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Allow us to introduce you to the world of live streaming. Up until now, live streaming has been a minefield of financial and time investment, but thanks to mobile apps such as MeerKat, Periscope and YouNow, those days are long gone.

The rise in popularity of iOS and Android has seen a boom in live streaming over the past few years. According to a report by PWC, the UK Entertainment and Media digital sector is set to take over non-digital by 2019. Cisco is also predicting that by 2018, 84% of all Internet traffic will be video.

Not to be overtaken by this phenomenon, Facebook recently announced its new feature Facebook Live. Currently available to VIP Facebook users only, it will focus on converting live streaming into content for the site. Let us take a closer look at the consumer friendly front-runners leading the pack.

First off we have MeerKat – available on Android and launched earlier this year. Built in less than 8 weeks, it was the first medium to provide users with the ability to broadcast themselves in real time. Within its first day, Meerkat accumulated between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads.

Following closely behind we have Twitter’s new platform, Periscope. Having been building up behind the scenes for almost a year, one million users signed up after the first 10 days of launching. Last week Periscope announced that it had surpassed two million daily active users and now has more than 10 million accounts and growing.

YouNow, the oldest member of the pack, launched back in 2012 but wasn’t widely recognised until May of last year. With less than 10 million monthly visitors, within four months it catapulted to an impressive 100 million.

With live streaming being the buzzword of 2015, it’s no wonder platforms such as YouTube are under the spotlight to keep up. With the channel focused mainly on reach, the Google giant has yet to announce plans to enhance features to incorporate live streaming, questioning its long-term use.

So what are the benefits of live streaming we hear you ask? By creating opportunities for user-generated content, there are countless ways to ensure that content you provide will empower your community whilst saying on-brand.

Brands will gain greater responsibility to decipher which content to stream, giving them the authority to distribute awe-inspiring, brand-only content to increasingly engage with their consumer.

Harnessed with this new tool, 2015 has seen real-time marketing propelled into the spotlight. Brands now have the tools to respond directly to real-time happenings and the power to interact and broadcast content not just through photos and text but also now with real-time video.

There are a number of ways businesses can utilise live streaming as a tool. Product launches and demonstrations could potentially allow people to see in real-time a new product encouraging live Q&A via chat boxes, captivating and engaging an audience.

If an organisation is hosting an event or wishes to share behind the scenes footage, live streaming will enable the company to broadcast and involve the community, potentially increasing consumer loyalty.

With all of this in mind, let your creative mind run wild, embrace the power of live streaming to enrich your brand, you never know, you might even want to make a cameo…

Sources:

http://en.yibada.com/articles/54602/20150817/facebook-announces-live-video-streaming-service-new-feature-poses-threat.htm

http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/12/periscopes-live-streaming-video-reaches-nearly-2-million-users/

http://www.wired.com/2015/08/youtube-sleeping-giant-livestreaming/

https://medium.com/@periscope/periscope-by-the-numbers-6b23dc6a1704

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2015/04/21/leveraging-live-streaming-apps-to-disrupt-your-brand-strategy-is-easier-than-ever/2/

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/11/how-meerkats-fighting-against-periscope-apps.html

http://www.pwc.co.uk/en_UK/uk/assets/pdf/communications-review-mobile-data-analytics.pdf

https://medium.com/@sgvc_/the-stars-finally-align-for-mobile-live-streaming-126bec84eb5c

https://hbr.org/2013/01/how-people-really-use-mobile

http://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/04/14/trends-on-tuesday-10-tips-for-mobile-live-streaming/