The Rise of DIY Live Streaming: How Individuals Are Using Services to Share Their Lives

With the development of new technologies, new reasons have emerged to use the internet. Services like instant messengers, e-mail, and WWW browsers have become indispensable tools for everyday communication, information retrieval, and trading goods or services. Just as these services have begun to change the way people perform basic tasks, new graphical and multimedia applications are poised to create new paradigms for online interactions. Chief among these is the development of shared virtual worlds and massively multiplayer games. Audio and video streaming allow users to broadcast or watch live content over the internet. These applications are unique because the line between content provider and consumer is blurred; anyone can perform for an audience of any size. Because of the potential for entertainment and social interaction, virtual worlds, games, and live video applications have a social nature that can lead to using the internet in new, often unprecedented ways. With the recent success of live video applications like ICQ video, CU-SeeMe, video instant messenger, and NetMeeting, it is reasonable to believe that video streaming will continue to become a bigger part of the internet experience.

Benefits of DIY Live Streaming

Increased audience engagement is key in the fast-paced world of internet one-upmanship. The proper net head is all that much concerned with his bandwidth to wait around for a bloated site to load – we want our content, and we want it now. That is the beauty of live streaming service, where with a single click and nothing more, an audience can be notified that a channel is live and potentially draw in thousands of pairs of eyes from across the globe, depending on how popular the streamer is. A powerful example of just how many people live streaming service can attract is the recent Awesome Games Done Quick event, a charity stream featuring many games completed as fast as possible, often with glitches or tricks that the average player would not see. The event managed to raise 1.5 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, with a great deal of that money coming from viewer donations, which is another aspect of live streaming that I will touch on later. Stepping away from professional-level streaming events is the abundance of small-time streamers who spend their evenings playing games and discussing with friends, usually putting little care into trying to attract viewers. Having tried it myself, I can say that it is quite difficult to keep an audience entertained without a certain relaxed charisma that takes time to develop. However, the viewers who do come are very likely to participate by asking questions and giving feedback on the game audio or video quality due to being noticed more easily by the streamer. This gets back to the immediacy of live streaming; it is simply much easier to type than to write an email or forum post and hope for a response later.

Increased Engagement with Audience

Compared to professional live streaming, this type of engagement is something that is quite difficult to achieve, as the content from more traditional broadcasters is often one-directional and the audience may have little opportunity to interact with the content providers. An engaging audience can be a large motivational factor for individual broadcasters, and it can make the process of content creation more enjoyable. By setting the audience as a driving force behind content creation, the broadcaster can tailor their content to suit the needs and wants of their viewers. This could mean anything from simply changing the theme of the content to providing specific content such as tutorials or how-to guides.

Audience engagement is something all broadcasters strive for, and live streaming provides an efficient way for individuals to connect with an audience. Due to the fact that live streaming consists of a real-time broadcast, viewers are immersing themselves into the broadcaster’s world by watching the stream. To add, features such as real-time chat allow viewers to communicate with the broadcaster and other viewers, creating a space for discussions to occur. The give and take relationship between live streamer and viewer can be an incredibly rewarding experience, as the broadcaster has an opportunity to involve their audience in their content. Whether it be through answering viewer questions via a broadcast Q&A or simply taking on board viewer feedback, broadcasters can make their audience feel valued by involving them in the content creation process. This has been acknowledged by Professor Lawrence Feick who says, “Live streaming is a unique way to tell a story. It’s happening in real-time, so the audience has an opportunity to engage in a deeper way with the content providers because it’s steering the direction of the content as it’s being created.”

Real-time Interaction and Feedback

While this is a large change and requires a constantly growing community of viewers to be successful, it’s easy to see how this live interaction can build a much more loyal fanbase compared to traditional methods of content distribution. Users can react to immediate feedback when they know their viewers can react to it in turn. People seeking to teach or spread information can get immediate responses to queries or correct misinformation on the spot. A talented artist could gain massive exposure as viewers watch their work progress in real-time. The possibilities for the effects of real-time interaction are nearly endless, and in a world where instant gratification is so highly sought after, it’s likely that live streaming can yield various more direct results on the personal level for both broadcaster and viewer. All by just reeling people in with the thought of some random person on the internet doing something interesting.

