The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (June 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
China Railway staff livestreaming on the first day operation of Beijing Fengtai railway station on 20 June 2022 during COVID-19 Pandemic era.

Livestreaming, live-streaming, or live streaming is the streaming of video or audio in real time or near real time. While often referred to simply as streaming, the real time nature of livestreaming differentiates it from other forms of streamed media, such as video-on-demand, vlogs, and YouTube videos.

Livestreaming services encompass a wide variety of topics, including social media, video games, professional sports, and lifecasting. Platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Kuaishou, Douyu, bilibili, YouTube, 17 include the streaming of scheduled promotions and celebrity events as well as streaming between users, as in videotelephony. Livestreaming sites such as Twitch have become popular outlets for watching people play video games, such as in esports, Let's Play-style gaming, or speedrunning. Live coverage of sporting events is a common application.

Chat rooms are a key feature in livestreaming, allowing viewers to interact with the broadcaster and join ongoing conversations. These rooms often include emojis and emotes as additional communication tools.

Social media

Two early examples of smartphones recording and live streaming it: a Nokia N95 using Qik (left) and a T-Mobile G1 using Bambuser

In the field of social media, the term live media refers to new media that use streaming technologies for creating networks of live multimedia shared among people, companies and organizations. Social media marketer Bryan Kramer describes livestreaming as an inexpensive "key marketing and communications tool that helps brands reach their online audience." Users can follow their friends' live video "shares" as well as "shares" related to specific content or items. Live media can be shared through any Internet website or application; thus, when people browse a specific website, they may find live media streams relevant to them.[1]

Live media can include coverage of various events such as concerts or live news coverage viewed using a web browser or apps such as Snapchat. James Harden and Trolli promoted an upcoming NBA All-Star Game through Snapchat. Many of LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner's performance art were livestreamed, such as a stream of Shia LaBeouf in a theater viewing all his movies.[2]

However, live stream commerce today enables sellers to showcase products through streamers, mimicking in-store sales tactics to encourage customer purchases.[3] Merritt and Zhao mention that Chinese 'live stream-based retailing’ has supported the economic growth of China and projected that about GBP 98 billion were generated from e-commerce live streaming in China.[3] The McKinsey report also demonstrates that live stream commerce is expanding in China, the sales from live stream commerce were expected to achieve $423 billion by 2022, and the US live streaming industry was also expected to reach $25 billion by 2023.[3]

Facebook Watch

Facebook introduced a video streaming service, Facebook Watch to select individuals in August 2017, and to the public in January 2018.[4][5] Facebook watch is a video-on-demand service that allows users to share content live. It allows people to upload videos that cover a wide array of topics including original comedy, drama, and news programming. Facebook Live allows Facebook users to include their own "reactions" when someone is broadcasting. One of the reasons that Facebook Watch is so successful is because the content is recommended to users based on algorithms that determine what the user would most like to watch.[6]

YouTube Live

YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006, and the pair subsequently announced their livestreaming app. Like Periscope, users can comment during the broadcast. Unlike Periscope, livestreams on YouTube can be saved and any user can access them through the app.[7] YouTube head of product for consumers, Manuel Bronstein, stated that livestreaming gives creators the opportunity to "actually create a more intimate connection with their fans."[7]


Kick (also known as is a live video streaming service supported by online betting along with streaming personality Trainwreckstv. Launched in 2022 as a Amazon-owned Twitch alternative, Kick emerged after and other gambling sites were restricted on Twitch. Kick offers a 95% revenue share to streamers and 5% to the platform.

Although Kick is not officially linked to co-founders, records show they are the main shareholders of the company owning the streaming site.[8][9][10]

Notable streamers like Hikaru Nakamura and Nickmercs, formerly popular on Twitch, joined Kick, contributing to its average of 235,000 live streams per day as of June 2023.[11]


Twitch co-founder Justin Kan wearing a lifecasting setup

Lifestreaming, also known as lifecasting, is the practice of continuously broadcasting various aspects of one's daily life to an online audience. This modern phenomenon allows people to share even mundane events in real-time, giving viewers an intimate look into someone's routine.[12]

Justin Kan, an entrepreneur and internet personality, is often credited with bringing this concept to the mainstream. He founded, a website initially focused solely on broadcasting his own life 24/7.[13] This lifecasting platform eventually evolved, serving as the foundation for a new style of online sharing and paving the way for more diverse content.

