2016 was a year in which major tech companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all poured considerable resources into their respective live video operations. How has that influx of capital affected the viewing public’s perception of live streaming platforms? If a recent study shared by eMarketer is to be believed, Facebook is seeing big returns on its investment. The report reveals that, as of November 2016, more U.S. Internet users say they have watched live video on Facebook than on any other platform.
The report builds on a June 2016 study by UBS Evidence Lab that marked viewer responses within the same category. At that point, 21% of respondents said they had watched live video on YouTube, while Facebook and Snapchat each came in at 14%. Major mobile-first live streaming apps like Periscope, YouNow, and Meerkat hovered in the 10-11% range. In the November study, however, Facebook surpassed YouTube, claiming a 17% share to YouTube’s 16%. The only other platform to see an increase over that five-month period was Twitter, which went from having no live video presence in June to posting a 9% figure in November.
eMarketer noted that the results are not necessarily indicative of the current state of the “live video” industry, since some respondents may have misinterpreted that term. “The majority of YouTube’s content is archived video, as opposed to live, so the Google-owned platform’s outsized presence in a list otherwise devoted to live streaming services suggests that survey participants may have interpreted live video as something other than a stream carried in real time,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.
At the same time, Verna suggests that the recent results cement Facebook as the current “leader” in live video. Considering how much money the social media giant has spent to promote its live infrastructure, we shouldn’t be surprised by its current standing.