing television in 2014 [3]. There are approximately 54.4 million basic cable subscribers and the top 10 MVPD (FCC).

Aggregate viewership of the online video streaming is not publicly available and may not be accurate. It is also difficult to accurately measure the segment of live video broadcast viewership. However, what can be used as a benchmark to compare the monthly live viewership. The top live streaming website,, alone nets 57.2 million unique monthly viewers [4]. This number is greater than the count of basic cable television subscribers at 54.4 million.This number shows that it has already surpassed cable subscription numbers, which nets 49 million subscribers [5]. Though, the conventional live television broadcasting still nets higher monthly viewership hours than internet broadcasts. This may be because conventional content curation in channels may already give viewers the variety they want in a medium that is familiar with them. It may also be because the production quality and value may be higher in conventional television live broadcasts.

Twitch is currently the most popular live video streaming service globally. In contrast with television, its viewership has broken . The concern is able to monetize it at scale. There are fewer high production value broadcasters on these networks because there is less monetization value there. And increasing concentration of individual or grass-root video stream broadcasters.

Internet and live streaming has definitely disrupted the Television industry. Whether it is a laptop, Xbox and your phone, the user would be able to access content any time and any where. Therefore, “every device has become a television and television is becoming just a video”. Many companies are developing their own streaming services to capture the market especially the millennial. Amazon made a “streaming-video service, and it is available for free to every customer who signs up for its amazon prime program” [6]. Apple also popularized the purchase of digital music, offer video sales, and rental through iTunes. Streaming service now blend original programming with feature films and documentaries. Compared to the old television business model, the new Internet and live streaming business model is definitely more attractive. To gain the hearts of the current generation, companies will need to invest more into their resources into customization.

The current generation have several similar characteristics such as they mostly spend time watching television and movie content on four different screens, and rarely watch shows with ads. Since the Internet is more accessible, this causes the users to spend less time watching television. Currently, networks are “completely meaning less to the users because they do not care which networks own the rights to a show or where it was broadcasted”. In addition, majority of “what users pay to the cable company is wasted”. Companies provide many channels to the users, however users are not able to simultaneously watch all the channels. The shifts in the user behaviours would likely be damaging to the TV business. According to Business Insider, “the distinction between television and other forms of video content will disappear”. To be able to survive in the television industry, “the cost of traditional pay TV will have to drop” so it can retain the users. [7]

Current Applications

Live streaming has changed the ways of how information is communicated within the social medium. Instead of watching pre-recorded shows, live streaming can generate a “bigger audience, increase online interaction between the users, open opportunities for new revenue, and being able to stand out from the crowd” [8]. There are currently many popular applications and trends such as Twitch Plays Pokemon (TPP), MukBang and Esports that use a platform to live stream their content.

Twitch Plays Pokemon (TPP)

Twitch Plays Pokemon Champion Battle Gameplay

What is Pokemon?

Created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, Pokémon are fictional creatures where “humans capture and train to fight each other for sport”. The successful franchise extended to video games, trading card games, animated television shows and movies, comic books, and toys. According to Nintendo, “Pokémon is the second-most successful video game in the world after Nintendo’s Mario Franchise”. As of 2013, the brand has “grossed revenues of 37.76 billion worldwide” [1].

Pokémon games appeared exclusively on Nintendo systems including Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Console. Each of the Pokémon’s video games, the user would be able to control the character in the story known as the role playing game (RPG). In 1996, Pokémon first released the video game version Red and Green in Japan. Due to its immense popularity, Japan released version Blue a year later. Pokémon Red, Green and Blue had sold 10.4 million copies in Japan in 2013. In addition, IGN referred to Pokémon Red and Blue as the “Best selling RPG on the Game Boy” and “Best Selling RPG of all time” [2].

How did TPP Start?

