Why conduct a livestream?
Settling in the new-normal requires a little bit of creativity, this pandemic has been an outlier but it does not mean that life and its events cannot continue to take root and thrive. Due to the limited capacity at social gatherings, the traditional trade shows and industry conferences have been taking a backseat. But alas, with the use of livestream technology, there have been pandemic-friendly ways to get information out, and surprisingly, has tapped into markets and garnered viewership numbers like never before. The low costs of setting up a livestream has made it increasingly attractive to businesses as they no longer account for traditional event costs such as rental, labour and set-up/tear-down fees. This has brought about a sudden surge in companies utilising livestream platforms for digital marketing campaigns and receiving an e-invite for webinars or attending an electronic general meeting is becoming the staple.
Utilizing live streams for businesses
Alibaba is one of the companies that has got the ball rolling on retail and livestreams, it was reported that a whopping $70 billion was generated in sales within 4 days of this year’s Singles Day Shopping event. An astonishing ⅔ of Singles Day Shoppers in China were estimated to have tuned into livestreams for the purpose of grabbing discounts and obtaining instantaneous information. Needless to say, livestream could be the future of retail as more and more consumers prefer to shop from the comforts of their homes and avoid massive crowds. Leveraging on livestreams is a great advertising tactic to employ as the accessibility of such virtual events allows the consumer to be familiarised with the product or brand for as long as they wish unlike physical events with a limited shelf life. This allows the business to tap into previously unreached markets and diversifies the client base and demographics. Moreover, we mustn’t neglect the impact this pandemic has had on company morale, remote working and even remote leadership for management teams around the world have been proven to be challenging as not every employee has got a conducive workspace set-up at home and as productivity levels have taken a hit, so has staff morale. Corporate firms have taken advantage of livestreams to organise costume-themed townhalls with their staff and allow team bonding events to take place safely.
Common livestream platforms
There is an increasing number of livestream platforms and networks in the market but not every platform is suited for you and your audience’s needs. The space in which the industry operates is crucial when choosing a livestream platform as some sites support live monetization and e-commerce features whereas others are purely made to stream content and mass deliver information. The most popular social media livestream platforms are currently Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Youtube. These platforms all come with a go-live feature inbuilt into the apps and it makes it the most accessible platform to deliver entertainment. Such casual platforms are usually used by influencers, celebrities, or just personal accounts for entertainment purposes or product launches in the fast moving consumer goods category such as beauty and fashion. Due to its wide and technologically-savvy demographic, its reach is usually massive. On the other hand, we have live streaming platforms that are more formal contenders such as Zoom, Cisco Webex and Bluejeans that are mostly used for teleworking and industry conferences by industry leaders. These platforms offer paid plans for more comprehensive features and this makes it less accessible as compared to social media platforms that are free for all.
Work from home is here to stay and so teleworking or teleconferencing is definitely a common application of livestream platforms. Teleworking as such involves business meetings with clients, supervisors and colleagues to improve productivity while still keeping a safe distance. It is important to remain connected to keep communication flowing and support each other emotionally in such unusual times.
Be it Alibaba, Lazada or Shopee, these e-commerce platforms have all utilised livestreaming to promote its sales and shopping events like Singles Day or 12.12. E-commerce companies generally create hype using digital marketing campaigns by bringing in celebrities that are going to headline these shopping events. Not only do they drop last minute deals and information, they allow the livestreams to be shared on various social media platforms and this way you can connect with your friends and look at their latest hauls. This connection is brought to consumers at levels unimaginable before and transcends any kind of retail therapy in brick and mortar stores.
Applications: Religious services
One of the more surprising services that have incepted from the pandemic has got to be online religious services. Especially vital to emotional and spiritual wellbeing, religious services takes up a huge chunk of most people’s weekends and their support systems usually stem from there as well. Due to social distancing capacity measures, it is impossible to go to sunday church, friday prayers or congregate at the temple and yet these are the services the community requires the most right now. Religious groups have turned to livestreaming platforms to conduct sunday sermons and even confession booth sessions to better support the community and to keep events going. Some of these platforms even include sermon-friendly teleprompter-like features, they have plugins that were especially made to resemble confessional booths. We do not necessarily have to dilute our experiences but rather take a different direction to get the same job done.
A huge concern during the pandemic transmission risks at healthcare institutions, that includes hospitals, polyclinics and outpatient clinics. A real concern involves a healthy patient being infected with Covid-19 because of a follow-up consultation and so to cancel out that risk completely, doctors and specialists alike in Singapore have turned to livestream platforms for consultations and diagnosis purposes. Follow-up treatment like medication is then post-delivered to the patient’s home and this is followed by another tele-consultation in a couple weeks. This is time efficient and especially necessary for chronically ill patients who have to return to clinics for regular check-ups.
Security features in livestream platforms were not at the forefront of the matter until a spate of high-profile hacks during online lectures that took place infront of minors in Singapore. Lessons were compulsorily moved online during circuit breaker this year to prevent community spread and so students from ages 6-26 had to access their syllabus through online platforms. A key feature of this is the ability to record online lectures that makes it easier for students to refer when they are revising closer to examinations, which is not possible if it was a physical lecture.