In its early days, was an experimental space where Kan himself was the main focus, capturing everything from his workdays to social interactions. This was not only a unique entertainment format but also a groundbreaking use of technology at the time. Kan's innovation in this area led to the popularization of lifestreaming, which has since evolved to include various forms of content and millions of users worldwide.[14] Today, the influence of the original concept can be seen across multiple platforms and in different variations, extending beyond individual lifecasting to live broadcasts of events, gaming, and more.


Twitch is a livestreaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.[15] Introduced in June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform,, the site primarily focuses on video game livestreaming, including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to music[16] broadcasts, creative content, and more recently, "in real life" streams. Content on the site can be viewed either live or via video on demand.

Bigo Live

Bigo Live is a live streaming platform owned by a Singapore-based BIGO Technology,[17][18] which was founded in 2014 by David Li and Jason Hu. As of 2019, BIGO Technology is owned by JOYY, a Chinese company listed on the NASDAQ.[19][20] Like YouTube Live, users can watch trendy live streams and comment on the broadcast. Unlike YouTube Live, users on Bigo Live can filter out broadcasters from a certain country on the explore page.



In March 2015, Twitter launched a livestreaming app called Periscope. Normally, users would see a hyperlink attached to their broadcast, directing people to a new tab. Using Periscope, videos appear live on the timeline. If the user has allowed the site to share information, others can see where the user is streaming from. During the broadcast, users can comment, talk to the broadcaster, or ask questions.[21] Kayvon Beykpour, CEO of Periscope, and Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey, former CEOs of Twitter, all shared a common goal—to invent something that would merge both teams into one instead of as partners.[22] It was discontinued in March 2021 due to declining usage, product realignment and high maintenance costs.[23][24]


Microsoft entered the livestreaming scene when it acquired Beam, the Seattle-based company, in August 2016.[25] About a year after acquiring the company, the service was renamed to Mixer in May 2017.[26]  The platform was the first to bring multiple features to livestreaming such as interactive gameplay, where viewers could influence gameplay, and co-streaming, where viewers could watch multiple viewpoints of teammates in the same game. Like Twitch, viewers on Mixer could pay to subscribe to streamers on a monthly basis. Viewers could also buy "Embers", which was the e-currency used by the site, and could donate that to streamers as well. While Twitch remained the biggest company in the business, Mixer attempted to raise its stock by signing multiple big streamers to Mixer-exclusive deals. These signings included Tyler "Ninja" Blevins in August 2019, Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek in October 2019, and Cory "King Gothalion" Michael also in October 2019.[27] Mixer announced it would be shutting down its streaming services on July 22, 2020. In the announcement, Mixer's parent company, Microsoft, announced a partnership with Facebook gaming, and directed current users to the new platform.[28]

Video games

Main article: Video game livestreaming

Livestreaming playing of video games gained popularity during the 2010s. David M. Ewalt referred to Twitch as "the ESPN of video games".[29] The website spawned from and grew to overshadow, and was purchased by at the end of 2014 for US$970 million.[30] As one of the leading livestreaming platforms, Twitch now has millions of broadcasters and has nearly two hundred million viewers.[31] Other video-game oriented streaming websites include, which was formed after the merging of Azubu and, and the South Korea-based afreecaTV. In 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Gaming—a video gaming-oriented sub-site and app that is intended to compete with Twitch.[32]

An example of a notable livestreamed event is Games Done Quick, a charity speedrunning marathon hosted on Twitch. Viewers are encouraged to donate for incentives during the stream such as naming characters in a run, having the runners attempt more difficult challenges, or winning prizes.[33] Over $10 million has been raised across sixteen marathons.[34]

Professional streamers can generate livable revenue from viewer subscriptions and donations, as well as platform advertisements and sponsorships from eSports organizations, often earning much more from streaming than from tournament winnings.[35] The audiences of professional gaming tournaments are primarily livestream viewers in addition to live audiences inside venues. The International 2017, a Dota 2 tournament with the largest prize pool in eSport history, was primarily streamed through Twitch, having a peak of over five million concurrent viewers.[36]


