2013 saw some significant live streaming events. The National Theatre Live project continues to allow viewers to watch performances live on cinema screens all over the country at an affordable price. It has opened the theatre doors to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to visit the National to see the outstanding productions.
Drawing on the success of a plethora of live music event streaming, the first ever YouTube Music Awards was broadcast live online for 14 hours in November. YouTube has now decreased the amount of subscribers that account holders need to be able to do live streaming, making it even easier for them to do so.
Live streaming isn't just for broadcasting big budget epic performances though. It is used by a range of organisations for widening audiences for events such as lectures, seminars, new product demonstrations, awards ceremonies and much more.
For example, London School of Economics (LSE) setup a stream so that friends and family of their graduates from around the world can watch the graduation ceremonies. The university has recognised that for many of the families of their international students, travelling to these events to mark the end of a significant investment is not easy. It demonstrates an understanding of their clients while providing a practical solution for them.
Elsewhere, the HMRC run live webinars to help viewers navigate the minefield of tax systems and responsibilities. The New York Times run live events on topics from the new digital age to Breaking Bad to freedom and moral courage with Ai Wei Wei. The Drucker Global Forum 2013 has brought together some of the brightest minds in management. If you weren't one of the lucky few to get a ticket (apparently they sold out fast), the Forum will be live streaming the whole event from Vienna, Austria.
With the technology readily available, it's not just bigger organisations that can afford to do this. Every business has expertise on topics and subjects they can share. So why should you live stream?
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of a live stream is that it allows you to vastly extend your audience, potentially reaching viewers around the globe. It also presents the opportunity for you to broadcast from wherever you are in the world back to your audience.
The timeliness of a live broadcast can whip up excitement around an event, the idea of watching something the moment it happens has a special draw. You can use the live element to generate awareness of a specific product launch, special company announcement or the appearance of a significant visiting speaker. Apple product launch broadcasts are a good example of this how excitement and interest can be generated.
"A live webcast is seen by the audience as having greater value, requiring their involvement at a specified time." Tom Bishop, Knowledge Vision
The immediacy and limited availability of the content requires dedication from the viewer as they have to schedule it. Those who take time to tune in are already interested in your company or product. Therefore, you're playing to a captive audience and warmer leads.
Your audience can interact with the event via social media, tweeting questions and suggestions. This provides you with the opportunity to tailor your content and respond directly to your audience. It also enables you to track engagement as you begin to find out who your audience (and potential clients) are.
In 2015 Lady Gaga will be doing a performance in space that will be beamed live to Zero G Colony - a three day high-tech music festival. Another example that proves not even the sky is the limit when it comes to live streaming.