Twitch Plays Pokémon (TPP) is a social experiment and used Twitch as a live streaming medium. Because of Pokémon’s popularity, an anonymous Australian programmer started with Pokémon Red on February 12, 2014. The game is played using the channel’s chat room, where users send commands in chat. Similarly, it was dependent on the anarchy or democracy format in the chat box, where users would vote how they would like to control the game. Due to interactivity, chaotic nature, and unique challenges, the game became extremely popular on twitch. The social experiment began as a “fascinating look into collective behavior and group dynamics” [3].

The averaged viewership for Pokémon Red was “over 80,000 viewers with at least 10% of the viewers participating in the game”. With approximately 1.16 million people who participated, the game was successfully finished in 16 days. There were “121,000 people participant during peak times and a total of 55 million views for the game” [4].

MukBang Sensation "Diva"


Mukbang began as a trend in South Korea, where a person known as a Broadcast Jockey will eat large quantities of food while interacting with the audience during live streaming. Boradcast Jockeys will usually live stream through a popular channel called Afreeca. “Eating in Korea is a social activity”, therefore for people who live alone, this can help make them feel less lonely. There are many different types of Broadcast Jockey stars such as model, overweight, and good-looking people. MukBang has slowly shifted from the original eating content into cook-bang, where Broadcast Jockeys would cook their food and then eat it. During their live streaming, they will have a chat box where users can request them to perform certain acts such as dancing or eat a certain amount of food. The Broadcast Jockey makes revenue from “balloon” where fans can gift them and each balloon is usually 10 cents USD. Even though they indulge in large quantities of food, the secret to their slim figure is “not eating the next day or exercising as much they have eaten”. One of the popular Broadcast Jockey’s Park Seo Yeon, has quit her day job to pursue a full time commitment to Muk-Bang. Park would broadcast up to three hours a day, which earns her a monthly average of $9,400 and one broadcast can earn her $1,017 [1].


Esports is an organized multiplayer video game competition. Popular genres include real-time strategy, fighting, first person shooter and multiplayer online battle arena. Video game competitions have seen a large surge in popularity from the late 2000s and early 2010s. The genre of fighting games and arcade fights has also been “popular in amateur tournaments such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft II”. In 2013, it was estimated that “approximately 71, 500,000 people worldwide watched competitive gaming” [2].

Major League Gaming has reported viewership that is “approximately 85% male and 15% female, with 60% of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34”. Top players can earn extensive amount of prize money, and are treated as A-list celebrities. Professional gamers tend to sign “six-figure contracts with the companies”. Some organizations such as Dignitas contract players and pay for their gaming houses, water and electricity, coaches and trainers, as well as the team’s food and gaming peripheral” [3]. There are also many ways Esports make money through sponsorships, endorsements, stream partnerships, team-organized events, player appearances and stream ads [4].

Business Applications

In order for businesses to be exposed to a large audience in the industry of live streaming, one of the most obvious and powerful ways to do so is to sponsor a streamer or an e-sports team. As most e-sports teams stream as a complementary way to make income for their players, the following arguments will be made to persuade businesses that sponsoring is an ideal investment, with heavy focus on e-sport teams. This is considered to be a niche area investment by businesses, and will be also further justified on why sponsoring in the niche area would be more effective than mainstream sponsorship.

Why should major companies sponsor?

In the conext of e-sports, it is evident that the sponsored team is the beneficiary in a sponsorship relationship. However, what are incentives for companies to sponsor? One of the main reasons is because sponsorship allows firms to reach audiences that are hard to reach through traditional media [5]. Exploring the niche area of e-sports, the average age group that the game ‘League of Legends’ appeals to is between the ages of 15 to 35, of which over 90% of the players are male. Given this demographic data, we recognize that the audience is part of the Millennial generation. They are less likely to watch television, and much less likely to read newsprint compared to their Baby Boomer counterparts [6].

