The explosion of live broadcasts is unprecedented. According to YouTube, searches for live content grew by 4,900% in Brazil during the quarantine. The phenomenon is worldwide. American consultancy Tubular Labs specializing in the Internet video segment indicates that there was a 19% growth in live streams on YouTube at the end of March – an average of almost 3.5 billion minutes of content per day.
There is a sense of community that people find in the videos in this period of social distance. This has taken live video to a new level. According to a study by consultancy Forrester and IBM, the audience for lives is ten to 20 times greater than recorded videos.
The entertainment industry is the most visible part of this movement. With the cancellation of shows, the way was to use the internet. One of the first artists to explore the format was singer Anitta, who started teaching French classes on Instagram in March, with an average audience of 30,000 people per day.
In the field of science, lives were also highlighted. Atila Iamarino, a microbiology doctor and a scientific disseminator made live videos on YouTube about the new coronavirus that had an audience of 380,000 people simultaneously. Live broadcasts are the format most similar to classes, which I am used to giving. In them, it is possible to pass on a lot of information and answer questions.
The increase in the use of video was so significant that internet companies had to adapt to the new reality. According to Akamai, the world’s largest online content distribution network, global data traffic increased by 30% between the end of February and March. For Luiz Fernando Bittencourt, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the internet was overloaded due to the increase in live video transmissions and the increase in videoconferences.
Because of this, companies like YouTube and Netflix have reduced the quality of videos played on the web. We see that, with the quarantine, the videos gained an even greater relevance on the internet. Everyone is embracing this format. People found out that the lives were extremely productive and are beneficial for them and for the companies.
The explosion of live broadcasts raises a question: are they here to stay, or are they a passing wave? In the view of experts, lives are a path of no return. Many businesses and artists experimented with this technology for the first time. They realized the power of connection with the public. The companies now collect audience data to create new experiences in the post-pandemic future. The use of live videos only occurred because companies gave them a chance. It was not the social distance that drove lives. It was the initiative of companies to take lives free of charge to the public. The companies that tried this format will be strengthened. For live broadcasts to continue regularly over the long term, companies will need to find sustainable models that bring a financial return.