live streaming statistics

28 live streaming statistics that you should pay attention to in 2020

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

It took nearly 40 years for Andy Warhol’s 1968 prediction to reach its logical conclusion. In 2007, a tech enthusiast named Justin Kan put a laptop in his backpack, strapped a webcam to his hat, and started JustinTV, broadcasting his daily experiences live and unfiltered. It was the world’s first non-stop live stream, the predecessor to TwitchTV, which has since become the world’s largest live streaming platform.

Today’s live streaming statistics show that there is no going back. The industry is here to stay. So let’s take a look at some stats and find out how long 15 minutes really is today.

Key live streaming statistics for 2020

  • 67% of people globally have watched streaming videos.
  • 47% of consumers globally say they watch more live streams than they did last year.
  • 62% of adults in the US are currently subscribed to a video streaming service.
  • With 197.5 million active monthly users, YouTube is the largest video streaming service in the US.
  • Worldwide, 62% of people prefer using smartphones to watch live streaming videos.
  • 47% of social media marketers use live video streaming as a marketing strategy.
  • 80% of consumers would rather watch live video streams than read company blogs.
  • With 3.8 million streamers and nearly 1.27 million concurrent views in 2019, Twitch is the world’s largest streaming service for video gaming.

Global video streaming statistics

 

Let’s start with a little vocabulary. Video on demand is essentially streamed to your PC, phone, or other device when you want it. When you watch a video on YouTube, video streaming is happening. Netflix is a video streaming service too.

We call that video streaming or streamed video, or even on-demand video. We reserve the term “live streaming” to refer to broadcasting events online as they happen. The action is live.

“Video streaming” includes every service that sends video to you online: Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion… it’s a very long list. “Live streaming” refers to just those platforms that let you broadcast or watch events while they are happening.

To get the lay of the land, let’s start with a few statistics about the video streaming market.

 

1. The global video streaming market is estimated to reach $124.57 billion by 2025.

(Grand View Research)

If we consider that this number was only $9.91 billion in 2015, the projected video streaming industry growth is staggering. The compound annual growth rate of 19.6% can be explained by the rapid expansion of smartphones and high-speed internet. People can create and find multimedia content on the go, and watching live videos has been gaining in popularity.

 

2. 70% of people globally watch videos digitally at least once a day.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

The highest concentration of video and live stream viewers is in South America, where 80% of those interviewed in a recent survey watch video content on smartphones, tablets, or PCs at least once a day. The MENA region, which includes the Middle East and north Africa, is also a significant contributor, with 77% of those interviewed watching videos at least once a day. In the US and the rest of North America the average is about 65%, which is the lowest percentage of all regions. Europe and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions are close, with 66% of people who watch videos online every day.

 

3. 62% of adults in the US are currently subscribed to a streaming service.

(Statista)

Video streaming stats show that more than a third of the population in the US is willing to pay for on-demand and streaming video content such as Facebook Watch.

According to Statista, in the third quarter of 2019 Netflix had more than 60 million subscribers – and that’s before we get to YouTube streaming statistics. Netflix has fierce competition from Amazon Prime streaming services and the Hulu streaming platform. The most popular streaming services have a market share that proves that streaming is becoming the preferred method of watching video content.

 

4. With 197.5 million active monthly users, YouTube is the largest video streaming service in the US.

(Statista)

YouTube and its specialized channels – YouTube Live, YouTube VR, YouTube Gaming, and the rest – lead the most popular streaming services when it comes to the number of active monthly users. Netflix is in second place, followed by Hulu, DailyMotion, and Amazon Prime Video. YouTube has several live streaming channels and tens of millions of people stream on YouTube daily, so it’s a significant factor in live streaming as well.

 

Live streaming consumer statistics

 

5. 67% of people globally have watched videos streamed live.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

According to IAB’s live streaming statistics from 2018 more than two thirds of people across the world have watched live streamed videos at least once.