The perception of the consumer is another reason why firms are adopting sponsorship activities. Sponsorship “relates to a property that the audience supports” [7], while advertising is seen to be “dishonest, deceptive and manipulative” [7]. The negative association of the term advertising has led companies to adopt sponsorships, which causes positive association between the property they support and the company that is supporting that property. This is an example of the social identity theory, which is the idea that individuals categorize themselves and the people around them in order to determine their own social position and to conceptualize others [8]. This also demonstrates a halo-effect that happens between the consumer, the team they support and the company that sponsors the team. If the team the consumers support excel, the consumers are happy with the result which leads to a cognitive positive feeling towards the sponsor who assisted their team in achieving the stellar results. The cognitive feeling is called an affective response, which refers to a change in the way that a consumer feels about an attitude object [9]. This positive effect may in turn lead to an increase in sales, or may even lead to potential business partnerships with other companies within the industry.

Another type of cognitive processing that consumers are exposed to is the mere-exposure effect. This was originally hypothesized by Zajonc in 1968, in which he states that “repeated exposure to the sponsorship message evokes favourable affective responses” [5]. An experiment was conducted by Olson and Thjomoe in 2003, where they compared subjects that were exposed to brand name only versus subjects that were shown the brand name plus brand information, in which they stated “participants appeared to form favourable evaluations simply as a result of exposure to brands, even in the absence of additional brand information” [10]. A similar experiment conducted by Meenaghan [7] yielded similar results, and concluded that “those with the highest involvement with, and the most awareness of, a sponsor’s investment are the ones that are most pleased in their attitude toward the sponsor [11]. All of these findings show that companies who show higher levels of involvement generate greater changes in brand attitudes.

Nike sponsoring League of Legends Season 3 Champions SK Telecom T1 Team Jerseys

Despite multiple directions pointing towards high involvement causing positive brand attitude changes, sponsorship media does not generally have high involvement by the sponsors. Often, sponsors provide peripheral cues such as “signage, title sponsorship announcements, logos, and the like, sponsorship contexts are not able to carry high involvement messages” [10]. However, Ko et al. (2008) has research evidence which concludes that consumer involvement with a sporting event is positively related to sponsorship awareness, and involvement has a significant role on purchase intention toward generic sponsors’ products [12]. Thus, if the method of sponsorship is used in an area where the audience is highly involved, companies can actually increase profits. For example, Nike sponsors the team jerseys for SK Telecom T1, and had a strong growth of sportswear sales in 2013 when SK Telecom T1 won the World Championship Tournament for ‘League of Legends’ [13]. While not the entirety of the growth in sales can be represented by one event, it is evident that the significant growth in sales is at least partially contributed by the accomplishment of the team in a country with a strong embrace for e-sports culture.

Are there any risks associated?

From the research and data shown, sponsorship seems to be a great tool for businesses to adopt due to the benefits it provides to the brand and image of the company. However, there are a few important risks to consider when using the sponsorship strategy. One of the risks that come with sponsorship is performance. The context varies depending if you are sponsoring a team or an individual online personality, however if either performs acts that do not align with your company values it is very important that the sponsor reacts to the action. The cognitive response from consumers can work the other way and associate the negative action with the company brand, which in turn would damage the brand name and reputation through the sponsorship relationship. In addition, according to a research by Pope, Voges and Brown [14], while strong team performance causes consumers to perceive the sponsor’s brand in a positive way, poor team performance causes consumers to perceive the sponsor’s brand in a negative light. However, research also shows that “sponsorship duration positively influences cognitive processing” [5]. While the team you are sponsoring is not doing well, it may be impulsive for the company to cut the sponsorship to prevent negative association between the team and the company. However, if the team recovers after the company cuts the sponsorship, the company is seen as a traitor to the team and to their fans, which generates even more negative cognitive association. Meanwhile, any other similar sponsored companies that remained with the team during its low would be positioned much higher in the consumers’ mind. Thus, researchers Chadwick and Thwaites advise sponsors and sponsees to view sponsorship as a long-term relationship, as “greater long-term benefits may be attainable from a closer, more strategic, network-related association” [15]. Another way that companies address this issue is to have someone in the company that has current knowledge in the sponsored area to act as a company observer, and notify the company of any problematic indicators that may arise from the sponsored team. When HTC had entered the ‘League of Legends’ scene, they sponsored the top three teams on the competitive ladder, and made a Twitter account that interacts with the sponsored individuals, their fan base, and just representing the HTC brand as a whole. This is a method to observe the performance and actions of the sponsored individuals and teams, to which if anyone is caught up in a scandal they can be amongst the first to react and re-evaluate the sponsorship relationship.