With the advent of blogging and podcasting, the ability to reach an audience has never been easier. Thus, the average individual can easily broadcast their thoughts and world to those willing to listen. However, the real appeal of live streaming is the immediacy and interaction between broadcaster and audience. Real-time interaction is nothing new, especially in the realm of audience-based objectives in online gaming. However, with the recent rise of live streaming, more and more individuals are gaining the ability to share a much larger variety of content, hopefully eventually leading to a new constant form of entertainment similar to television for users.

Cost-effective Broadcasting

As with other DIY online activities, cost is a major factor that influences why individuals choose to live stream their content on their own. When discussing the cost of live streaming content, we need to look at the price of the stream itself, as well as the cost to the viewers. The price for streaming is relatively low when compared to traditional broadcasting through satellite or cable television. A typical live streaming package that provides all the necessary tools for streaming can range from free to around $500. Meanwhile, television broadcast requires anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 every month, and that’s just for an average-size audience. The savings to potential streamers is significant. An average person looking to share some content with their friends can think about broadcasting it without worrying whether it’s going to cost too much. This is especially relevant to gaming, where there are many different size organizations who may have an interest in streaming content to promote their brand. Streaming opens the door for even the smallest of these organizations (or even individuals) to begin doing this, as they will not have to commit the large sum of money that would be required to get their content televised.

Popular DIY Live Streaming Services

Realizing that competition for internet video content was quickly heating up, and perceiving the shift from television to online as the potentially new frontier for media distribution, Facebook decreed that its users would need an incentive to not only produce live content on Facebook itself but also try to do it on the site’s own live video hosting services. As of early 2016, Facebook Live was made available to all users after an initial period of celebrity exclusive use, and features a mobile and desktop compatible app that can directly share live video or set up a broadcast for the future. In an effort to make Facebook Live the ‘anywhere, anytime’ video sharing option of choice, an aggressive marketing strategy has been taken to integrate live notifications and post sharing into the standard user experience, as well as offering breaching services at a financial and viewer traffic loss for a temporary free use of the product, and building sharing bots/plugins for popular third-party streaming apps that exist within the ‘core’ streaming community. These approaches, combined with the service’s ability to target a user’s existing Facebook audience on a familiar and staying page, and a very aggressive buyout and higher offer towards popular Twitch streaming personalities (disallowed from backflowing live content to their Facebook fan pages), have indeed created a visible, if not hotly debated, shift in modern streaming trends.

For people looking to get started with their own live streaming channel, the likelihood is that the first destination will be YouTube. Google’s grand video sharing platform has enjoyed massive popularity over the years, and recent changes to how channel eligibility have made it easier than ever to access live broadcasting features. All that’s needed to get started is a verified channel (achieved via a cellphone number confirmation to ward off spam) and a confirmed standing within YouTube itself. Once that’s sorted, the feature will be available within the uploading interface, and a degree of setup is required by clicking through a couple of agreement options (such as if the event is aimed towards kids) and going through a many-page stream setup process. At first glance, this may all seem somewhat convoluted, but once completed for the first time, these settings will be saved for future streams, and the steps will become second nature with repetition. YouTube provides a proven reliable platform for directly recording or broadcasting over a computer, especially for those that already have a subscriber base in place on the site ‘proper’, as viewer announcements from subscriptions carry over to live content. A plethora of options for differing video media, chat, and stream layout are available once the stream is ongoing, and events can be scheduled in advance with their own URLs to be shared and archived within the host channel for later viewing. However, these awesome features are offset by a notorious Google integration that not only limits direct browser or mobile viewing in certain countries depending on legal standing (an issue that has affected couch co-op Best Friends and Super Best Friends streams in the past), but also directs traffic to higher paying sponsors of YouTube via ad search engine relevance, often leaving lower viewer counts buried under related videos of a different context.