6. 47 percent of consumers globally say they watch more live streams than they did last year.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

According to IAB’s statistics on live streaming, nearly half of people interviewed said that they are watching more live videos than they did a year ago. At 61%, the percentage of live stream viewers who increased their watching habits is the highest in Russia (which has the lowest live stream viewer count according to the same survey). The US is also above the global average, with 49% saying they now watch more live streams than they did previously, while Brazil is at the bottom of the list with only 34% saying that they watch more live videos than they did last year.

 

7. Most people prefer engaging on social media while live streaming videos.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Live streaming statistics show that people love checking social media or interacting on it whether it’s related to the video they are watching or not. Three of the top four answers people gave when asked what they prefer to do while watching live streamers were all related to social networks. In addition to chatting with the people they are watching live videos with, popular answers include checking social media, chatting with people on social media, and commenting on social media. The interactive nature of watching live videos on Facebook and other social networks no doubt plays a large part in the growing popularity of live streaming.

8. 73% of consumers globally prefer watching live streaming videos at home.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Live streaming statistics in 2019 show that a large majority of people prefer live streaming content indoors. In addition to the 73% watching from their homes, another 16% primarily live stream at someone else’s home.  Work and school also came up. Only 12% of people say they watch live streams during hotel stays.

 

9. 71% of people globally consume live video streaming content between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Statistics about the live streaming audience show that most people prefer watching live video during the afternoon and in the evening. It’s a statistic common to many leisure activities, considering that this is the time when most people finish work, get home, and are ready to relax and unwind. What’s also interesting is that the stats on live streaming show a trend of increased live video consumption as the day progresses, starting low in the early morning and peaking at around 11 p.m.

10. More than 50% of viewers abandon a poor-quality stream in 90 seconds or less.

(TechRadar)

According to TechRadar research, consumers don’t have much patience when it comes to bad-quality streams. More than half of the people they surveyed said they would abandon their live streaming platforms within 90 seconds if the video quality was poor or there were constant technical issues or delays.

This could be a big problem for many websites, as the same research found that many free live video streaming sites (and even a lot of paid ones) suffer delays of 30 to 90 seconds. This is especially problematic for those looking to monetize with advertising, as it would be difficult to convince your advertising partners that they are making a sound investment when you cannot keep people on your live stream.

 

11. 52% of consumers globally prefer free ad-supported live streaming.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Speaking of advertising, IAB’s live video streaming statistics show that people are mostly interested in free live streaming, even if it is supported by ads. In the US and the rest of North America, 54% of respondents voted in favor of this system, with 30% preferring an ad-free subscription on one of the online video streaming services, and only 16% saying the would pay for individual live video streams that are free of ads.

 

Live streaming content and device statistics

 

12. Content quality is the primary factor when choosing a live video streaming service.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

IAB’s research should surprise no one, really, but what’s interesting is the second most mentioned factor. Streaming content quality came up 45% of the time ahead of connection speed at 38%. This reinforces what we mentioned earlier – people have little patience for bad quality and laggy streams. In the age of instant gratification, waiting a minute or longer for the stream to load feels like an eternity, and spending any time at all watching bad-quality content is an easily avoidable waste of time. Therefore, top live streaming sites need to make sure that they are well optimized in addition to offering quality content. Other important factors to consider are content availability, price, and time of day.

13. Consumers watch live video 10 to 20 times longer than on-demand content.

(Forrester)

According to a Forrester survey, people are much more likely to spend a long time watching live streams. As much as people enjoy on-demand content, they also like feeling like they are up-to-date. Watching content just as it is aired is about as fresh as you can get it.

 

14. 2% of people globally cite social network platforms as a key source of live streaming content.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

More than half of the respondents in an IAB global survey said they get streaming content primarily from social platforms. Whether they watch Facebook Live or other popular live streaming apps such as Instagram/Snapchat Stories, this form of live streaming is more popular than digital streaming services such as Hulu Live or YouTube Live, which were mentioned 41% of the time. Other notable sources of live streamed video are TV network websites and apps such as BT Sport (34%) and gaming sites and apps (33%).

