Live-streaming Life in the era of Social Distancing

by admin

Live-streaming Life in the era of Social Distancing

by admin

by admin

LIFE UP-STREAMING: Live streaming in the age of social distancing, and its implications on business owners and marketers. 

Live streaming is a real-life event – whether it is a training session, a panel discussion, an interview, a product launch, or a party. Here, viewers become participants of the show while staying in their own location and they can communicate (through Q&A, polling) with the host in real-time. 

Live Streaming during COVID19

 You can watch live video streaming everywhere – on any location and on any device. Including one’s home, where most of us are contained. Especially now. 

 Live streaming during the COVID-19 lockdown enables people to engage themselves in experiences while adhering to the constraints of our new reality. It’s an opportunity for people, the social creatures, to connect with others and an opportunity for brands that are out of sight, to find new sources of relevance during social distancing. 

 There is a restrictive physical intervention due to which people are finding out ways to keep themselves busy, and most importantly, connected. And to feel connected, they facetime / WhatsApp video calls with their friends and family, and even host zoom parties with colleagues to keep themselves engaged.

 In their pursuit for connection and engagement through digital platforms, live streaming will become a part of the new normal for content consumption. Even in India. 

 Here’s why live streaming will create a space of its own. 

  • Live stream video is a real-time show, and hence, people don’t know what will happen in the next second. 
  • Live stream videos cannot be binge-watched, and hence, it creates the thrill of scarcity. 
  • Live stream videos can be hosted by anyone, including your favourite player/ musician/ mentor-figure from one’s personal interest areas. 
  • Live stream videos contain on-going human interactions and can make one feel like a part of an (online) community. 

Live streaming makes people feel like they are with the crowd, even when today there lies none during the age of social distancing. 

 While there are live experience streaming apps, like Lemonade, their paid programs haven’t become mainstream in India yet. The adoption of paid experience streaming apps may become more prevalent amongst young, metro audiences. However, it’s the adoption of live streaming across popular content search platforms, like YouTube, and social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, that will witness on-boarding of even the older generation. 

 At WolfzHowl, we have attempted to understand this emerging trend in people’s lifestyles and have delved deeper to decode what it means for creators, business-owners and marketers in terms of opportunity and treat. 

The aspects of life and lifestyle that have adopted live streaming are 

  • Nightlife/ partying 
  • Movies & creative content 
  • Shopping 
  • Cultural entertainment 
  • Religion
  • Sports & games 
  • Skilling & education

Delving into the trends in each aspect of lifestyle mentioned above, and their implications:

Nightlife/ partying:
Nightlife culture has emerged a strong trend among millennials and GenZ, but has witnessed a major hit due to COVID since lockdown. As the demand remains constant, brands and clubs will be looking to reach an audience in different ways.

For example, after Singapore ordered the closure of many entertainment venues last week following a steady rise in infections, popular nightclub “Zouk” threw a “cloud-clubbing” party, streaming live performances by six DJs via an app. Live comments from clubbers were scrolling past on the DJ’s laptop, and song requests from them guided the music and the mood in a certain direction. In return, clubbers sent virtual gifts to the DJs such as bells and snowflakes that can later be exchanged for cash. The turnout, there were 200,000 total views for the three-hour event and at its peak, 5,600 people were watching via the app.

 With the increased lockdown and a predicted second wave post monsoon, DJs and night club brands on a quest to preserve their popularity will host more virtual parties. This is going to change the way people perceive and participate in what’s fun. The tools of video streaming are also likely to evolve to include elements like new filters, virtual gifts, chat and comments options. Bumble dating app sees usage spike. Amid lockdown Bumble app has come with an additional feature of video call and voice call to combat isolation and engage in virtual connection. Dating apps such as hinge and tinder are also seeing rise in new users. Hinge also came up with a virtual video date. There might be more development in the features of these dating apps in the near future.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Taboo categories, like alcohol and cigarettes, that are currently mass-media dark, will have opportunity for promotion.
  • Experiential lifestyle categories, like Hard Rock Café / Social, can ‘productize the experience’ instead of only delivering food. As gigs and parties start in-home, in a private immunized environment, brands can curate these experiences.
  • There’s an opportunity to create interest-based communities, and brands can hyper-target consumers based on the niche insight on consumer’s interest.
  • Better audio gadgets will surge in demand in case of prolonged at-home entertainment, like Bose, Marshall.
  • Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble can sponsor these events to enable people to connect with each other virtually, while being socially responsible.

Movies and other creative content for entertainment:
Netflix did understand human psychology and how to sustain in the market. It realized that human interaction attracts consumers more. Hence, they came up with a Netflix party which is a free chrome extension that lets people spend time together without physically being together. The extension sets up a chat room where your friends and family can watch the movie together. For example, if three people are watching a movie on Netflix party and one person wants to resume the movie it will automatically appear on another person’s screen. If they want to conversate, there is a chatbox besides the movie screen. It includes human interaction.

