Why are more Australian firms streaming live video?

In today’s social media dominated world, video is fast becoming the preferred medium for communications, as the so-called Youtube generation look for experiences that more closely resemble highly engaging formats like the popular TED Talks series.

Meanwhile, evidence is growing in support of video as a vastly superior medium for delivering messages and information.

In fact, it’s now accepted that audiences presented information in video form achieve retention rates of around 65 percent, compared with just 10 percent for text-based content like slide decks and email.

True to their early-adopter reputation, Australian companies are moving quickly to embrace live video streaming as a means of improving internal and external communications, employee engagement, information sharing, sales and marketing.

According to Viostream’s 2017 Internal Communications Video Benchmark Report, 40 percent of Australian organisations are now using live streaming with a further 24 percent considering it.

A third cited ‘executive communications’ as the number-one use for live video streaming.

This sits against the backdrop of some 70 percent of Australian employees reporting managers don’t spend enough time explaining goals and plans to them and less than 50 percent of workers open emails about internal communications.

The greater reach, engagement and perceived ‘authenticity’ of live streaming video is changing how Australian companies think about executive communications, while staff training / L&D, employee knowledge sharing, and company meetings are also being disrupted.

It’s a trend that’s most evident in the commercial world, however the Australian public service is catching up. Of recent note is the pivotal role video and live video streaming played in Australia’s lauded National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with the technology allowing large numbers of stakeholders to be connected and engaged in solving the biggest challenges.

The intersection with mobile devices and platforms is creating powerful new opportunities to communicate via video across dispersed locations, while the fact many people now carry HD video cameras in their pockets has seen a sharp increase in the volumes of ‘user-generated’ content.

As we’ve seen with social media platforms from YouTube, to Facebook and Instagram, user generated content provides an immediate sense of authenticity, a fact Australian companies are seizing on in their efforts to be better educators and communicators.

The main event

Among the key reasons cited for live streaming’s effectiveness as a tool for business communications is that it’s associated with an actual ‘event’ with a specific date and time, typically stored in something like Microsoft Outlook that provides reminders.

Content presented as a live stream can be up to 15 times more likely to be watched

Video streaming supports large or so-called ‘town hall’ company meetings for events like financial results, or product launches to be highly interactive events allowing large numbers of geographically dispersed people to provide feedback or ask questions in real-time.

It’s important to note, however, that video streaming can deliver diminishing returns the longer the streaming event is. Video can convey more information, but the flipside is people want to spend less time watching it. Social media has seen to that.

In the case of company meetings, many firms are finding that the typical 30-60 minute duration is too long for a video stream. Instead, creating ‘chapters’ has emerged as a popular workaround.

Content like this, or any other that has been streamed, can of course be stored and tagged for users to access as video-on-demand (VOD). Kind of like Netflix, but for work.

Bringing down the walls

The Benchmark reported that 40 percent of Australian organisations have more than 500 video assets across their organisation, with 22 percent managing more than 1,000 assets. This represents a marked shift from even five years ago.

However, some 36 percent of Australian companies surveyed by Viostream reported they were yet to consider live video streaming.

The perceived high costs of creating video content and provisioning for it in the corporate IT environment were cited as key barriers. Faster networks, developments in software-defined WANs (Wide area networks) and the cloud are making the technology more accessible and affordable, though.

For instance, it’s now possible for network administrators to transmit a 1Mbps stream to tens or even hundreds of viewers using the same resources required for just one viewer. And because the platform is completely digital, it’s also easy to gauge performance and fine tune systems ongoing.

Live video streaming has big implications for developing more engaged, motivated, informed and inclusive workplace environments and cultures for organisations of all type and size.