YouTube Live

For the average user YouTubers just wanting to directly engage with their subscribers, its reasonable simplicity and easy access through the mobile app will make it a desirable choice. It’s also suitable for the gamer wishing to stream on YouTube Gaming without a high-quality recording setup, provided they are willing to use Google Hangouts due to it being the only way to access the broadcast feature without third-party apps. However, for the professional webcaster looking to earn some loot from their live content, especially those already partnered with YouTube, the lack of monetization abilities unless going through partnered encoders is a glaring downside. Despite this, at its most basic level, it’s a solid platform for all kinds of live broadcasting provided you have a large existing or potential audience from your YouTube channel.

Powered by the world’s most popular video search engine, YouTube Live’s 1.5 billion logged in monthly viewers give it a potentially higher minimum audience than USTREAM’s. Its principle is diffusing live streams smoothly across all platforms and devices, which is the same as standard YouTube videos. It offers a free app to get started, which consists of broadcast, chat, and a YouTube Gaming playlist. However, more advanced functionality such as transcoding, external desktop encoder capability, paywall, or channel monetization features are only available with the purchase of a streaming package from one of the many encoders partnered with YouTube Live.

Facebook Live

With Facebook constantly improving their user experience, they have recently added “Facebook Live” for all users. This allows users to broadcast from their phone straight to their news feed. The video can be posted to the users’ profile or deleted upon finishing the broadcast. Viewers can discover live videos from friends and public figures. Users can subscribe and receive notifications when a specific user is broadcasting. Notifications will also be displayed for users viewing related content. Facebook Live also has a search feature allowing users to search live or past videos. This is something that we are going to take advantage of with this project. We can create a Facebook page allowing family, friends, or anyone interested to follow our progress building the car and view our Q&A sessions. We can schedule Q&A sessions and our followers will receive notifications and be able to engage in real time. This will allow us to engage and receive feedback from our viewers. Compared to other live stream services, Facebook’s user base and continuous integration make it quite compelling to use.

One step up on the instant personalization of sharing their lives, users began to take interest in webcasting at first personal blog sites where they could keep an ongoing account of their personal lives that others could subscribe to and follow. A number of websites supported live streaming with public or private access; others supported recorded video streaming on a specified topic that could be followed by various user communities, often featuring scheduled live chats with the featured streams. Users can now take advantage of application services that will enable one person or an event to broadcast to a very small targeted audience, private or public, allowing featured two-way audio-video communication using consumer audio and video technologies.

Instagram Live

The Instagram platform has potential. However, measuring the extent of its reach is difficult as stories can only be accessed if the user is following the player. All content is also erased after 24 hours, rendering it difficult to reuse content from the story since it would need to be recorded via a camera. While a significant portion of potential fans can be reached, it would involve indirect marketing of the Live Story and a reminder to tune in at the specified time. This service functions best as a casual and on-the-fly tool for personal fan interaction and minor promotions.

Instagram owns Instagram Live Stories, and it is a fresh approach to engaging clients’ fans and followers. The Live Stories feature has been available for less than one year now, and it has the potential to be a game changer. This tool allows instantaneous engagement with viewers. In addition to the usual hearts and comments, viewers can submit requests to join the Live Story. This is important as it opens the doors for potential collaborations between influencers or even fan engagement with their idols. A possible way this can be used to generate revenue is viewer-funded contests. In the surf community, we have seen people do paddle races as well as obstacle courses, with viewers commenting on the challenge and sending them a few dollars to attempt the challenge.

Impact on Social Media and Content Creation

The Rise of DIY Live Streaming: How Businesses Can Use Online Video Gefen, 1 min ago 0 1 min read times read 1000 1 What is DIY Live Streaming? The Rise of DIY Live Streaming: How Individuals Are Using Services to Share Their Lives is a study published in the Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy. It investigates the trend of do-it-yourself (DIY) broadcasting on social networking platforms through a method known as live streaming. Supplementing traditional ethnographic methods with semi-structured interviews and focus groups, the study involved observing streamers and their viewers on the live streaming platforms Periscope, YouNow,, and Twitch. The data collection period lasted from June 2015 to January 2016. An active live stream viewership of 1.5 million users at any given time and rapidly increasing complexity in streamers’ use of media (Ruberg, 2016: p. 81), suggest that there is significant interest and potential for this kind of work. With an eye on the future of online broadcasting, this paper announces the arrival of DIY live streaming as a potentially transformative media literacy practice. The main objective of this study is to describe and analyze this emerging trend in online broadcasting from a new media literacy perspective informed by fan studies and game studies. It begins by situating live streaming within the context of shifts in media production and consumption due to digitalization.