 

15. 67% of consumers globally cite the ability to stay up to date 24/7 from anywhere as the primary motivator for watching live streaming content.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

According to IAB research, the live video streaming industry owes its success in no small part to the fact that it makes people feel like they are up-to-date and informed on the latest content.

Viewers also appreciate the fact that it’s easy to catch up or check on content anywhere and at any time. The social aspect of live streaming is interesting too. More than a quarter of respondents mentioned the “more personal feeling” of live streams as attractive, and 25% said they enjoy interacting with people who have similar interests.

16. Only 12% of people in the US are able to find content on streaming platforms easily.

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

It turns out that few people find content discovery and recommendations helpful in finding streaming content. All of the most popular video streaming sites use algorithms to predict user preferences based on viewing history, trending videos, and other factors. In practice, consumers disregard the suggestions. They report that the alternatives – UI layout, search boxes, and so on – unsatisfactory.

 

17. 62% of people globally prefer using smartphones to watch live streaming videos.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Considering how popular mobile phones are, it’s no surprise that live streaming trends in 2018 and 2019 heavily favor the use of mobile devices for accessing streaming content. Second place is held by PCs and laptops with 37%. Tablets follow with 25% and Smart TVs were mentioned 20% of the time. Notably, only 11% of people mentioned gaming consoles and 10% video streaming devices such as Chromecast. These live streaming statistics are especially interesting when you consider:

18. SmartTVs are the preferred device for longer live video streaming sessions, and mobile phones and tablets for shorter ones.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

When it comes to streaming live video content for 30 minutes or more, most people prefer using SmartTVs, PCs, and laptops. As many as 11% of people on SmartTV’s stream for three hours or more, compared to only 6% doing so on their mobile phones.

 

Live streaming marketing statistics

 

19. Companies spent more than $90 billion on video content in 2018.

(Forrester)

According to a Forrester analysts, the number will rise to $102.8 billion by 2023. It’s clear that these statistics on video streaming are not lost on marketers. As demand for video content rises so do marketing investments.

Modern generations prefer shorter, more interactive content, so it’s no surprise that videos are one of the most effective methods to communicate with a brand’s target audience.

 

20. 47% of social media marketers use live video streaming as part of their marketing strategy.

(Social Media Examiner)

When it comes to live streaming on social media statistics, Social Media Examiner research shows that almost half of media marketers already implement live streaming. The percentage is rising steadily. In the future, most social media marketers are likely to incorporate some kind of live streaming into their advertising strategy.

 

21. 62% of live streaming videos used in social media marketing are 10 minutes or shorter.

(Social Media Examiner)

Worldwide, viewers prefer shorter live streams. That includes live streaming marketing. Brand managers are tailoring marketing content to be short and to the point while still providing the “personal touch” that live streaming offers. The longer a video is, the more chance you have of losing your prospect. Advertising messages should be short and to the point, and the same holds true in the live streaming industry.

 

22. 80% of consumers would rather watch live video streams than read company blogs.

(Livestream)

People prefer watching videos to reading things on the internet. The same goes for researching products and services. Marketers should be more interested in learning how to live stream video about their company’s products rather than considering how to write an engaging blog containing the same information.

Social posts fare even worse than blogs – as many as 82% of those interviewed said that they would prefer video.

 

23. Over two-thirds of live stream consumers globally have engaged with advertisements that they saw while watching live streamed content.

(Interactive Advertising Bureau)

A surprisingly high number of consumers in IAB’s survey report that they have reacted positively to in-stream advertising. The best reception was noticed in the MENA region, where 89% took some action relating to the advertisement. The most common responses to advertising include finding out more about the product, talking about the product with friends, and recommending the product.

According to IAB’s live streaming usage statistics, people in the APAC region are least impressed by ads, with 57% taking action. This is followed by Europe and the rest of Africa with 59%, North America with 62%, and South America with 71%. As annoying as they can be, advertisements on live video streaming sites have proven to be very effective.

 

Live streaming gaming statistics

 

24. With 3.8 million streamers and nearly 1.27 million concurrent views in 2019, Twitch is the world’s largest streaming service for video gaming.