Another risk to using sponsorship is that it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness of their sponsorship activities. While the company is investing in the team to help them succeed, they cannot simply evaluate how much of the sales fluctuation is caused by the sponsorship relationship. This issue has been pointed out by many researchers, who say that “Problems facing marketers include how to assess the effects of sport sponsorship on consumer behaviours and how to determine its business value” [11]. To address this, we stated earlier that the halo-effect can theoretically generate business value and increase sales due to the fan base showing support to the sponsors as a token of gratitude for sponsoring their favourite team or individual [12]. This suggests that at least a small portion of the growth of sales is contributed by the effects of sponsorship.

Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Tournament

Lastly, another risk that is associated with sponsorships is the “fit” between the sponsor and the sponsored. It is beneficial for the sponsor to be sponsoring a field that relates to the products they sell, or has similar target demographics. This is due to the congruence theory, which states that “storage in memory and retrieval of information are influenced by relatedness or similarity…a running event…that is sponsored by a running shoe brand seems appropriate and is easily remembered” [10]. Incongruent information is thought to be more difficult to remember, due to the misalignment between the product and the team, individual or event [10]. To put it simply, sponsor an event that your end users would be involved in. For example, Intel sponsors teams and the Intel Extreme Masters Gaming Competitions. Intel has been one of the longest standing sponsors in the North American e-sports scene. This is most likely due to the fact that the games are being played on computers, which is an essential to gaming. Through sponsoring gaming events, the gamers recognize the brand of Intel, and is more likely to associate the brand Intel with superior gaming capabilities, and that suites the needs of the consumer in that category, which is an avid gamer. Thus we see that event-sponsor fit, in addition to a high level of involvement of the audience with the event, “can generate a positive image transfer on to the sponsoring company” [16]. To maximize positive image transfer, companies would have to do significant research in order to find out whether it is a correct move to sponsor an area; Demographics, Product alignment, and Target market are all crucial components to investigate when considering sponsorship. For example, Molson would not want to partake in an e-sports sponsorship. While their demographic may include young adults, the age group lies between the ages of 15 to 25, which leaves approximately 3 to 6 years of an under aged audience. This can cause significant legal issues and negative perception of the brand. Thus, a fit between the sponsor and the sponsored is critical in a successful sponsorship relationship.

Why sponsor niche areas?

Niche areas, compared to mainstream areas, are advantageous in sponsorships for four reasons: (1) cost effectiveness, (2) a refined target fan base, (3) decreased sponsorship clutter and (4) flexibility in assisting sponsors to achieve their sponsorship objectives [17]. Instead of spending large sums of money to create ads that are hard to deliver may be negatively perceived by the audience, companies that sponsor the right team can enjoy all the benefits that is associated with the fame of the group, such as positive cognition and other effects mentioned earlier. The fan base in a niche area is much more concentrated compared to mainstream areas, where the audience is more diverse. Thus, higher levels of involvement are possible with the audience. In addition, sponsors of niche events are not competing to stand out to the audience with their logos and ads. Since there are relatively fewer companies that have the same target market, the focus on your brand in sponsoring another team becomes an amplified effect due to the heavy and focused exposure of your brand to the audience. Lastly, flexibility means that the sponsor is able to be highly involved in the activities of the sponsored team. For example, HTC invited the three ‘League of Legends’ teams to their headquarters to showcase their virtual reality headset, and presented them each with a HTC One M9 mobile phone. This was all recorded in a video and uploaded on YouTube, which generated a huge positive response from the fan base of the three teams.