Influencer Marketing and Brand Collaborations

In comparison to celebrity endorsements, a benefit of influencer marketing is that often the audiences of the influencer and the brand will overlap and be of a similar demographic. Additionally, influencers are seen as more relatable and trustworthy, an influencer’s audience is likely to feel as if they are receiving a recommendation for a product from a friend. This type of sponsored content can provide a healthy revenue stream for influencers and often allows them to rely less on alternative income sources such as donations or sub goals which can hinder the viewing experience for the audience. However, as the line between traditional entertainment media and influencer content continues to blur, there is potential for government regulation of influencer marketing, and the requirement for influencers to clearly disclose sponsored content.

Unveiling influencer marketing, the rise of DIY live streaming has seen many influencers using live streaming as a way to connect with their audience base on a more personal and raw level. These influencers are able to leverage their personal brand and lifestyle, creating sponsored content with brands that do not feel like a traditional ad. Influencer marketing can come in many forms, with a popular and effective method being the influencer simply using the product live on stream or creating content based around the product. Live streaming allows for direct and immediate audience engagement, which can be a valuable asset for brands looking to get feedback on products. Influencers are able to involve their audience with Q&A sessions about the product and often feedback from the audience can shape how the influencer will promote the product. While these partnerships can be profitable and valuable to both parties, there can be a fine line between sponsored content and selling out, and it is important that influencers do not compromise their personal brand and integrity.

Shaping Online Communities and Trends

Individuals are able to invite others into their community and engage in real-time discussions. The interactivity of live streaming and the ability for viewers to ask questions makes it easier for creators to relay knowledge and for viewers to learn. Recipe-related streams are able to teach viewers how to cook a certain dish, and gaming streams often feature gameplay tutorials. This trend has been prevalent with the creation of online classes that vary in content from art to fitness. An analysis of reveals a large number of art-related broadcasts where individuals are providing real-time drawing tutorials. Viewers are able to ask instructors about techniques and receive feedback on their drawings. Coming full circle, the instructor has the option to ask the audience for input on what they would like to learn. These types of community events have become a new form of peer-to-peer learning.

The way creators interact with their audiences has drastically changed. Interactions have evolved from one-sided text responses to community-oriented online events. Our research provides significant evidence that online communities are being solidified through DIY live streaming. Prosumers are increasingly turning to live streaming as a way to engage in real-time with like-minded individuals. As seen in the rise of cooking and food-related content, communities are forming around niche topics. Sharing and experiencing food is often a social activity, and new websites have allowed individuals to invite others into their kitchen. An example of this is with the website, where users are able to live stream content of varying activities. This has led to people from all over the world hosting their very own cooking show.

Evolving Content Creation Strategies

Live streaming content scheduling may use some strategies to remind their viewers the specific time that the streamer will start their live streaming. E-mail blast, social media notifications, video trailers, and countdowns are some of the examples. By providing a schedule and using strategies to remind the audience, it can lead to audience retention and expectation, which is beneficial for the streamers. A bigger audience would also give more options for streamers by considering the trending or whatever the audiences want to watch. More than just interactive, the content may have the possibility to change the trend in the same way as TV programs.

This section provides insightful understanding of the evolution in the content creation strategies from video content to the live streaming content. Comparing with the traditional video content creation, the live streaming content creation is the on-spot, live status, more interacting with the audience. Viewers would have more possibility to involve in the live content. The traditional video content, which is the file saved on the server and YouTubers can publish it whenever they want.

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