(TwitchTracker)

Twitch streaming statistics are impressive. The service’s all-time concurrent viewer peak was 3.99 million. Twitch has had more than 126,000 channels active at the same time. As of February 2018, the service had more than 140 million unique monthly users. This makes it by far the best live stream software for gamers looking to get famous for doing what they love.

 25. Twitch was also the most watched and streamed live streaming service for gaming in Q3 2019.

(Streamlabs)

At 2.551 billion hours watched during the third quarter of 2019, Twitch streamer stats blow the competition out of the water. When it comes to eSports streaming, YouTube video statistics are far less impressive, with about 675.9 million hours watched on YouTube Gaming Live during the same period. Mixer? About 90.2 million hours.

Twitch has a huge lead when it comes to hours streamed, as well. During Q3 2019, 87.3 million hours of content were streamed on Twitch, compared to 32.6 million hours on Mixer and only 11.1 on Youtube Gaming Live. When it comes to gaming, live streaming statistics reveal Twitch’s dominance.

26. Top five Twitch live streamers have nearly 27 million subscribers worldwide.

(Business Insider)

Business Insider’s live streaming stats are certainly eye-opening. Gamer TFue is currently leading the pack with 7.01 million followers. He is trailed by shroud with 6.45 and TSM| Myth with 5.1 million followers.

Ninja, previously the world’s largest streamer, used to stream on Twitch before switching to Mixer. During his glory days, he had more than 14 million subscribers. It remains to be seen how his switch will affect the industry now that he will exclusively stream on Mixer instead.

 

27. With 223.4 million hours watched in Q3 2019, Fortnite is the most live streamed video game at the moment.

(Streamlabs)

Epic Games has hit the jackpot with this title, which has consistently topped gaming lists for the past year. It also holds the title for highest peak viewership at 1,611,930 simultaneous views, according to Twitch Metrics. If you’re wondering what other video games to live stream,  Fortnite streaming is followed by World of Warcraft and League of Legends. WOW streaming was watched for a total of 189.9 million hours and LOL streaming 218.4 million hours. Upcoming LOL tournaments will likely swing the momentum in its favor in coming months. Other popular titles include Dota 2, Fifa 20 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

 

28. With 342 million hours watched in Q3 2019, Blizzard Entertainment is the most watched live streaming publisher at the moment.

(Streamlabs)

We’ve covered platforms and games, but what about publishers? This category is largely dominated by two powerhouses – Blizzard and Riot Games, with 342 and 326.7 million hours watched during Q3 of 2019. Riot Games is the publisher of League of Legends, one of the games with the highest live stream viewer count of all time. Blizzard gets its top spot thanks to several games ranking well. Between WOW, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, it’s easy to see why Blizzard’s Twitch and Mixer streamer stats are topping the charts. Meanwhile, Fortnite is the only real powerhouse earner for Epic Games, earning Epic the fourth spot on the list.

 

FAQ

 

  • What is the most popular live streaming site?

Twitch is by far the largest and most popular live streaming site at the moment, despite starting out as a gamers-only streaming platform. Other notable mentions are Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and Mixer.

 

  • How do you watch live streams?

You pick your platform and device of choice, find a stream you are interested in, and press play. YouTube Live, for example, has a Live icon at the bottom of the player. If you’re wondering how to watch live videos on Facebook, simply click on the menu and select the Live Videos tab.

 

  • Why is live streaming important?

Most people like it because of the unprecedented level of interaction and engagement that it offers. It feels more immersive and offers levels of interaction that are unattainable through traditional videos.

 

  • How many people stream for a living?

Twitch has over 3.8 million active streamers, up from a mere 300,000 in 2012. Live streaming statistics are definitely on a sharp rise, so that number is climbing quickly.

 

  • How long should a live stream be?

It depends on what you’re streaming. In general, a length of 10 minutes or less gets you more viewers. However, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. According to the live streaming video statistics we’ve found, most people use mobile phones to access live streaming content, and the preferred length of live streams for those using mobile phones is 10 minutes or less.

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