Live Streaming Trends & Benchmarks for 2018

Looking for data on live streaming trends?

Video is projected to make up as much as 82% of all Internet traffic by 2020, a growing share of which will be live video content. From high profile live events to internal communications such as sales team trainings and employee town halls, 2017 has made it clear that more and more brands and retailers are taking advantage of the benefits of live streaming.  See the Top Live Video Benchmark Report Takeaways.

About the research

In the fall of 2017, IBM Watson Media and Brandlive partnered together to conduct a survey evaluating the state of live video streaming in today’s marketplace and make projections for 2018. The data also showed that more companies will be live streaming in 2018 than ever before, with those already leveraging live video increasing their use. The latest research findings highlighted in this report confirm that the future is bright for live video.

This research report sought to answer questions such as:

  • Are budgets for live streaming increasing or decreasing?
  • How important is live video for marketing in 2018?
  • What ROI or business results are expected from using live video?
  • What are the desired benefits for live streaming in 2018?
  • What were the most common use cases for live video in 2017?
  • How are use cases for video going to change in 2018?

Key findings

The results reveal that budgets are increasing, activity is exploding, use cases are proliferating, and investments in technology and services are paying off. To top it off, advancements in technology have made it simpler than ever to broadcast video content, even from a device that fits in your pocket. Companies that leverage live video today are seizing the opportunity to enhance the experience for employees, partners, and customers alike.

More business leaders are also realizing that live video creates an emotional connection with audiences which simply isn’t achievable through other types of digital marketing or communications. Additionally, live streaming advancements from social media providers have mainstreamed and awareness of live video, leading brands and retailers to go beyond social media for their live video strategies by including their owned and operated channels.

Related streaming research

Additionally, IBM released another related report recently titled “The State of Streaming,” highlighting consumer trends. After all, it’s been ten years since Netflix introduced streaming video, and with consumers’ growing demand for content, and it seems like a new service is launching every day. Since the initial rush to enter the space, streaming services are now tasked with solving emerging challenges and standing out in a crowded industry – and understanding consumers and their streaming habits is the first step.

The State of Streaming report covers the most common challenges that consumers cite when streaming content, how in home audio assistants are being used, and password sharing habits (or lack thereof).  Additionally, we learn how consumers really feel about content recommendations. The results of this survey of more than 1000 US consumers reveal that two-thirds of adults are  using a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service. As more streaming services enter the market, SVOD (subscription video on-demand) usage will only grow. In fact, Digital TV Research forecasts that over 70% of US TV households will subscribe to at least one SVOD by 2022. Among SVOD users, consumers are subscribing to more streaming services than ever before. It is no surprise that Netflix continues to dominate the market with 90% of streaming service customers using the platform. Still, the popularity of other key players such as Amazon and Hulu has risen steadily over three years. HBO Now subscriptions have jumped from 2% of SVOD users subscribing in 2016 to 13% in 2017.


Growth is streaming video usage across both B2B and consumer use cases is consistent and demand is continuing.  It is essential for streaming services to not only alleviate current pain points, but also anticipate the next wave of innovation and get ahead of the trend to keep pace with competition. By harnessing a scalable infrastructure, integrating with emerging technologies, and leveraging new AI capabilities, streaming services such as IBM Watson Media will continue to optimize the viewer experience for all.

If you want to learn more about video trends for 2018, also be sure to check out our Video Trends in 2018: Strategies & Recommendations webinar. Using data from IBM’s video streaming and enterprise video streaming offerings, and this report, the webinar covers overall live streaming trends before examining those specific to enterprise video. It then makes recommendations based on those trends so that content owners can be more successful in 2018.