Akamai has announced that online coverage of Friday’s Presidential Inauguration broke its live streaming records, with peak live video streaming consumption registered at a mammoth 8.7 Tbps. This is the latest in a run of similar announcements over the last six months that show the growth of live streaming has really picked up momentum.
It’s a very different picture to just a few years ago, when many were predicting the ultimate demise of live television. There’s no denying that sport and news are the main drivers behind the recent surge, but what stands out is just how much major event television is available online now.
An obvious example is football coverage. Major domestic and European matches are streamed across the UK week in, week out. The range of online-only subscription packages available has opened the door to a new audience that wouldn’t otherwise commit to subscription TV. Ever-improving streaming quality is a big factor, too, as is the huge range of content available. For example, BT Sport streams every single Champions League match, opening up a huge amount of action that was previously unavailable to watch live.
Underpinning these developments is the broadcasters’ ability to monetise online channels – it’s no coincidence that the use of Dynamic Ad Insertion technology has also risen sharply over the last twelve months or so. BT Sport would find it a lot harder to justify the cost of securing Champions League football if they weren’t able to apply advertising.
Looking forward, there are many events coming up that will see live streaming audiences continue to grow. The 6 Nations rugby kicks off across Europe next month, followed almost straight away by the culmination of the football season. In the news there are two major European elections to come, plus, of course, the never-ending news cycle that swarms around the newly appointed President Trump. I expect Akamai will see its live streaming record broken again fairly soon.