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HomeTechThe Evolution of Live Streaming Services: From UGC to Premium Content

The Evolution of Live Streaming Services: From UGC to Premium Content

The present and future live streaming activity poses a marked shift towards Iteration III services, which aim to integrate live streaming with on-demand video and social interactions in a multi-user environment. An example is the integration of live streaming services with e-sports communities who surround their contexts with complex video entertainment and have a need for highly indexed replays. This evolution generates a need for automatic capturing and manipulation of video streams in manners that go beyond the abilities of conventional screen and video capture.

Justin.TV is noted as a significant case of an Iteration II service. This type of service is characterized by comprehensive support for a single user, who is giving a live broadcast of their experiences with the added element of two-way communication with a viewing audience. A user may intend to capture gaming sessions, social interactions, creative processes, and even arbitrary behavior in an interface that combines live video and chat in a manner similar to contemporary social media live video services (e.g. Facebook Live).

Live streaming technology was first commercially introduced in Iteration I services, which were exemplified by continuous, unattended webcasts, streamed from a VCR or other external video source. These streams were shown in small embedded windows, often with a supplemental still image and text. This type of service was popularized by services like Camarades, which allowed users to set up their own live broadcasting cameras to share glimpses of their lives. Anecdotal evidence suggests the popularity of this service for sharing cultural experiences, especially within immigrant communities.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Era

In 2011, Justin.tv phased out its UGC and relaunched as an eSports and gaming channel called Twitch.tv. Twitch reached rapid success and essentially became the new de facto UGC platform in live streaming. We have charts and conduct interviews and analysis. The print media transitioning into professional online news outlets were largely avoiding live streaming, seeing it as a lesser form of news. Anyone who wanted to interact with news fans was having a hard time developing an audience due to the oversaturation of talk shows and podcast-style news. This is because UGC default entertainment genre.

In the initial stage of live streaming, it was mainly involved hobbyists. YouTube came forward and released a beta version that was fully integrated with the site in 2006. Their original goal was to let users stream videos and broadcast themselves without being too noisy. Like blogs, social networking sites such as Myspace, YouTube, Meetup, and Facebook. The expanding of broadband internet connections led to an increased demand for watching UGC. The first live streaming site started around 2007-2008, that was Justin.tv. A lot of people started the same type of site as they saw Justin.tv was doing well. Some of these attempted to differentiate themselves by targeting a niche, but overall discoverability of new shows was very low. This resulted in very few viewers for most sites and ceased the ability for most broadcasters to interact with an audience.

Shift towards Premium Content

Simultaneously, the ad-revenue model has increasingly shown to be unsustainable for content creators on both streaming and video platforms. This requires a significant amount of time and luck for smaller streamers to produce even a negligible revenue and does not effectively support larger ones who wish to do content production full-time. Due to Twitch and YouTube’s distribution of ad revenue on a per-view/click basis, there is an extreme dichotomy between the money earned per high volume and low volume content producers. This has resulted in a market supersaturated with low effort/high volume content that is not conducive to long-term audience or platform-wide growth. High volume consumers turn to AdBlock and its equivalents, which in turn negatively affects the platform’s ad-revenue per view. This creates a case in which ad-revenue alternatives no longer support the sustainability of content producers on both sides.

Live streaming platforms will only continue to strengthen the relationship between the streamer and the viewer, and eventually a percentage of the audience will be more inclined to support the streamer by whatever means necessary. This is amplified by the age of cord-cutters, who generally refuse traditional subscription-based content and seek value for their entertainment dollar. To ensure that their favorite streamer can sustainably produce quality content, they will be more inclined to do so through services like direct donations and subscriptions, as a method of voting that “I want more of this kind of content” with their money to a direct source.

Microtransactions emerged as a primary revenue model for many games and services over the last decade. They start with extrinsic incentives, allowing players to purchase cosmetic items and upgrades to enhance the game experience. This leads to the flexibility for paying for convenience, where partial game features are often locked behind a paywall. In extreme cases, these transactions are equivalent to a full subscription service just to access all the functionality and content of the game. Unfortunately, the free-to-enjoy model has shown to be unsustainable for many MMOs and online games, and many have eventually shut down.

A few shared truths emerged across our interviews. First, user-generated content material was crucial to launching the category. It put live streaming on the radar for the content industries and helped the platforms to begin understanding the medium. UGC has a similar impact for online video platforms ten years ago. It puts them in a position to pursue the next generation of content on a medium that the creators are first adapting to. Second, live streaming is in its infancy. This is such a new medium that almost all of those interviewed were very unsure with their predictions for the future. They have a sense of where it should be and how to get there, but a lot of trial and error is to be expected. Given these two details, we see it as likely that the industry will mirror the evolution of online TV, but it will have an extended UGC section and it can move backward at times learning from and reusing strategies used in the past. Finally, premium content is the future. Nearly everyone we spoke to imagined a final state for the platforms involving some kind of premium content. Usually, this meant large events sponsored by companies, but occasionally it was in reference to selling rights to content creators starting to build a living off their channels. Premium content is attractive to the platform providers because of the potential revenues, and it’s attractive for the content industry because it will create another new outlet

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