Posted 01.10.17

Published by Simon in the “Digital” and “Social Media” categories

The Evolution of Live Video

All of the biggest social platforms feature live video in 2017. But, where did it all start? How did we go from broadcasting breaking news to broadcasting giant puddles and Star Wars memorabilia?

YouTube Live

April 2011 – Today

YouTube has been dabbling in live video since the late 00’s. They even featured a large scale YouTube live event in 2008 with celebrities and popular users of the platform. But live was only rolled out to users in April 2016 when it was announced that ‘YouTube Live’ would be available to selected YouTube partners; this was their first significant break in live streaming.

Fun Fact: YouTube was the first platform to support live 360° video.


September 2011 – Today

Probably the most successful live streaming service you’ve never heard of. YouNow handles around 150,000 broadcasts each day. This live platform is popular with social influencers from video platform YouTube and as of August 2014, YouNow have featured a partner programme where content creators can earn cash from virtual goods purchased and a percentage of ad revenue.

Fun fact: In 2016 MTV partnered with YouNow to stream the awards show live from the popular platform.


Started: February 2015 – October 2016

Meerkat saw significant success in February 2015 when it went live (literally) on the website Product Hunt. Despite its widespread use during a US interactive festival, the app was withdrawn from the app store; play store and all services were stopped shortly after its release, in October 2016.

Fun fact: In March 2015, weeks into the viral success of Meerkat, Twitter cut off access to the social graph for the startup, shortly after securing ownership of competing app, Periscope.


Started: March 2015 – Today

By December 2015 Periscope had a whopping 10,000,000 users and there had been 200 million live broadcasts of football matches, natural disasters, music videos, lunch dates and actual dates. The first company to advertise with the Twitter partner company was a newly formed movie studio STX Entertainment in April 2015.

Fun fact: One of the most popular periscope broadcasts featured pedestrians trying to navigate a very large puddle in Newcastle. #DrummondPuddleWatch was then viewed by over 20,000 people!

Facebook Live

August 2015 – Today

In August 2015 Facebook finally decided to make its way in a world of live. Initially, this was rolled out to celebrities and verified profiles only, but by March 2016, Facebook live was available to your everyday users. Marketers from big brands Airbnb and Disney famously started using Facebook live videos to stream interviews from the red carpet of The Jungle Book premiere.

Fun fact: The most viewed live video on Facebook in 2016 was the hilarious ‘Chewbacca Mom’ live stream which has received over 164,000,000 views.

Instagram Live

November 2016 – Today

Instagram was the last social giant to get its hands on live video. The photo sharing application, owned by Facebook made their live video feature a little different to other networks. Instagram ensured live videos were not preserved. The live feature was only made available in January 2017 to UK users, but since its launch there have been live streams from events like London Fashion Week and one social media and PR executive even seized the opportunity to live stream her rhinoplasty surgery, resulting in viral attention for the cosmetic surgery practice she works for.

Fun fact: Instagram received significant backlash from users within days of it’s launch for notifying users each time a live video was started by somebody they’re following, ouch!

Special broadcasting platform mentions also go to: Snapchat (live events),,, MeVee, streamup, Hangw/, Livestream, Stringwire, Ustream & Nom.


WSJ | The Guardian | Expanded Ramblings | Ad Week | Wikipedia | Statista | Eco Consultancy | Sky World | The Mirror | Yahoo | Practical Ecommerce | Tubular Insights | YouTube | Business Insider

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