Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Video – The new photo?

Editor’s note: There has been a progressive evolution in media from the beginning of social networks and IMs. Starting off with text, it progressed to photos (Instagram,Snapchat,etc), now we can see things progress to video. An important attribute to it is fast internet on mobile. With carriers bringing in 4G networks at affordable rates, it has made it possible for apps like Meerkat and Periscope. Can’t wait to see where things go next, with companies like Oculus Rift around, maybe video will evolve to Virtual Reality?

The last couple of years has seen a flurry of developments in the Social Networks sector. While it has undoubtedly aided in connecting people around the world in terms of simply reconnecting with old friends, to staying in touch with news on the go, it has also paved the way for companies and organisations to market their products / services and reach out to their patrons.

Now, while live streaming information in the form of text has been made easy due to Twitter and hashtags, it is also interesting to note the developments in this regard. Content has made way to video streaming, which can quite possibly be the next big thing for organisations to reach out.

Live video streams of events, music festivals and conventions make more people access an event in real time. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope are changing the way people update themselves. And this trend is the underlying focus of my article here.

EASING INTO THE BASICS

Video Streaming over mobile is actually quite a cool concept. According to Periscope’s founders, it is the ‘closest thing to teleportation’, and rightly so. With live video streaming over mobile, a person who follows a particular trending event can actually be present at the event without having to be physically present there. Think of it as a live telecast on news, but in this scenario one can actually interact with other people following the same event!

Now how can this be important? Well, it’s a matter of simple science really. The human brain involves itself more when the information is conveyed in the form of videos, rather than mere images or text. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video playing would be worth much more!

MEERKAT AND PERISCOPE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

While I won’t be delving into the specific details or comparison of these two apps, it would suffice to say that these apps are bringing back a concept that had lost its popularity some while back. It’s bringing back the concept of streaming over webcams, and is combining it with the power of hashtags, to create a broadcast system that makes sure that content in the form of a video stream reaches out to the largest audience.

These apps make interaction with the video possible, in the form of like buttons and comments feed. This creates a two way communication system – which makes a broadcast all the more effective. The broadcaster can gauge the response of his/her audience in real time, and can accordingly make modifications to the broadcast.

What these two apps do is to allow the user to login using a Twitter account, and directly begin broadcasting a video stream to the followers. The video stream can be as simple as a procedure to do/make something, to a concert, event, to even backstage access to fans (Ellen did it!). The possibilities for the type of content which could be streamed is endless, and these apps basically combine the power and accessibility of a mobile phone camera, with the power of Social Networks, and the concept of hashtags.

emberify_meerkat_periscope_twitter_trends
(Source: Topsy)

And this potential is not going unnoticed. Periscope was bought by Twitter months before it even launched at the end of March, reportedly for $100 million. Meerkat, meanwhile, recently raised $12 million on its own, with investors putting its value at $40 million. All in all, a very simple concept is making it big in the marketing sector.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR COMPANIES NOW?

From the popularity received by Meerkat and Periscope, one thing can be predicted : the power of the spoken word and visual elements are going to be the defining factors in marketing in the coming years.

It is imperative for entrepreneurs, startups and established firms alike to recognise the relevance of a system that is still in its nascent stages, and establish itself right in the initial periods. This will undoubtedly give a major boost in later years.

A good video stream idea, aided with a catchy title and placed in the right moment, will generate a promotional buzz like none other. Remember, we’re talking of the Twittersphere here. All it needs is a good balance in the elements to make something trend, and Meerkat and Periscope are building upon a concept which aids in creating this balance.

CARRIER SUPPORT

With the advent of telecommunications systems and carrier bandwidths, one can hope (and expect) that video streaming over carriers is going to be easy. Last year, T-Mobile removed the restrictions on streaming music over its carriers, and as a result users could stream unlimited amounts of music over specific applications.

Video though, is a tad bit complicated. Simply because it’s a bandwidth hog. Nevertheless, with the popularisation of this concept in the time to come, one can be sure that there might be some rectifications to support the concept of mobile video streaming.

HURDLE: COPYRIGHT LAWS

With video streaming comes the million dollar question: Is it ethical?

Much like the rules associated with piracy of media and infringement or violation of rights, video streaming over mobile is a slightly tricky concept. The two apps do have various clauses in their terms and conditions agreement, but like I said, this is a nascent concept, so the laws that apply in this regard are yet a little unclear.

SOME STATISTICS

• According to a recent study by Usurv, delivering content in the form of video is the sure shot method of enabling the visitors to a site to share and interact with the content. Consumers are 39 percent more likely to share content if it’s delivered via video, and 36 percent more likely to comment and 56 percent more likely to give that video a “like.”

• This statistic from August 2014 shows the active reach of videos on Facebook and YouTube. I predict that at its peak, mobile video streaming will surpass these numbers.

emberify_active_reach_of_facebook_and_youtube_for_mobile_videos_aug_2014_country
(Data Source: Statista)

 

• For the U.S., here is the monetary forecast. It is estimated that in 2015, revenue incurred in the form of mobile video will be to the tune of $2.3 billion, while $1.4 billion will be spent on mobile advertising. This goes to show the popularity of the mobile platform.

 

emberify_mobile_video_revenue_expenses_us_2012_2017
(Data Source: Statista)

 

• Here’s the projection for mobile video revenue for the U.S., by type.

emberify_mobile_video_revenue_in_us_by_type_million_usd_2011_2017
(Data Source: Statista)

 

• And finally, this is the global mobile video traffic projection. The numbers are astounding, and the graph is evidently on a rise, only proving that the concept of video streaming on mobile will be popular really soon.

emberify_global_mobile_video_traffic_projection_2014_2019
Data Source: Statisa

 

CLOSING COMMENTS

Entrepreneurs and marketers simply have to seize the right moment and the right time. With these parameters perfectly set, any video stream would be beneficial: There’s a wide audience, free broadcast, and the power of hashtags which will keep the stream trending massively. Intricate, yet simple. Video streaming is definitely going to be big in the coming years!

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