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The pros and cons of live streaming compared to traditional broadcasting

We look at the pros and cons.

Streaming
Credit: Pexels

The way we watch TV is changing. The dawn of the internet and, perhaps more importantly, high-speed connections have made streaming your favourite TV shows and films easier than ever before.

The linear experience of tuning into channels at a certain time to watch a certain programme is already beginning to feel a little dated, with more and more people turning to the newer platform for their entertainment.

Recent data released by Ofcom shows that more people subscribe to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV than traditional pay TV services, with those aged 16 to 34 the most likely to have made the switch.

Ofcom’s Sharon White admitted that the changes will have “profound implications” for UK television, but is backing traditional broadcasters to compete in the new digital age. But what do the changes mean for individuals?

In this article we will examine the pros and cons of live streaming compared to traditional broadcasting.

Pros

Live streaming enables you to literally ‘go live’ on a major platform with a few clicks of a button. Websites like Facebook and YouTube, alongside specialised gaming platforms like Twitch, offer access to a potential audience of millions to anybody with a webcam or camera phone.

This is a huge advantage over traditional broadcasting, which requires you to arrange a slot as part of an existing TV schedule – or find the network signal space to launch your own channel. These tasks are far beyond the capabilities of most.

One perceived drawback of live streaming is the lack of production values, including fewer on-screen graphics, poorer picture quality and inability to edit. But in fact it’s actually pretty simple to build your own branded graphics, add them on the fly as you record, and even stream in 4K.

Online apps like Streamyard let you stream live and pull in the images and text you need while you’re on air. In fact, many brands use this kind of technology to connect to their customers in a new way, broadcasting live on YouTube.

The TV show produced by online gambling brand Casino Hacks demonstrates the use of on-screen graphics, HD resolution and high-production values in live streaming. So, what was once a shortcoming of streaming is now one of its strengths.

Cons

As technology accelerates, it’s becoming harder and harder to single out the negatives of streaming compared to broadcasting. The most obvious previous weakness was the lack of a major audience, but when you consider that websites like YouTube attract 3.25 billion views a month, that argument no longer stands up.

One criticism that perhaps still applies is that there are fewer older people making the switch to watching content online, so, if your content is aimed at an elderly audience, then streaming channels may not be the best platform for you.

But as you can see, the rapid rise of streaming, including the number of viewers and the simplicity of recording your own show, has seen most of the negatives disappear. And although traditional broadcasting remains important to many, it seems that the days of the traditional TV show could soon be numbered.

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