New times, new streaming platforms

19 April 2022, By Canela

The phenomenon of live broadcasting, or streaming, is changing the way young – and not so young – generations consume audiovisual content. That’s why we’ve included them in our list of PR trends for this year. We’re going to review the most popular streaming platforms to watch out for, and then we’ll look at some tips for communicating on them. Will you join us?

What are the new platforms to look out for?

The first platform that allowed live streaming was RealAudio Player, launched in 1995. However, it was not until the arrival of YouTube in 2005 that streaming user-generated content became popular, giving rise to youtubers. Today, there are numerous services for live video streaming, from YouTube Live itself to Facebook Live, Instagram Live…. Even other social networks, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have incorporated broadcasting into their offerings.

However, there are currently four platforms that are particularly worth keeping in mind at the moment, for different reasons:

  • Twitch: was born in 2011 as a channel within the now defunct streaming service Justin.TV. However, its specialisation in video game and e-sports broadcasts allowed it to survive its creator and become one of the most popular services among young people. Since 2014 it has belonged to Amazon and with the pandemic it has grown to become the leading streaming service, with 590 million users. Although games and sports continue to be the most watched channels on Twitch, its offer now includes everything from music to news and cooking.
  • TikTok: more focused as a social network, this Chinese platform born in 2016 has captivated users with its short videos to record and watch on mobile phones. Although at some point it seemed that rivals such as Instagram could unseat it, in 2020 it experienced a resurgence and has 800 million users worldwide.
  • Discord: is an instant messaging service that allows chat, voice and video conversation. It was designed to communicate during online gaming but is now used to create online communities ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of members. Discord currently has 250 million users and is working to reach beyond video games.
  • BeReal: is the youngest platform, although it was born in 2015, it has only recently become popular. BeReal wants to give a twist to social networks and streaming services. To do so, it invites users to post a photo or video of what they are doing at various times during the day. They only have two minutes to prepare and upload it. The aim is to prioritise authenticity over posturing. The recipe seems to be working, because its audience has grown by 300% this year.

While young people are the main audience for this type of service, its penetration in other age groups should not be underestimated. For example, data is beginning to show that TikTok is no longer the exclusive territory of Generation Z. According to a study by developer App Ape, 40% of TikTok users are now over 30. As the topics covered on these new channels become more diverse, these platforms are likely to reach an ever wider audience.

How to communicate on streaming platforms?

Naturally, the rise of the new platforms and their billion-dollar audiences has attracted the interest of brands. In 2020, global advertising investment in television fell by more than €28 billion, almost the same amount as was invested in streaming platforms. And the forecast is for this figure to have doubled in the last year.

In addition to advertising, be aware of the opportunities that these platforms offer for public relations. Some strategies that can be used include:

  1. Have a presence on the new platforms: just as your brand is on the social networks, if you want to reach these communities the first step is to create accounts on the main streaming services. But be careful! You have to share appropriate content for these channels; it is not enough to recycle posts from other networks.
  2. Collaborate with influencers: for example, look for streamers in your sector who will be live testing your brand’s products on Twitch, sponsor a TikTok live stream or a Discord championship, etc. You should also pay attention to the opportunities offered by social commerce on platforms such as BeReal.
  3. Position your spokespersons on these services: think for example of Chema Alonso, the ethical hacker turned Telefónica advisor who is a regular on social networks such as TikTok. With the right profile and training for this new type of media, why can’t a streamer interview your company’s spokesperson, if he has something interesting to share with his audience?

However, it is not advisable to rush into these new platforms, which, despite their popularity, are still in the minority. Let’s not forget, for example, that the broadcast of Messi’s first match at PSG had six times more viewers on conventional television than on Ibai Llanos’ Twitch channel, with whom he was competing.

Each platform has its own audience and it is key to analyse beforehand which ones we are interested in being on from a strategic point of view, as well as what we can offer on them. At the same time, we cannot leave aside traditional media, because they offer another type of awareness and credibility that are equally important for a brand. In the end, a smart communication strategy is one that chooses the most appropriate channels to reach our audience, whether they are new or conventional.

What is your favourite streaming platform? Comment on social media!