Social media is not just a platform that facilitates social interactions anymore, it is also a medium where users can watch a broadcast, or simulcasts, and live streams of offline and virtual events.
From television being the portal to reach an audience much larger than the crowd present at an event starting with the Doordarshan days, to a broadcast network simulcasting the event on all channels owned, and now to social media platforms being the medium for simulcast and more often than not exclusive broadcasts too, the transmission of live, offline, and virtual events is now at the next stage of its evolution.
Mobile screens used to be what a TV viewer looks at during ad breaks of a telecast, but it is now the screen that shows what the viewers used to see on TV. Entertainment, Sports, & Media, the three most consumed genres raging on social media.
Pandemic pushing virtual broadcasts and events, the decreasing inclination towards traditional TV and cable connections, increasing number of media partnerships with social networks, elevated average user time spent on social media, all the factors are favoring this development.
We have recently experienced Billboard Music Awards creating waves of online engagement from their simulcast through social channels, particularly the performance by The Weeknd, which has garnered over 14 Mn views (to date).
More recently, Ed Sheeran breaking the record for the biggest ever LIVE music performance on TikTok with over 5.5 million unique viewers watching his performance on The TikTok UEFA EURO 2020 show across a live stream and two replays streamed globally on his TikTok channel.
Here we go through a few examples of media partnerships nurtured by social media platforms, broadcasts, simulcasts, and live streams shaping the next stage of evolution in consumption.
In January 2021, Twitter began the year with a multi-year partnership with NBCUniversal, a mass media and entertainment conglomerate owned by Comcast. The agreement covers Twitter markets globally, also expanding the NBCUniversal and Sky footprint around the world.
The partnership enables users to access premium digital content offered by NBCUniversal such as real-time sports highlights and Red carpet live streams, integrated into trending conversations on Twitter.
“The growth in digital viewing has been nothing short of explosive in recent years and together with Twitter, we’re helping our partners engage audiences in a brand-safe way—and shape key conversations as they unfold,” said Krishan Bhatia, President & Chief Business Officer, NBCUniversal.
Iconic events such as Golden Globes highlights, Latin American Music Awards, E! People’s Choice Awards, and more would be available to users as an exclusive viewer experience. Sports action on NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes, Sky Sports, and GOLF Channel, is developed and distributed on Twitter via the channels’ handles.
The partnership was first initiated in 2013. The objective of the new agreement is to blend Twitter’s targeting capabilities, mobile advertising formats, and operational campaign support with NBCUniversal’s premium content.
Jennifer Prince, Global VP and Head of Content Partnerships, Twitter, mentioned “From the biggest moments in entertainment to can’t-miss sports action from around the world, to news events at the speed of Twitter, our collaboration will empower marketers to connect their brands to the conversation of our engaged audiences”.
Consumption on the Twitter platform through social channels owned by NBCUniversal has significantly grown over the years. Global video views for all NBCUniversal Twitter handles have grown 26% on average, alongside a 25% increase in campaigns year over year.
In 2020, NBC Olympics and Twitter have also extended their content partnership to amplify NBC Olympics’ simulcast and augment coverage of the events taking place in Tokyo and Beijing.
The platform has not just been used for broadcasts, simulcasts, and content highlights, in 2018 Twitter garnered 1.2 million video views for a three-hour live stream of Filmfare Awards Red Carpet, and over a million mentions of actors and actresses, along with highly discussed movies. The live stream was a strive by the publisher to cater to their digital-first audiences.
Deepak Lamba, CEO, Worldwide Media, shared “Our digital thrust makes us seek new and innovative opportunities for collaborations, and we are extremely glad to partner with a global platform like Twitter to bring all the glitz and glamour from the coveted red carpet of the awards to digital screens”.
YouTube, the online video-sharing and social media platform has been marginally replacing Linear TV since its launch in 2005. In India, YouTube garnered over 300 Bn views in Q1 2020, 13% more than Q4’2019, and 11% more than Q1’2019, according to a report by Mindshare India and Vidooly.
Over 90% of the views on YouTube were generated through Mobile devices. Entertainment, Music & News were the top 3 genres based on content consumption contributing to over 70% of views in Q1’20. Along with News channels live streaming and showcasing breaking news or exclusive pieces, Sports highlights also remain a popularly consumed genre on the platform.
But Entertainment and Music have been the two genres that have dominated the recent years, especially the period of the pandemic, and YouTube has also efficiently tapped the platform’s potential to provide entertainment and also raise awareness of issues such as equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and its significance to end the pandemic.
Global Citizen, international education and advocacy organization launched a YouTube Original series in partnership with the platform to initiate the recovery from COVID-19, calling upon world leaders to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all and to inspire citizens across the world to advocate for critical health, social and economic challenges.
The series integrated a series of events, concerts, advocacy programs, panel discussions, and more, with world leaders, artists, entertainers, philanthropists, and CEOs.
A global broadcast special to tackle vaccine hesitancy, a multi-hour global event featuring a lineup of performances, and a presence at the G20 Summit to engage world leaders in a discussion about progress towards recovery, were exclusively broadcasted on YouTube.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Global Citizen Ambassador stated, “By using our voices to call on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to step up and take urgent action, and by supporting the ‘Recovery Plan for the World’, we can impact millions of lives for the better now, not later”.
Global Citizen in partnership with YouTube also launched an exclusive concert through global broadcast and streaming specials, sponsored by YouTube.
The extended version with the main event hosted by Selena Gomez will include performances from artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Foo Fighters, and J Balvin, a message from Prince Harry and Meghan, featuring guests such as Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Olivia Munn, a special appearance by President Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Harris, and appearances from YouTube creators.
The platform has also been spearheading the global music front with exclusive concerts such as an exclusive YouTube live of Sour Prom Concert hosted by the multi-platinum and critically acclaimed artist Olivia Rodrigo through her Official Channel in June 2021.
In December 2020, The K-pop sensation Blackpink hosted YouTube live stream concert experience called ‘THE SHOW’. The first-ever live stream concert by the group also marked the first time the group performed multiple songs from their critically acclaimed album, ‘The Album’.
Several more media partnerships such as Facebook’s partnership with NBC Sports for Super Bowl XLIX, and their multi-year agreement with La Liga granting exclusive digital broadcast rights, in the past, and similar associations nurtured by social media platforms have expanded these platforms’ functionalities and penetrated into the broadcast, simulcast, and streaming space, and have activated the next level of evolution of content consumption.