Spotify also found the need to implement something that will create engagement. It is a music app where the additional feature is you can collaborate with friends and listen to music together. 

Brands have the higher percentage in terms of contributing in setting the kind of a lifestyle in the consumer’s mind. For instance: Brands market their products in a way that tells the consumer that this is the kind of lifestyle that you should have. If you don’t have it then you aren’t happy. Now that certain brands are struggling to cope up with what they used to market.

 Due to lockdown, it has now become a hurdle to reach the desired audience. Due to the sudden change in the mindset of the consumers due to lockdown. Brands should be able to re-market in a way that fits in the change in mind.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Streaming platforms can package bundles that can be leveraged to create distinct positioning amongst brands. Such bundling can be genre based or belong to a particular “cult”, say Hitchcock classics,   James Bond Series or even Mithun Dance movies. Higher viewer retention and even new subscriber addition over a sustained period may be possible through such a tool. Matterdan, in Bombay, used to run such shows. 
  • Genre based bundling can help brands use the platform as a medium to reach out to a highly targeted customer base (say basis mindset, age..). For instance, Jawa can use this for promotions to a certain “era” of customers as a gifting option to their children. 
  • Interviews keep celebrities (who are brands themselves) stay connected to their fanbase and even that is fodder as space to the brands they endorse, even for product placements. 

People are becoming much more confident about online shopping. Pandemic gave the world an urgent reason to shop from home, retail influencers were live streaming inside of boutiques, offering product closeups, and even trying on clothes, shoes, and jewelry for an online audience. In 2017, live streaming marketplace ShopShops sold a viewer a second-hand Birkin bag for $14,500 — no returns accepted.

For many goods and services, online shopping is now the only kind of shopping that exists, and that could last well into next year — or until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. Consumers are being pushed beyond their comfortable analog habits and toward video communications. Just look at the speed at which millions have adopted Zoom, BlueJeans and other platforms to work with colleagues and talk with friend.

For fashion retail, live streaming commerce models which enable retailers to showcase and present their products on a larger commerce destination could be viable now.

It’s no surprise then that since Covid-19’s assault on China, Alibaba’s taobao live streaming has surged. The number of merchants using it for the first time grew by 719% from January to February. Consumers are shopping for real estate and cars on the platform.  Shanghai Fashion week in late March was fully livestreamed on it: Viewers could pre-order the clothes the models were wearing on the catwalk, as well as buy pieces from the designers’ existing collections. Even farmers have been using the channel to sell mangoes and other crops. The company was hoping to bring hundreds of thousands more retailers into live streaming; now that seems inevitable. 

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • The absence and likely drop in in-store shopping would remove the social aspect of shopping (say in a mall or even on a fashion street). The tacit “social feedback” at the point of purchase would go amiss. An opportunity arises to create more engagement at the time of shopping, especially by fashion retailers in online platforms. For instance, linking virtual try-on on platforms such as Myntra or Lenskart would get an instant social feedback collection tool and create further prospecting. 
  • Digitally broadcasting one’s shopping cart could be another engagement tool that social influencers can use even when physical purchase experiences reduce to a large extent

Cultural entertainment
Many cultural groups in the city have consistently streamed their concerts and events live on YouTube and Facebook, witnessing impressive view count on the platforms.

 Traditional concerts / sabhas who were afraid of extinction are back in demand since they have started live streaming. The major reason for their popularity is the reach they have received through live streaming.

Live streaming provided artist and cultural groups popularity, therefore increasing the scope of events and concerts.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Viability of cultural events for niche, older groups was proving to be unviable due to
    • Reducing and scattered listener base
    • Low connectedness, network strength of older interest groups
  • Streaming of events, as well as high acceptability of the content, delivered digitally makes these niche groups (e.g. Hindustani music lovers, Illayaraja fan groups, or even Qawwali aficionados) alive again. 
  • Such level of networking and digital marketing opportunities therein used to be limited to large, younger groups (e.g. EDM, Hip hop followers, Beliebers, etc.)

Religious groups are now embracing the technology in this lockdown. 

Muslim clerics are mulling a unique way to let people offer prayers and perform other rituals this Ramzan without going out for gathering. The clerics have already urged people not to go to mosques to offer Friday prayers and to obey the guidelines of social distancing. With the holy month of Ramzan around the corner, Muslims are worried about performing Taraweeh, the additional prayers during the month right after the evening Isha Namaz.

Clerics are of the opinion that a live streaming of Taraweeh on various social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter can be introduced along with some guidelines on how to perform it at home.

In Kerala, live streaming of Easter services happened amid lockdown. Good Friday prayers go online in Tamil Nadu. The bible app for kids is available for both Android and IOS.

