The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted industries all over the world. One such industry is the media and entertainment industry, which relies heavily on live audiences. In the wake of COVID-19, events around the world have been cancelled or postponed and large gatherings are no longer permitted or considered safe. The result? An unprecedented turn towards live streaming. The growth of live streaming has been evident in the last few months alone, as it becomes the only viable way of connecting performers with audiences and in many cases, of providing entertainment to people everywhere at a time when we need it the most. Although many of us cannot wait to attend a concert, festival, or sporting event in person when it is safe, no one knows how long from now that will be. Even when lockdowns end, as they have already started to, large-scale events like those of the past will likely be the last sector of the economy to restart, if it does so at all. All this to say, live streaming has stepped up and has quickly proven that it is ready to be a leader in the entertainment industry.

James DuBose is an American television producer, filmmaker, and veteran entertainment industry executive. He outlines a few examples of why he thinks that live steaming is going to be the future of media and entertainment.

2020 National Football League Draft

The National Football League (NFL) experienced a record-breaking draft weekend in 2020. According to James DuBose, the 2020 NFL Draft, the league’s first-ever virtual draft broadcast through live streaming, saw 15.6 million viewers tune in. This was a 37% increase in viewership from the previous year’s draft, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee. The 2020 NFL draft was originally supposed to take place in-person in Las Vegas, Nevada but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the decision was made to go virtual (a decision that saw major success due to live streaming).

Metropolitan Opera

James DuBose offers a second example proving live streaming is the way of the future: the Metropolitan Opera. World renowned opera house, the Metropolitan Opera, closed its doors to the public back in mid-March. However, that didn’t stop it from giving the public what they love — live music! Instead, the Met decided to host its first-ever at-home gala. To pull this off, they partnered with over 40 singers and members of the orchestra and chorus and live streamed their performances to over 150 countries through Brightcove Video. A whopping 750,000 virtual viewers tuned in to this at-home Gala. As a result, the Met has started doing something it has never done before. They now host nightly HD encore performances, free of charge to viewers, taken from their on-demand library. So far, paid subscribers to the Metropolitan Opera’s on-demand service has more than doubled and their nightly live streams have garnered over 400 million views (and counting). Overall, James DuBose views the example of the Metropolitan Opera as an indicator that not only can live streaming reach larger audiences than anyone ever thought possible, but it can be a lucrative revenue stream for businesses looking to expand their demographic.

Super M

Finally, James DuBose claims that the success of K-Pop band Super M’s live show back in April is a prime example of how live streaming is the future of the entertainment industry. This past spring, South Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment and media company Naver collaborated to launch a new streaming service called Beyond Live. The purpose of this service was specifically to broadcast live concerts to fans who were in lockdown. The result? They made over $2 million selling 75,000 tickets to fans from over 100 countries for a virtual concert by K-Pop group Super M. The virtual concert was live streamed from the homes of the pop singers and took place on April 26, 2020. Given that an in-person Super M concert has typically attracted about 10,000 fans, this is a huge increase in viewership and it’s all thanks to live streaming, shares James DuBose.

Final Thoughts from James Dubose

These examples demonstrate how live streaming is the way of the future, especially in the age of COVID-19. The bottom line, says James DuBose, is that live streaming offers the three C’s: convenience, cost, and comfort. Users are able to tune in to events, movies, concerts, sports games, and more on their own time from the comfort of their own homes and at a lower cost than attending in person.