Within recent years there has been a large influx in viewership and investment into sports live streaming. Digital streaming across Prime Video, NFL Digital, Fox Sports Digital, and Verizon Media Mobile properties in 2019 surpassed an average audience of over 1 million[37] – up 43% versus the previous year (729,000). Additionally, research and forecasts have shown that consumer spending on traditional pay-TV services fell by 8% to $90.7 billion in 2021 and will decline further to $74.5 billion in 2023.[38] It is expected that U.S. household subscription-based services spending will surpass pay TV for the first time in 2024.[39] Large corporations such as Amazon have looked to expand into sports live streaming. In 2021, Amazon closed an 11-year, $113 billion deal to stream National Football League (NFL) games on their Amazon Prime Video Streaming Platform.[40]

Main article: NFL on Nickelodeon

Live streaming in sports targets younger viewers with its easy access and subscriptions. The NFL notably partnered with Nickelodeon for youth-focused livestreams of the 2021 Wild Card Playoff Game and beyond.[41][42] These broadcasts featured Nickelodeon's signature cartoons and commentary from stars Gabrielle Green and Lex Lumpkin.[43]

Despite the growth of live streaming for sports, there are concerns about unauthorised live streaming and piracy of sports content. In January 2021 alone it was said that humans made 362.7 million visits to sports piracy websites. These concerns are exacerbated when studies show over 54% of millennials have watched pirate sports live streams. This has created issues over the future sustainability and protection of legally broadcast streams.[44]


With livestreaming becoming a financially viable market, particularly for esports, streamers and organizations representing them have looked for metrics to quantify the viewership of streams as to be able to determine pricing for advertisers. Metrics like maximum number of concurrent viewers, or number of subscribers do not readily account for how long a viewer may stay to watch a stream.[45] The most common metric is the "average minute audience" (AMA), which is obtained by taking the total minutes watched by all viewers on the stream during the streamed event and for 24 hours afterwards, divided by the number of minutes that were broadcast. The AMA is comparable to the same metric that the Nielsen ratings for tracking viewership.

This also makes it possible to combine standard broadcast and streaming routes for events that are simulcasted on both forms of delivery to estimate total audience size[46] Major events with reported AMA include streamed National Football League games; for example, the average AMA for NFL games in 2018 ranged from 240,000 to 500,000 across streaming services,[47][48] with the following Super Bowl LIV having an AMA of 2.6 million.[49] In comparison, the esports Overwatch League had an average of 313,000 average minute audience during regular season games in its 2019 season.[50]

Risks in streaming

Further information: Livestreamed crime

Many instances of serious crimes such as rape and assault, along with suicides, have been streamed live, leaving little to no time for administrators to remove the offending content. Livestreamed crimes became a trend in the mid-2010s with widely reported incidents such as assaults and suicide streamed through Periscope in 2016[51] and the kidnapping of a man in Chicago streamed through Facebook Live in 2017.[52] A mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, resulting in the deaths of two in addition to the shooter, occurred during a Madden NFL 19 tournament.[53] Part of the Christchurch mosque shootings was streamed on Facebook Live by the perpetrator for 17 minutes.[54]

Additionally, livestreaming to large audiences carries the risk that viewers may commit crimes both remotely and in person. Twitch co-founder Justin Kan had been a frequent target of swatting. An incident occurred in April 2017 at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when a viewer called in a bomb threat and named streamer Ice Poseidon as the culprit, temporarily shutting down the airport.[55] They may also be victim to stalking as with other celebrities; for example, a teenager showed up uninvited to a streamer's house and requested to live with him after having saved up for a one-way transcontinental flight.[56] A Taiwan-based American streamer fell victim to a doxing and targeted harassment campaign by a Taiwanese streamer, coordinated through a private Facebook group with 17,000 members "whose activities involved tracking [his] whereabouts," death threats and "the distribution of his parents’ U.S. phone number and address". Twitch responded by temporarily suspending the harassed streamer.[57]


