Streaming as an omnichannel strategy by Jaume Cervera

In this digital era, where immediacy and entertainment in real time prevail, we are facing a revolution in the way we consume and transmit content. Streaming has been consolidated to a large extent thanks to social media, showing a paradigm shift in the way we interact with the media.

We’ve talked to Jaume Cervera, an expert in signal management and production, to delve into the key differences between events streamed through social media and those broadcast traditionally on television. In addition, Jaume tells us how streaming, more than a simple content transmission technique, has become an essential element in omnichannel communication strategies, offering a two-way interaction and personalisation that the traditional medium does not allow.

1. How do streaming events on social networks differ from a traditional event broadcast on television?

Television is a system for transmitting images and sound at a distance via radio waves. In the case of cable television, the transmission takes place via a specialised network. The notion of television arose from the combination of the Greek word tele (“distance”) and the Latin term visio (“vision”). The concept refers to both the transmission system and the device that allows the images to be viewed (also called a television set), the television programming and the television station.

Streaming is a term from the English language that, despite not being part of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), is used to refer to a live transmission from the source to the user via the Internet. Consumption takes place simultaneously with downloading. This means that the individual does not have to download the data to his or her computer, phone or smart TV and then access it, but that both processes take place at the same time.

The main difference is that TV is a one-way communication channel (less and less) that can use different formats such as streaming and streaming is a way of watching/transmitting content live or almost live over the internet without taking up disk space (no downloading).

TV generates its own content and broadcasts it via broadcast and streaming systems through its own infrastructures and public, private and social media channels. TV infrastructures are very expensive and depend on licences and public tenders.

Social media itself is not a communication channel but a “publicly” available platform even for traditional TVs where anyone can broadcast as long as they accept its conditions and ethical rules.

2. In terms of communication, how relevant is streaming in an omnichannel strategy?

Streaming is used in everything and for everything. Remote video meetings are streaming. Content accessible from Smart TVs is streaming. The kitten videos that we can watch ad nauseam without stopping scrolling on Youtube or Tik-tok are streaming content. An ‘Influencer’ theorising about the existence of God with a theologian and a physicist in a podcast is streaming. Live footage of a volcano on a public TV channel on Youtube is streaming.

Generating streaming content for live and/or delayed viewing allows us to programme and produce events with very controlled costs, with a measurable impact factor in real time and with the capacity to generate bidirectionality with the audience in the case of being live. It allows to strengthen the interaction with the audience and improve the presence and notoriety in the digital world. The format, style and quality of the broadcast can also be controlled and moulded according to the communication objective.

But we can also stream private events either via social networks or with CDN infrastructures tailored to each event and this has some interesting advantages. Reducing the ecological footprint, improving work-life balance, reducing production costs, for example.

Let’s suppose that, in a face-to-face event, an Alzheimer’s congress in Stockholm, a Spanish doctor has to give a lecture for those present. She can connect from her own premises or one made available to her at her place of origin and interact with those present at the event. In the same way, a part of the audience may not have been able to access the event and watch it from their home/office, less planes, less fuel, less travel days, less costs.

3. Society is used to the immediacy of information, do you think this has influenced the relevance of streaming?

Evidently, technologies advance in the direction that the desires of society or part of it take and at the same time the influence is reciprocal, technologies condition society’s behaviour.

4. What differentiates the live format from other video content formats?

Until recently we had 3 formats:

1- Live: with an audience
2- Live: it happens in real time
3- Delayed (VOD): recorded with an audience or in a studio and broadcast when we decide to programme it.

And obviously we can combine Live and Live with recorded material.

Today I like to think that we have one more concept to use in the list which is: Hybrid. Where we can be generating live content with a personalised experience for the live audience and at the same time broadcasting live with a specific format for the audience while being able to include Augmented Reality, virtual environments and other technologies and integrate people into the broadcast who may not actually be on set. Create virtual environments etc.

5.  What do you think will be the trends in streaming in 2024?

We will continue to have hybrid events, more and more, because on the one hand we want to improve the physical human contact in which we want to meet, see and feel each other, but at the same time we follow a social trend that leads us to prioritise the following points:

1. Reducing ecological impact.

2. To contribute to the reconciliation of family or life.

3. Optimisation of resources.

With hybridisation in streaming we achieve all three objectives without losing proximity, human contact and multidirectionality.

6. Looking to the future, how do you think streaming could change or what could it lead to?

Hybridisation is very appealing, the inclusion of VR and augmented reality as well as virtual backgrounds. Immersion is why we like to watch movies and series, as well as play video games. There is a lot of research going on and curiosities that can already be realised and will become less expensive as they become standardised.