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David is Defeating Goliath: Streaming versus Television

The Fight Over Whose Audience is Bigger

In 2016, livestreaming revolutionized the social media world, just as social media revolutionized live streaming. With event-streaming numbers at an all time high, traditional TV viewership is at an all time low. While events like the Super Bowl, which has dominated television audiences for years, recorded all-time high streaming numbers. So what does this evolution in live streaming online mean for television?

It means that audiences are flocking from the typical living room experience to live streaming a variety of events online. In fact, record-breaking audiences now regularly tune into live streams for events that used to dominate the country’s television ratings.

Sean Spicer, Press Secretary for the White House, claimed that President Donald Trump’s inauguration garnered a total of 17 million streams across the internet. Although this figure includes page reloads, auto-plays, and even people who watched for 30 seconds without paying much attention, it shows that live streaming as a medium was easily the most popular way to watch the event. After all, the most popular television network, Fox News, only saw 8.8 million viewers on television.

During the second half of the Super Bowl, Fox’s official live stream went down due to technical difficulties. So the viewers just turned on the TV, right? Wrong. Through their Twitter rants and firey text messages, viewers still chose to stream the game. Many instead chose to view Fox’s Spanish feed. Considering such a blunder from Fox, the fact that Super Bowl 51 was still the smallest Super Bowl audience since 2013 is even more staggering. Are people so in favor of streaming on their devices that they would watch a game in a language they didn’t speak? Quite possibly.

What does this mean for you?

When comparing audience sizes for TV broadcasted events with Internet events, one begins to see the power of live streaming. While 17 million online streams is completely reasonable in 2017, getting 17 million people in front of the TV is nearly impossible. Politics and sports are just a few early examples where livestream audiences are eclipsing those of traditional television. Other industries are likely to fall in the future.

Maybe these statistics are a result of the cord-cutter movement. It could be that our devices have become more advanced, and content has become more easily accessible. Maybe, as a society, we’re on the move a lot more than we used to be, forcing us to watch on our phones or tablets. Whatever the cause may be, one thing is clear: if you’re not live streaming your event, you are missing out on a very serious slice of your potential viewership.