Restream, a platform that facilitates live streaming across 30+ platforms simultaneously, has raised $50 million. Gaming and esports have thus far dominated the live streaming format with major tech companies aggressively pursuing a share of gaming’s $150 billion projected revenue for 2020. But more recently live streaming has become an appealing tool to a new subset of users; namely social media users, influencers and brands that are leveraging the format to engage followers and target audiences. However, thus far, the prominent avenue for streamers is to build a community around a single platform. Streaming platforms re-emphasise this loyalty to the platform by creating exclusive rights deals with popular streamers. However, this siloing of streaming content to a single platform is not conducive to this expanding demographic of streamers who want the broadest exposure. Platforms like Restream have a role play in allowing influencers to distribute their reach and broadening their scope.
To understand Restream’s role in facilitating this broadening demographic, we first need to understand why the characteristics of live streaming are powerful in the context of social media. When it comes to social media, a key factor that propagates a network’s vitality is its ability to create repeat consumption habits in its users. The ultimate goal here is to capture and retain user attention in an increasingly crowded space. An individual’s sense of self (social identity) is based on their belonging to certain social groups – the degree to which a user feels this sense of belonging will subsequently determine the level of repeat consumption habits that form in the user. Typically any content or engagement on social media already allows users to build, consolidate or amplify their sense of belonging to social groups. Live streaming content format, as a subset of social media, provides users with two distinct avenues of such identification:
- One-on-one streamer identification: users are able to directly communicate with the streamer in a live environment
- Group identification: live participation with other ‘group’ members
One of live streaming’s distinct advantages over other formats is its ability to retain the user’s attention for a longer period of time than static or pre-recorded content – on Facebook it has proven 5-6x as engaging. We can trace this quality back to the sense of self (social identity). The level of engagement is higher when a user is able to relate to the idea/event/topic being discussed in a more collaborative real-time environment with peer groups who share the same identification. It’s able to supercharge what social media fundamentally does for a user’s sense of belonging.
With live streaming, continuous consumption habit loops are able to persist beyond the platform to accrue to the streamer as well. Where a user reading written content or watching pre-recorded content may easily move onto another activity in the feed (or another feed entirely), a user consuming a live stream is more likely to stay on the streamer’s content for longer. The more effective engagement leads to better conversions – whether that’s compensation, popularity or followership. For these reasons, the format is becoming more popular with social media platforms.
However, while live streaming is unique in its real-time format, once the live nature of it expires it becomes as stagnant as regular content. Arguably, it becomes less valuable than regular content (which was intended to be static) once it’s ‘live’ appeal disappears. This means that streamers must capitalise on their content during the stream itself, which is where a platform like Restream becomes an invaluable tool for maximising reach. Restream’s all in one functionality enables streamers to engage viewers in a multi-chat where they can read and reply to messages from multiple streaming platforms on one screen This not only allows streamers to broaden their reach but also amplifies their direct connection to their viewers. Restream is in the service of allowing streamers to find their sticky communities without imposing the limitations of a closed-off ecosystem.