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Live streaming is key to authenticity, says streaming enhancement startup CEO

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Imagine falling ill with COVID-19 and spending 50 days alone isolating yourself from your wife and daughter. Then imagine your own business growing nine-fold in the space of two months. Then, imagine both of these things happening at the same time.

Daniel Mayer, CEO and co-founder of live streaming enhancement platform BeLive, knows exactly what this is like.

Since launching his business three years ago, Mayer was completely unprepared for what would await him on his return from a European ski trip — where he contracted the novel coronavirus — to his home of Tel Aviv at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From his sick bed, Mayer watched as the demand for his company’s service shot up while workers across the world suddenly all began to work from home, and the demand for live streams dramatically increased.

Daniel Mayer
Daniel Mayer

“Hiring through the COVID-19 pandemic was actually easy […] because the majority of companies are firing people” — Daniel Mayer

According to live streaming platform StreamElements, which obtains its metrics from Arsenal.gg — a publisher of broadcast analytics for the gaming industry — between March and April this year, every major live streaming platform experienced growth. Users increased the collective hours they spent watching live streams by 45%.

Amazon-owned gaming streaming platform Twitch experienced the highest growth rates.

In order to meet this increased demand, Mayer set about doubling the size of his team — who work remotely — using a hiring process that was conducted entirely through Zoom.

“Hiring through the COVID-19 pandemic was actually easy,” he told The Sociable when asked about the challenges of this experience. “Because the majority of companies are firing people.”

BeLive

When Mayer launched his business three years ago, he claims that not many SMEs were interested in the service his team was providing.

“The only people using live streams were people with experience in video conferencing,” he said.

Since lockdown restrictions were imposed worldwide, BeLive’s customers have expanded to include churches, educational platforms, political organizations, personal developers — such as life coaches and yoga teachers — and live shopping platforms.

80% of BeLive users say that they plan to continue to bring their business online, including live streaming

As a business, BeLive claims to enhance live streams for SMEs by providing graphic overlays which help them to brand their streams with tags, widgets, their logo and brand colours on the screen. The company is also a media partner for Facebook Live.

The platform also supports up to three users on screen at one time, encouraging SMEs to broadcast alongside guest speakers to attract more users to connect to their live stream.

BeLive’s ‘agenda feature’ for live stream hosts encourages them to plan out their objectives before starting the broadcast, and constantly reminds them of these goals throughout.

‘Live is here to stay’

According to a survey BeLive conducted among its customers, 57% of them that have joined since March this year were not doing live streams before the COVID-19 pandemic.

80% of users who answered the survey said that they plan to continue to bring their business online, including live streaming.

“Once they see the traction [with live streaming], going back to old tactics will not be powerful” — Daniel Mayer

With this in mind, Mayer is not concerned that the demand for live streaming will decrease now that lockdown restrictions are easing in many parts of the world.

In fact, he predicts that live streaming will begin to replace old audiovisual marketing tactics such as images and videos.

“Once they see the traction [with live streaming], going back to old tactics will not be powerful,” he said, adding, “live is currently the only way to be authentic.”

As opposed to edited content, live streams “allow users to engage with the brand,” added Mayer, forming a more authentic community as a result.

Once this community is established and customers are fully familiarized with a business, live streamers can then profit from this tactic by enticing users to pay for a more personalized experience.

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Sophie Foggin
Sophie is a British journalist based in Medellín, Colombia, looking to explore the relationship between technology and society in the region of Latin America. Beforehand, she worked in newsrooms in both Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro. Her work has also been published by Latin America Reports, Al Jazeera English, World Politics Review, El Tiempo and O Globo.