Risks and Challenges

Live streaming is an excellent tool for content publishers and other organizations seeking to bring together an audience and engage actively with online communities. However, some businesses are finding that along with the unique opportunities of live streaming come unique challenges and risks.

Legal Risk

Using Meerkat to live stream events may cause legal issues.

Streaming copyrighted content to pay-to-view content or a free-to-view content can involve making infringing copies of the works in question. Streaming, or looking at content on the Internet, is legal in Europe, even if that material is copyrighted. Organizations running such websites may become vicariously liable for infringement by actively inducing infringement by others.

In addition, the challenges and risks facing by copyright holders in the face of live streaming are continuously increasing. There are highlight the challenges and risks in both practice and theory:

  • The copyrighted content recorded during the live broadcast and broadcast the copyrighted content to another profitable or non-profitable websites
  • Rapidly developing new technologies and uses, including file hosting sites: make the pay-to-view content on a free-to-view website
  • Record on the fly from smartphone apps and shared publicly on Twitter without any permissions
  • Broadcasts a free-to-view content on other channel, with added material which would hurt viewership for main channel
  • The new challenges posed by international communications and varying legislations
  • Ambiguities in the interpretation of copyright law [18] [19]

Security Risk

In March 2015, the video-streaming website Twitch was hacked by the activist hacker group

A streamer is exposed to various threats when they broadcast online. Being popular transfers over to social media and other mediums have to face the exposure of sensitive or personal information. Streamer may be giving other users access to personal information. Whether it's because certain directories are accessible or because the streamer provide personal information to what they believe to be a trusted person or organization, unauthorized people may be able to access their financial or medical data, personal documents, sensitive corporate information, or other personal information. Once information has been exposed to unauthorized individuals, it is difficult to know how many people have accessed it. The availability of this information may increase risk of identity theft.

Once your IP address has been leaked, skilled hackers can access to your computer or enable them to attack your computer by taking advantage of any vulnerabilities that may exist in live streaming. The popularity of steamers has led to the service being attacked by hacker in the past. In March 2015, the video-streaming website Twitch was hacked by the activist hacker group Lizard Squad after news of its acquisition by Amazon. That attack “merely took the website offline and did not require password resets” [20]. Another example would be a 17-year-old Coquitlam teenager hacked into League of Legends players’ computers when they denied friend requests or he felt slighted by them over some minor offense [21]. He shut down their Internet access, posting their personal information online, calling them late at night, or calling the police to call in an imaginary emergency situation.

Streamers can follow some good security practices to minimize their risk:

  • Use and maintain anti-virus software : Anti-virus software recognizes and protects your computer against most known viruses. However, attackers are continually writing new viruses, so it is important to keep the anti-virus software current.
  • Install or enable a firewall : Firewalls may be able to prevent some types of infection by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter your computer. Some operating systems actually include a firewall, but you need to make sure it is enabled.

Future Applications

Along with the current uses of live streaming, comes potential future applications that can benefit both benefit businesses and consumers. For example, current streaming technology is anticipated to be fully integrated with future virtual reality applications such as Oculus rift, smart glasses and other wearables. This is expected to create a new communication platform among users and allow them to share live video feeds as they communicate. Such method of communication can revolutionize the way business and collaboration work is being done [22].

Furthermore, the capabilities of smart glasses and other live streaming products are getting more powerful in terms of memory, storage, battery life and processing power. Live streaming with wearables in the enterprise has already been tested and begun to reduce the need for skilled technicians to make onsite visits. Gartner estimates this kind of saving will translate to $1 billion per year by 2017 in the field service industry alone [23]. The following are examples of applications where live streaming could potentially change the way they are being done:

Phone Live Streaming

Meerkat Live Stream Interface

Live-streaming video has also entered the smartphone sector. Two major live streaming phone applications were launched, Periscope by Twitter and Meerkat by Life On Air; Twitter streams are now full of tweet links to live video of people in traffic, sharing their current scenery and talking to the world from their bedroom office, etc. Video streaming service in general is expected to continue and diffuse on the internet. It is also expected of companies to embrace this technology and discover innovative new ways serve their customers, clients, and prospects [24].

