Thanks to technology advances and the broadband connections that make watching online video a less painful experience than in the past, American viewership of streaming live video has grown 648%, to more than 1.4 billion minutes, in the past year.
In contrast, the time that Americans spent on non-live sites YouTube and Hulu.com increased 68% amd 75%, respectively, over the same time period.
The data, revealed in research from comScore, indicates that top live video publishers like Justin.tv, USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam are reaping most of the benefits of the hockey-stick uptake. The sharp growth is worth paying attention to, despite the fact that live TV still accounts for only a fraction of the total time spent watching online video. “Its sharp growth indicates viewers’ growing comfort with the content,” said comScore’s Andres Palmiter, in a blog. He added that the live format that might yield greater revenue opportunities than more traditional online video sites over time.
“Live online video sites have not only been successful in building audience, but also in keeping that audience tuned-in,” Palmiter noted. “For instance, the average live streamed video view is 7% longer than the average online video view. If you narrow the audience to a specific demographic, though, live video really begins to prove its advertising value to media planners.”
Proving the point, the data shows that live video sites are 72% more likely than the average online video feed to gain the eyeballs of the coveted “males age 18-34” demographic. Those young men make up about 30% of the total live video viewing audience.
“Although live video sites may not have the cachet or visitor base of more established broadcast brands or larger video portals, they do provide a savvy planner with the tools to reach valuable targeted audiences,” Palmiter continued. “As live-streaming technology moves more mainstream, I believe content creators will increasingly realise the importance of mirroring their live TV strategy with live online video as well.”
Justin.tv, USTREAM, and Livestream are vying for supremacy as the leading live video publisher. In July, USTREAM reached more than 3.2 million unique viewers, with Justin.tv reaching 2.6 million and Livestream 2.4 million. But in terms of total minutes, viewers logged nearly 900 million minutes watching Justin.tv in July, outpacing the other two sites. Justin.tv also just announced mobile applications for Android and iOS, which will likely bolster its viewing numbers.