Live content streaming has been the topic of numerous papers examining ways to cultivate online communities through live interaction and increase attendance numbers with engaging content.[58] The livestreaming platform Twitch is a common focus among researching trying to transfer its user engagement success to other applications such as improving student participation and learning in massive open online courses (MOOCs).[59][citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Kramer, Bryan. "How Live-Streaming is Going to Crush it in 2016". SocialMediaToday. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Robinson, Tasha (November 16, 2015). "Why Shia LaBeouf's #AllMyMovies was so successful". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Merritt, Kamarin; Zhao, Shichao (June 2022). "The Power of Live Stream Commerce: A Case Study of How Live Stream Commerce Can Be Utilised in the Traditional British Retailing Sector". Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity. 8 (2): 71. doi:10.3390/joitmc8020071. hdl:10419/274372. ISSN 2199-8531.
  4. ^ Bell, Karissa (January 28, 2016). "Facebook is finally bringing livestreaming to everyone". Mashable. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Greenberg, Julia. "Zuckerberg Really Wants You to Stream Live Video on Facebook". WIRED. Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  6. ^ Laukkonen, Jeremy. "Facebook Watch: What is it and how to use it". Life Wire. Archived from the original on 2020-09-26. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  7. ^ a b Pierce, David. "YouTube Is the Sleeping Giant of Livestreaming". WIRED. Archived from the original on 2020-11-08. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  8. ^ "Should You Stream on Kick? The New Platform Taking Twitch's Top Talent". CNET. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  9. ^ Tsiaoussidis, Alex; Richman, Olivia (2023-06-16). "Who owns Fledgling Twitch streaming rival responds to Stake rumors". Dot Esports. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  10. ^ "Twitch's New Streaming Rival Kick Tests Waters of Lighter Moderation". 2023-03-03. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  11. ^ Browning, Kellen (June 16, 2023). "Twitch Star xQc Signs $100 Million Deal With Kick, a Rival Platform". The New York Times. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  12. ^ Hughes, Matthew (October 31, 2016). "Whale is the latest app from Twitch founder Justin Kan". The Next Web. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018. In 2006, he launched, which is credited for popularizing lifestreaming.
  13. ^ Yang, Jeff (March 27, 2007). "Asian Pop: Man with a Cam". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Herrman, John (June 17, 2018). "With Twitch, Amazon Tightens Grip on Livestreams of Video Games". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018. Twitch began in 2011 as an offshoot of, a lifecasting site founded by two Yale graduates, Emmett Shear and Justin Kan. They started the platform after they found that viewers were more interested in watching their lifecasters play video games than eat or sleep.
  15. ^ Wawro, Alex (August 25, 2014). "Amazon to acquire Twitch". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  16. ^ "Amazon brings Twitch's live streams to its Amazon Music app". September 2020. Archived from the original on 2023-04-09. Retrieved 2021-06-25.
  17. ^ "Apps you've never heard of that your teen is already using". CNN. 25 January 2019. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  18. ^ "BIGO Technology". Archived from the original on 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  19. ^ "China's YY eyes overseas live streaming with $1.45B Bigo buyout". TechCrunch. 5 March 2019. Archived from the original on 9 April 2023. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  20. ^ "YY Announces Completion of Acquisition of Bigo". Archived from the original on 30 June 2020. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  21. ^ Price, Rob (March 26, 2015). "Twitter just launched Periscope, its hot new streaming app". Business Insider. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  22. ^ Pierce, David (January 12, 2016). "Periscope Now Drops Live Video Into Your Twitter Timeline". Wired. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  23. ^ Periscope (2020-12-15). "Farewell, Periscope". Medium. Archived from the original on 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
  24. ^ "Twitter Discontinues Periscope, But Live Streaming Lives On". Archived from the original on 2021-09-30. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
  25. ^ "Microsoft acquires Beam interactive game livestreaming service". TechCrunch. 11 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2023-04-09. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  26. ^ Sarkar, Samit (2017-05-25). "Microsoft's Beam renamed to Mixer, adds co-op streaming (update)". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  27. ^ Gilbert, Ben; Webb, Kevin. "Amazon's wildly popular video game streaming service, Twitch, is no longer the biggest game in town: These are all the stars who have signed exclusivity deals with the competition". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2020-01-15. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  28. ^ Team, Mixer (2020-06-22). "The Next Step for Mixer". From the Myxer. Archived from the original on 2020-07-11. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  29. ^ Ewalt, David M. (December 2, 2013). "The ESPN of Videogames". