If there were any lingering doubts about whether or not there’s a future in livestreaming, recent news of a $60 million funding round for livestreaming app Live.me should put them to rest. Now a common fixture on social media apps, livestreaming on mobile is a growing market.
Livestreaming may have started in earnest with gaming and Twitch, but livestreaming is evolving, moving off of our desktops and onto our phones. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more have mobile livestreaming components, and all dedicate significant resources to their live platforms. What sets Live.me apart is that it’s a dedicated app that stands alone.
Most of the major livestreaming apps exist as part of a larger platform. Live.me doesn’t belong to any specific app, though. It exists to do one thing: Bring users live videos created on its platform. And it’s working.
Live.me’s user base isn’t huge. It doesn’t hold even come close to the numbers put up by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. But that’s something of a false equivalence, given that the users for their live features come from large existing user bases — 1.94 billion on Facebook, 700 million on Instagram, and over 1 billion on YouTube.
Live.me has 20 million users. It’s much smaller than other platforms, but its users are engaged, creating over 200,000 hours worth of live video content every day. For an app that’s barely a year old and exists outside of other social networking features, that’s significant. The $60 million funding round shows that investors agree.
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Livestreaming saw a lot of growth in 2016 as Instagram and Facebook released Live features and YouTube continued to come into its own. In 2016, 81% of users watched more live video than they did in 2015. But going forward, we’re going to see much more from mobile livestreaming. Following the wider trend of mobile video, livestreaming is going to become a larger part of the way people spend time on their phones.
Related Post: How Much Time Do We Spend On Social Media? [Infographic] Already, 51% of videos consumed online are watched on mobile. As mobile viewing continues to grow, so too will mobile livestreaming. The rise of the Story feature across platforms (beginning with Snapchat and later copied by Instagram and Facebook) shows an appetite for off-the-cuff content that’s less polished and more spontaneous. Livestreaming is a natural extension of that desire for real, in-the-moment content. Users are tuning in to watch livestreamed events, panels, demonstrations, sightings, and more in droves. Many of these things are happening out in the world, away from desktops and camera equipment, and are finding their way online in a live format for the first time. Before, they were documented in videos and photos posted after the moment passed, but because apps and smartphones have enabled livestreaming, new ways to share and create are emerging.
The most interesting thing about the funding round news isn’t the amount invested in a livestreaming platform, it’s the amount invested in Live.me specifically. On the surface, betting on a smaller livestreaming platform that has Facebook and Instagram for competition seems ill-advised. Part of what sets Live.me apart, though, is the flexibility that comes with streams created on the platform. On Live.me, users can choose whether or not to enable video replays and share their streams. If replays aren’t enabled, the live video disappears. Facebook and YouTube don’t have the same feature — livestreams on both platforms stick around unless manually deleted. Instagram’s streams, on the other hand, disappear automatically.
#LivemeBirthday A post shared by Live.me (@streamliveme) on
Live.me lets users stream live, then preserve their content and share across social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is a major selling point for influencers who have followings on more than one platform. Among Live.me’s most notable users are Roman Atwood and Markiplier, both prominent YouTubers. While YouTube has live tools (and Markiplier uses Twitch, too), they may have chosen Live.me for its flexibility in reposting content and for its platform.
A bet on Live.me isn’t just a vote of confidence in mobile livestreaming, but an indication of the way that mobile livestreaming could be headed. Live.me’s 20 million users are active and upload a lot of content, but they’re sharing it across platforms — something that’s relatively unique in the streaming space. It may be that one day we see users who are livestreaming pick a particular platform to stream and post content, but for now, Live.me seems to have found a space for itself by offering creators choice.