Major General George Owen Squier, born in Michigan in 1865, influenced much of our leisure time in the modern day. 12 years before Squier’s death in 1934 he created the world’s first recognised streaming service – ‘Muzak’.
Using a series of underground wires, Squier’s creation piped music into commercial businesses without the need of an aerial or radio. It took almost a century for Squier’s technology to succeed.
Today, streaming is the main driving force behind a number of different industries. New technology has helped capture more customers, increase quality of output and revitalise struggling areas.
In this article we take a look at 4 industries that have taken full advantage of streaming technology and made huge gains as a result.
Nowadays it is less common for people to worry about the effect of piracy on the music industry. It’s already a booming business, and the A-List celebrities are still succeeding in spite of the use of piracy. In many ways it could now been seen as a victimless crime, but the music industry itself certainly doesn’t see it this way.
Due to the rise in online piracy, US music revenues have seen a dramatic fall from $14.6 billion to $6.1 billion in 2009 in the past decade. The effect of online piracy was so devastating that the industry worked with Aardman Animators to produce the iPhone app Music Inc as a different means of making customers aware of the effects of piracy.
The premise of the game was simple – identify an up and coming band and catapult them to world fame. The catch was, no matter what you did, your band would always fail because of music piracy.
Luckily for the industry, Spotify emerged in 2008 with the stated pledge of finally ending music piracy. The subscription based streaming service proved to be a massive hit, diverting people from illegal piracy sites to a system that actually rewarded creators – albeit less so than traditional CDs and records.
Since 2016, British music revenues have been growing at a rate of 10.6% and the industry as a whole has been rejuvenated. However, it’s unlikely that the music industry will recover to pre-piracy highs with Spotify paying a mere $0.00387 per stream and Apple music paying the slightly higher figure of $0.00783.
While there’s no doubting that streaming services have saved the music industry, it has also been dramatically altered. The real money still comes from physical CD sales, and that has led to a lot of music companies targeting the ‘nan market’ – a move that has led to the rise of middle ground musicians like Ed Sheeran, Adele and Michael Buble.
If there is one industry that is always at the forefront of technological innovation, then it is undoubtedly gambling. From as early as the 1990s, gambling companies have experimented with modern technology to increase their reach and their customer base.
In the early days of online gambling, graphics and gameplay were incredibly primitive by today’s standards. At that point, online poker players would only be able to play against the house amidst backdrop of symmetrical 2D cards and icons. Nowadays the online industry is the biggest contributor to gambling revenues in the UK, making just under £5 billion of the £14 billion British gross gambling yields come from the remote sector.
The success is largely down to the improvements made in the offerings of online gambling companies. Better graphics, greater in-game interaction and increased availability have all helped to boost the appeal of online gambling.
In recent years, there has been a new innovative platform that looks set to completely revolutionise the gambling market in general – live casino. This technology connects players with dealers in real time through high-quality videos and audio links, recreating the personal experience of being in a real casino from the comfort of their own home.
Any online gambling company worth its salt now owns its own physical casino. Most of the casinos are based in countries with lower average salaries and they all successfully entertain their customers without the need of their physical presence. At a quality live casino, high-tech cameras surround the game tables, streaming the action live to online punters.
This platform is proving understandably popular among gamers worldwide, and their success is only expected to grow when the long-awaited introduction of VR streaming is unveiled in the industry.
Film and TV
The most pertinent example of how streaming has changed the film & TV industry comes courtesy of one of the world’s most respected film directors, Martin Scorsese. The man responsible for Gangs of New York, The Wolf of Wall Street and many other hit blockbusters.
Just a few years ago, Scorsese released the film Silence. This film was a culmination of a lifetime’s work, a grippingly artsy tale of two Jesuit Priests. However it was a box office flop, only regaining half of its $100 million budget.
When Scorsese returned to Paramount Pictures with the idea of The Irishman, an ambitious film featuring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, he was rebuffed. The failure of Silence had been enough to scare Paramount off working with Scorsese again.
The movie powerhouse believed it could not take the risk on another high budget film, especially not in the current economic climate. Luckily for Scorsese, Netflix jumped in and took the rights to the film for $100 million, with the release date expected to be sometime later this year.
The success of the streaming giant Netflix is so much so that they can now afford to take risks in filmmaking that other organisation such as Paramount Pictures can no longer match. This isn’t just confined to the world of film – it’s also happening with increasing frequency in the TV industry.
Lucifer premiered on Fox in 2016. The show chronicled the relationship between Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Ellis) and Chloe Decker (Lauren German). The twist was that Lucifer was actually the Devil, and was spending his time on earth solving crime.
Fox ran three seasons of the show, attracting on average 4-million views per episode. However, this wasn’t good enough for Fox, and they decided not to renew Lucifer for a fourth season.
That decision was greeted with outrage among fans, and #SaveLucifer became the number one trend worldwide on Twitter. Fox clearly could not justify the financial outlay of another season of Lucifer, but someone else could.
Netflix swooped in to buy the rights to the TV show in June 2018, and a fourth season is expected to be released in spring 2019. With so many successful streaming platforms such as Netflix now being able to afford the production of hit films and TV shows, it’s no surprise to know that their subscription rates are through the roof, with over 139 million paying subscribers.
The global reach of the English Premier League was highlighted perfectly in 2017, when a small provincial team from the East Midlands put on a poignant memorial service to honour the late Thai King, Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Not only did Leicester City pay a fitting tribute to Adulyadej, they also perfectly epitomised the global power of the Premier League. Billions of fans watch Premier League games every year, with the reach of the league being felt in over 200 countries around the globe.
With that reach has come wealth. Eight of the 20 richest clubs in the world are situated in England, with even lowly West Ham being the 15th wealthiest. Sky Sports paid a rumoured £5.136 billion for the 2016-2019 Premier League broadcasting rights.
As a result, the sports industry in general is now having to combat the threat of illegal online streaming of games.
More people choosing to consume their favourite sports in different ways, mitigating the need for expensive sports subscriptions. As a result, major sports broadcasters are changing the way they operate.
Sky Sports streaming branch Now TV now allows viewers the chance to pay for daily passes, allowing them to stream their favourite sporting games as a one-off occasion. More and more money that is allocated to advertising is being spent to attract these ‘one-off’ customers and stave off the appeal of illegal streams.
Football experts are also predicting the introduction of club-specific streaming season tickets in the not too distant future. This may well be coupled with VR technology allowing customers a unique, bespoke experience.
These are just a few ways streaming is here to stay. Keep an eye on these four industries to see which innovations will transform them even further in the years to come.