How much do you know about live streaming?

Right now, on Twitch alone, there will be around 80,000 people live streaming and 1.9 million people watching them.

You may have a vague idea that live streaming is a niche technology, perhaps something to do with gaming or something teenagers do? In reality it crosses a host of sectors, audiences and behaviours. It’s a large, growing and highly profitable industry in its own right, connecting streamers with viewers for everything from prayer to masturbation. Despite this, many have given it little thought.

Live streaming combines elements from a range of more traditional media types:

  • It takes live shared visual experiences from TV – while the TV industry has shifted towards individually served pre-recorded content
  • Combines it with the ‘down to earth’ – ‘wants to be your friend’ – ‘invites you into their home and life’, Vlogger personality from Youtube
  • And massively ramps up the radio ‘shout out’ that makes the audience feel part of a community and individually valued by the DJ or presenter

The common theme is connection, and a whole economy has developed around it.

We produced this report because we believe the rapid rise of this new media phenomenon says something significant about our society, the unmet needs of many who live in it and the media it’s replacing – and it’s far too big to ignore.

The response to Covid has forced many of us to shift more of our lives online – both in terms of work and social connection, but for many this was already a way of life.

The rise of live streaming was exponential long before the events of 2020.