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 3, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "Amazon to Buy Video Site Twitch for More Than $1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. 25 August 2014. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  31. ^ Johnson, Mark R. (2021). "Behind the Streams: The Off-Camera Labour of Game Live Streaming". Games and Culture. 16 (8): 1001–1020. doi:10.1177/15554120211005239. ISSN 1555-4120. S2CID 233586670. Archived from the original on 2022-11-05. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  32. ^ Dredge, Stuart (August 26, 2015). "Google launches YouTube Gaming to challenge Amazon-owned Twitch". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  33. ^ Smith, Ernie (2015-01-13). "How Gaming Gurus Reinvented Telethons for the Web". Association Now. Archived from the original on 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  34. ^ "all events tracker". 2017-01-14. Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  35. ^ Leslie, Callum (2014-12-31). "Hearthstone players won more than $1 million in the game's first year". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016.
  36. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (August 14, 2017). "The International 2017 reached 5m peak concurrent viewers". Archived from the original on August 15, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  37. ^ "NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE AND AMAZON RENEW AND EXPAND STREAMING PARTNERSHIP". Archived from the original on 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  38. ^ Mann, Colin (2021-04-28). "Forecast: US OTT spend to exceed pay-TV in 2024". Archived from the original on 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  39. ^ "The State of Live Streaming 2022". Streaming Media Magazine. 2022-03-26. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  40. ^ Saul, Derek. "NFL's Thursday Kickoff Marks Pivotal Moment For Amazon And Other Tech Giants' Live Sports Future". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  41. ^ Sim, Josh (2023-08-02). "Nickelodeon to air first ever NFL Super Bowl simulcast". SportsPro. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  42. ^ "CBS Sports, Nickelodeon team up for first-ever Super Bowl alternate telecast". Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  43. ^ "Nickelodeon renews partnership with NFL for 2021 season, will broadcast 2022 Wild Card round again". 2021-09-10. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  44. ^ "Inside the complex world of illegal sports streaming". Yahoo Sports. 27 March 2019. Archived from the original on 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  45. ^ Ashton, Graham (September 11, 2019). "Esports' Quest for the Average Minute Audience". The Esports Observer. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  46. ^ Fanelli, Jason (October 3, 2019). "Overwatch League Claims Record Viewer Numbers in 2019 Season". Twin Galaxies. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  47. ^ "2018 Thursday Night Football Increases +4% vs. 2017 10-Game Thursday Night Football Average". Fox Sports. December 14, 2018. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  48. ^ Karp, Austin (January 3, 2019). "NFL Wraps '18 Season Up 5%, With All TV Partners Seeing Gains". Sports Business Daily. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  49. ^ "Super Bowl LIII set streaming records, while TV viewership saw massive drop". 5 February 2019. Archived from the original on 9 April 2023. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  50. ^ Patel, Sahil (September 4, 2019). "Activision Blizzard Esports League Tries a Nielsen Metric to Take on Traditional Sports". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  51. ^ Blaise, Lilia (7 July 2017). "Suicide on Periscope Prompts French Officials to Open Inquiry". New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  52. ^ Meisner, Jason; Lee, William; Schmadeke, Steve (2017-01-05). "Brutal Facebook Live attack brings hate-crime charges, condemnation from White House". The Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  53. ^ "Multiple People Were Killed In A Mass Shooting At A Madden Gaming Event In Jacksonville". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 2020-06-14. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  54. ^ Hunt, Elle; Rawlinson, Kevin; Wahlquist, Calla (16 March 2019). "'Darkest day': how the press reacted to the Christchurch shootings". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 16 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019 – via
  55. ^ Partin, Will (June 9, 2017). "On Air With LA's Most Wanted Man, 'Life Streamer' Ice Poseidon". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  56. ^ D'Anastasio, Cecilia (May 2, 2017). "When Fans Take Their Love For Twitch Streamers Too Far". Kotaku. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  57. ^ Julia, Alexander (February 5, 2018). "American Twitch IRL streamer details doxing and targeted harassment campaign in Taiwan". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  58. ^ "Does Live Streaming Hurt In-Person Attendance?". Igigo Communications. 16 February 2020. Archived from the original on 30 November 2022. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  59. ^ Hamilton, William (April 2014). Streaming on twitch: fostering participatory communities of play within live mixed media. Chi '14. pp. 1315–1324. doi:10.1145/2556288.2557048. ISBN 9781450324731. S2CID 107637. Archived from the original on April 9, 2022. Retrieved April 5, 2021.