Periscope and Meerkat are both used to tweet a link to a live streaming video through twitter. The difference between both applications is that Periscope has the ability to show recently watched videos. Periscope videos can be left public for up to 24 hours using the replay function. Meerkat has the ability to save a stream to a smartphone and start chatrooms. Including these differences, Persicope is much more spread than Meerkat. Each application has a big number of audience that continues to grow.

Potential Business Uses

  • Some of the uses of Phone live streaming can be used for impromptu questions & answers from customers, which is believed to be an excellent ice breaker and a great way for businesses to introduce themselves and their product to your audience [24].
    • Founders and companies including Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are already embracing Meerkat and Periscope to run daily/weekly/monthly Q&A’s to get close to their customers and grow an audience for interaction
    • Interactive demonstrations are possible with watchers asking questions and providing live feedback.
  • Company news can be shared with the internal team and the entire world simultaneously and make major announcements live. [24]
  • Team Meetings can also be set up live and staff can provide input to make it easier for the leader to facilitate the meeting, very much similar to a webinar online conference


There are more than 84 million paid TV subscribers in the U.S. today. It is estimated that 6.5 percent of American households have already removed their costly cable plans today, which is about 7.6 million homes. The number one reason why American households use television is to watch sports, and the numbers are estimated to be much higher if it weren’t for live sports [25]. Sports account for 37 percent of all TV everywhere viewing today — with more and more sports packages showing up online, and viewing options becoming available in hi-resolution on mobile devices, tablets and computers. With about one-fourth of all sports content being viewed online already, it is expected that sports fans would remove their costly cable plans to watch the games online.

This live streaming trend is being further amplified by many consumers who are investing in companion streaming devices — like HDMI dongles and streaming boxes— enabling more services than ever before as well as the launching of new services aimed to replace conventional television. For example in Canada, Shomi was launched by Rogers and Shaw, and Bell Launched CraveTV, and both online services are available without a TV subscription and should get traction in late 2015. These services not only include video streaming content but will also include live TV. Furthermore, a big number of channels have already included a live stream of their new channel on their website. Examples like, Fox news and Al Jazeera. The same would be expected of other channels in the future. HBO announced that it plans to offer a stand-alone live streaming service that would not require a TV subscription. As many as 6 million U.S. households would be going without a TV subscription by the end of this year due to this new trend [22]. Video streaming in general is taking over cable television, which will lead to more internet traffic and adoption to video streaming and live streaming.

Interactive Videos

An example of an option in an interactive video

Interactive video usually refers to a new technique used to blend interaction and linear film or video. Interactive video allows your audience to be an active participant, rather than a passive viewer of your content. This opens the floodgates for creative storytelling, makes for a more engaging and relevant experience, and through sophisticated analysis and integration, allows businesses to drive and measure results [26]. A classic example is the YouTube clickable speech-bubble, text-boxes and spotlights. Users may add interactive annotations to their videos and by that a new trend of interactive videos arose, including choose-your-own-adventure video series, online video games using YouTube videos, spot-the-difference-game videos, animal-dubbing and more.

Another example is online clothing retailer Ssense which has debuted what appears to be the first music video you can make purchases in, featuring Australian rapper Iggy Azalea alongside hip-hop duo FKi and Grammy-nominated producer Diplo. The music video is features alternating between L.A. street scenes and close-up, overexposed studio shots of the various stars [27]. Interactive videos heavily remain at a testing stage and are already being used for marketing purposes and is slightly expensive due to limited technology. It is expected to flourish in the future when technology becomes easy to access [28].