As people worship from home, the acceptance for the tech and virtual community among the older generation has increased. Spiritual startups are using technology as a tool to complete pooja and rites.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Given social distancing would be prevalent, crowds at religious centers would get lesser crowds. The typical religious household would be conscious and increase worship time at home to compensate for the fact that visiting their regular religious site would not be possible. This is likely to increase demand for worship items used at home(Agarbattis, candles, etc.) and decorative items as the family’s religious corner get a facelift. 
  • Another outcome of religious sites getting lower footfalls would be increased in online or virtual religious tourism which is in its nascency. Say, for a fee a pandit in Puri will do the Puja for you while you’re connected and present digitally. 

Sports and Games:
Indians top the list of most number of downloads in gaming apps. For example, Ludo, Pubg, Plato. Psych has emerged as a favorite game during the lockdown. It has so far been the most popular gaming app in this lockdown.

 Houseparty is an app that lets you connect face to face. There has been an increase in demand for this app because it contains not only video chat but also you can play games while video calling.

Facebook is introducing an app for gaming. It is designed for creating and watching live gameplay. A function app GO LIVE lets users upload streams of other mobile games on the same device by pressing just a few buttons. Those streams can be shared to someone’s personal Facebook page, which becomes feasible for the streamers. Global games business is booming. These are now the new targeting platforms.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Since no fresh content (live matches) are likely for a while channels and websites have resorted to unique methods of keeping their user base engaged. Apart from the regular statistical analysis, opinions, dream teams etc. New engagement tools such as “retro-live” by Cricinfo are being introduced successfully to keep engagement intact (classic case of old wine in new bottle). More such tools are likely to be explored which can also serve as avenues for older brands to promote themselves. 
  • Quizzing – Both app and VC based are becoming popular among quizzing aficionados and are likely to attract more active user bases if social distancing remains the norm. User engagement is an integral aspect of quizzing and given the success of shows like KBC in India, such apps/content is likely to become more board based going forward. 
  • Gaming apps are significant gainers due to the lockdown and multiuser online versions of traditional games such as Ludo are becoming more popular due to the mass user base. Ludo King has recently already launched a video featuring Mika Singh for promoting itself. 

Skills & Education
There has been a sudden rise in enrollment of online courses. People all over the world are participating in the courses of their interest. Everyone’s investing in themselves by learning activities like Fitness classes to online cookery courses.

 Also, one of the reasons for taking up online classes is the guilt of not being productive. Hence, People are trying to be productive as much as they can by taking online classes.

 Due to economic uncertainties, people are afraid of losing their jobs due to which they are participating in online courses to be able to sustain in the commercial world.

 It used to be difficult for everyone to manage their professional life and personal life due to which they barely could give out time for themselves. Online classes during the lockdown helps to eliminate these obstacles. Accessibility and convenience is one of the reasons for taking up online classes.

 Discipline is always been taught to children by their parents. Parents have to come up with a structured environment to be able to implement children’s daily routine which earlier used to be in a lockdown. Especially for working parents who have to also manage household chores.  Online courses are a lifesaver and a help to the parents.

Apart from that it also helps them to spend time with the family by taking online courses like Yoga, dance choreography etc.

There are many online courses like Udemy, Coursera, IIDE that are helping students and professionals help upskill themselves, in a very productive way to pass time. Havard University and google are offering courses for free. IIDE is conducting free webinar courses which helps people decide whether they should further invest in a course.

Implications for marketers and business owners:

  • Education apps such as Byju’s, UnAcademy would move from being good to haves to must-haves and perhaps would collaborate with their offline counterparts such as FIITJEE/Career Launcher/Bansal’s who would want an online channel with reach. The above is true for basic education to school children to professionals looking for upskilling. 
    • Given the expected uncertainties around employability in certain sectors (e.g. hospitality, airlines), a large pool of prospective users might be acquired who want to broaden their skillets to remain employable. 
    • Delivering vocational training and certification online can be a massive addressable opportunity for fast movers. Economic distress, reverse migration and subsequent drop in wage levels which is likely to stay much beyond the lockdown would almost “force” people across age groups and economic strata to take up vocational training and be a part of the gig economy. 

In summation, two common threads bind the themes above and almost serve as underlying hypotheses.

  1. The need to stay connected, more actively now than ever before, and in all activities of life, would lead to consumers or influencers converging in new digital ‘hotspots’. 
  2. Digital spaces, from being new modes of experiencing the old, have the potential to morph into even more novel experience altogether. 

Live streaming has always been existing and has been especially used by influencers in gaming. It’s just that people have started paying attention to the already existing live streaming due to lockdown. Not only will all the runways, fashion week, and launches be live-streamed, but they will be actively attempting to stimulate a sense of community through it. And hence, it will be an essential tool to create long term relationships and brand loyalty during the era of COVID-19. 

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