For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred to watch things live.

A few weeks ago, Channel 5 aired 90s comedy Wayne’s World. The day before I’d happened to see Netflix had recommended that same film for me (it knows me too well). Netflix is literally one click away on my smart TV remote, and had I chosen to watch that film I could have enjoyed it in glorious ad-free isolation.

But I chose not to. I watched it ‘live’ on terrestrial, commercial TV.

Why would anyone do that? Laziness? Forgetfulness? Or is there something more intrinsic, about tapping into the zeitgeist? Perhaps it’s about the sense of belonging we get from watching something at the same time as everyone else?

Recent research from Mintel suggests that overall, live television still leads with nine in ten (90%) consumers watching live television, compared to under two thirds (62%) who go on-demand.

But it’s not just live TV that’s important to us. Sport, music, comedy. All of these are (usually) improved by adding the word “live". A pre-recorded football match is never as engaging, enthralling or captivating as a live game; SkySports’ Martin Tyler can’t help but exclaim “and it’s LIVE!" at every opportune moment.


Social media has of course added colour to live events, with all of us now able to immediately gauge each other’s reaction in-the-moment.

It’s perhaps for this reason that Twitter has made a significant play to try and “own" the live experience. Twitter is rolling-out a new video-only section to its app, and tweaking Vine - which it acquired in 2012 - so that users can attach 140-second videos to the usual 6-second ones, essentially making the latter a new trailer format.

It was also recently announced that Twitter spent $10m to acquire the rights to broadcast 10 Thursday night NFL games in 2016.

“This is one element of a much broader strategy to provide the next generation of real-time content,"

Twitter's Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto

Facebook too, with its own broadcast product “Live" has invested significantly, as part of its prediction that at some point in the future, the Facebook feed is likely to be video-only.

At Factory Media, we’re always keen to explore new and innovative technologies as soon as they’re available, and to test them to the their limits. With that in mind, this month we live-streamed an exclusive feed on the Ride UK BMX Facebook page as BMX-er Jason Phelan dropped a world first BMX trick (a pegs to backflip barspin, for those in the know!)

Jason tried this trick once before, and this happened...

But undeterred, he returned to try it one more time. And just in case he wasn't under enough pressure, in the words of the aforementioned Tyler ....IT'S LIVE.

This video was seen by 11.5k viewers live throughout the broadcast, but since then the feat has amassed a huge 745k views in total, with 55k engagements. All of that has contributed to a huge 1.6m reach on Ride UK BMX. Remarkably, all of this was achieved on a shoestring budget!

‘Live’ isn’t going away, and whilst some will be fearful of the pitfalls of producing live content - I mean, what could possibly go wrong?! - it’s important to think of the possibilities.

One huge possibility is within the production of branded content, where ‘live’ offers consumers the opportunity to see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, shot from different angles to a main campaign, which can help a brand to build engagement prior to launch; really, it’s added-value.

In addition to this, it’s also important to recognise that those engagements from viewers are live too. Anyone broadcasting live is able to react - in real-time - to responses from viewers, making the audience a part of the broadcast like never before.

The next year will probably decide precisely what impact live broadcasting online will have, as the likes of the ever-growing Snapchat will inevitably make their own moves into this space. In the meantime, the technology exists, so take a small leap of faith, give it a go, and see what successes lie ahead.