YouTube challenged the traditional content delivery market for television programming. Whereas in the early days, YouTube was streaming a fair amount of copyrighted content, Hulu (and others) have stepped in with a legal alternative to streaming media. While this alternative has not negated the value of MegaVideo (with their incredibly deep library and timely releases), Hulu and team have certainly made a meaningful dent.
Now consider the live-streaming market. Sure, CNN and Hulu stream major political events live with social co-viewing options. And let's be real, social is going to drive much of the appointment based viewing moving forward. But other than the occasional political event, there really isn't much free live-streaming in-market.
3 Early Adopters
CBS Sportsline streams March Madness.
- While the video quality has become quite impressive, their live player lacks any social integration, a daughter window option, or an always-on-top option for screen in screen viewing. However, I'm nitpicking. Other than social co-viewing, they really are leading the legal streaming market.
TNT and the NBA streamed a few playoff games.
- TNT's mosaic player is nice, allowing fans to choose between four different views (2 focused on leading players, one standard view and one view from the robo-cams above the backboards). With strong social integration, it's fairly easy to get taken away by the excitement in the social stream. However, weak streaming video quality and a lack of basic information - like a game clock - remind us that this is still a very early solution. That said, it's kind of cool to see what happens on the court when the cameras aren't officially on - like halftime shows and huddles during time outs. It's less like television viewing and more like being at the game.
ESPN is not streaming their NBA playoff games.
- But their fans are. A quick search in Ustream brings up a handful of live streams, all illegal. ESPN isn't making any money on this. The NBA sure isn't. And the fan experience could be better with stronger quality and a professionally designed experience.
You can fight the pirates, or you can adapt to your market's demand. Shift has happened. The music industry has been and continues to be rattled by the evolving digital dynamic. The scripted programming industry has been and continues to be rattled. Live streaming is next. Live streaming is here.