At hospitals around the world, physicians are experimenting with Google Glass. Google Glass is hands-free and uses augmented reality and voice activation to project data into our field of vision. Top medical institutions including Stanford and UCSF have outfitted their surgical teams with Google Glass to aid in training, allowing educators and trainees to swap their points of view during live medical procedures. It is expected that such technology could potentially allow surgeons routinely perform surgeries in concert with medical experts located thousands of miles away and benefit from their expertise in real time [29].

It is hypothesized that medical students would routinely use augmented reality and live streaming to improve their surgical techniques, that way avoiding the need to use cadavers or real patients. In fact, a Google Glass app has already been developed to live stream a surgical procedure to doctors located at 300 universities and hospitals in five continents. This enabled an operation to be recorded live through Google Glass and streamed globally to surgeons who could participate in an open dialogue via a Google Hangout [29]. Furthermore, ambulance companies are installing Google Glass in fleets of ambulances, enabling EMTs to broadcast via real-time video to receiving emergency rooms [23].

Engineering Collaboration

Smart glasses have already been tested by a number of equipment makers to allow technicians to collaborate virtually. Skilled teams have used smart glasses to coordinate highly complex repair and engineering work with the feeling of being there in person. Their teams are relied on enhanced computing power and software capability to share multiple points of view live, powerfully zoom in on what they see, simultaneously interact with digitized data while broadcasting [23]. For example, airline Virgin Atlantic has already started using Sony smart glasses, tablets, and smartwatches as part of an eight-week trial of wearable technology for engineers carrying out routine maintenance and repairs on aircraft. Such tests have provided more efficient and rapid assistance to the skilled teams using real-time video streaming [30].


In addition to the previous implications and challenges mentioned above, there are some future implications and concerns that would follow the use of such future live streaming technology.


An example of a virtual reality headset wearable

An obvious concern with wearables is how they look when users wear them. Most wearables vary from head mounted displays to smart glasses. Such concerns are expected to not be an issue with wearables at work. Social stigma disappears when it’s part of an employee’s job to use this tool [31].

Despite the case, there have been a few ongoing developments to make live streaming wearables more unobtrusive. A popular example is SnapCam which is a small wearable camera and video recorder recently launched by iON that can live stream video to the internet [32]. Another example is Google and Novartis teaming to develop contact lenses that enable night vision and augmented reality, which could possibly be integrated with live streaming through a wireless antenna [33]. Hence in the future, it is expected of smart wearables to be developed inconspicuous to the eye [34].

Privacy and Data Security

In addition to the privacy issues mentioned with current live streaming technology, it is expected to be more serious in the future. Primarily, information collected by sensors within objects that are connected to each other, can yield a tremendous amount of data that can be combined, analyzed and acted upon without adequate transparency, accountability or meaningful consent. In other words, data and just be easily collected and transported somewhere. This even applies to tools like Google Glass [35].

Data security would remain a concern, even though wearables provide a lot of potential, they act as a medium for accessing and eventually stealing data by hackers. Security risks are involved when the data is transferred over networks and when third parties store information on their databases hence they would still need to be developed highly secure [36] [37].


The next concern with wearables is that, just like the smartphone they can provide multiple solutions at once and sometimes this can create a problem in the workplace. Businesses sometimes need a tool that is used for one specific purpose. That paradigm is needed where specialization is the norm. It’s a matter of avoiding something that might be too specific or technically complex [31].

Fragmented Operating Systems

One factor that may hamper the adoption of wearables is the fragmentation of the market. A big variety of operating systems might slow the mass adoption of these devices. Users may need to be used to a particular interface to speed up adoption in addition to the fact that the different operating systems may need to communicate and interact with each other through a common platform [37].

Marketing Implications

A number of implications on marketing are predicted to occur as a result of future live streaming from wearable gadgets. The list includes, new approaches to search engine optimization, faster online shopping, more online advertising, smarter consumer habits and an even rapid mobile marketing [38].


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