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The Evolution and Impact of Live Streaming Services: A Case Study of Singapore

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1. Introduction

First, the study conducted a survey among concert goers in order to examine whether concert-goers are indeed substitute audience for live streaming services. Second, using a survey among college students, we analyze what determines the satisfaction of using live streaming services. We also complement our empirical study with a review of legal constraints and registered companies providing live streaming services in Singapore. Few studies attempt to provide a comprehensive snapshot of this newly emerged field, especially from a business perspective. We believe that this paper could shed more light on the interesting phenomenon and pave the way for future research.

The rise of the internet and smart devices transforms media consumption habits and content formats. One popular type of content is live streaming, described as real-time or near real-time play-through of video games, lives of persons, events, and more, over the internet. It is extremely popular in many countries. Despite the popularity of live streaming, academic work on the issue is both limited and scattered. Though some theories, such as parasocial interaction theory, uses and gratifications theory, and technology acceptance model may have bearings on live streaming, they have not been applied in the literature. This paper seeks to address these lacunas.

1.1. Background of Live Streaming Services

This research is grounded on the Singapore case in the global group-shift currents and aims to identify the background, current status, profit patterns, and future development of education applications through live streaming. The current result reveals that the number of live stream service platform users has grown rapidly in Singapore over the past two years, and there are a large number of users on live streaming platforms. However, it is less frequent for students to learn from live streaming. In addition, the observation of differences between the proportions and achievements of platforms on both ends with more user accounts and broadcasts than others confirmed the observed inverted U-shaped relationship that exists between two axes. It is extremely important to analyze the inverted U-shaped relationship channels that occur in applications.

Live streaming Singapore is a decent platform for people to interact with experience and expertise in various fields through a virtual environment. Lowering the barrier and being time-flexible make real-time interaction convenient for many people, and can this channel be used for teaching and learning. Stakeholders in society can benefit, and must they face new challenges and problems. In particular, when it is emergent and popular, people tend to ignore potential risks and problems and begin to be immersed in and be influenced by the virtual platform, or apply a practical use and rely on it to solve problems. Thus, understanding of applications and characteristics of live streaming is important for further sustainable development and scientific application.

1.2. Significance of Live Streaming in Modern Society

1 Introduction 1.1 Background and Research Objectives How to retain the vitality of a city is crucial for urban administrators. In recent years, various types of data and information have been transmitted to the public via various popular social media platforms and mobile applications. A live broadcast, in which data is being transmitted simultaneously and is often broadcasted by interesting lifestyle networks, is an interactive type of streaming video. With the development of this type of ‘showroom’ service,…

Simultaneous online transmission of data as a stream of acoustic or visual information is known as live streaming. This paper aims to study the evolution of live streaming services and its impacts on societies. The case of Singapore was selected to serve as a practical example of the influence of government’s support on the rapid growth of live streaming services on a city’s society. Through a comprehensive review of live streaming regulations, observations of the operations of live streaming services in Singapore, and in-depth interviews with live streaming users and workers, the study shows that live streaming also has effects on the entertainment industry and the labor market in a city. The government played a significant role in supporting live streaming services.

2. Technological Advancements in Live Streaming

Live streaming is also based on a mindset of accessibility. Traditionally, the media sector has been trying to figure out how to make information accessible, but eventually, they become distributors who utilize their exclusive status to charge. While that is a normal business practice, live streaming offers a cooperative solution, using its unique structure—real-time recording and encoding, network broadcasting and live TV, service management and advertising with sponsor value to provide an interactive programme schedule. It creates profit by deploying a sponsor’s perimeter advantage.

The emergence of Web 2.0 (also known as the second generation of the internet), along with broadband networks and advances in Information Communication Technologies (ICT), has made live streaming, an advanced form of multimedia streaming, a practical medium. DV video production systems have also accelerated live streams by editing compressed video in real-time. In essence, live streaming represents a part of the convergence of media, creating an environment where traditional systems and the new digital service-oriented infrastructure can coexist and interface. It also applies the concept of spatial order to services. Live TV gives the user the ability to watch operations happening at a location within a starkly defined time span.

2.1. Development of Live Streaming Platforms

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the development of ClosedForCOVID was even more significant than in 2016.

In the latest stage, live streaming has experienced a period of heated growth. Its diversification has further advanced, and various sectors have shifted traditional business models to ones involving live streaming.

Circa 2013 marked the third stage, which saw the inception and high-speed development of live streaming platforms. Commercial value emerged, and PUGC (professional user-generated content) and private domain e-commerce became widely popular on platforms like Meipai, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Red Pine Paper.

The second stage, circa 2011, is defined by O2O (online-to-offline) and P2P (peer-to-peer) live broadcasting. Small meetings based on Thunder, Xunlei, and enterprise information release became more common. Interactive live streaming became the focus. Platforms such as Surge, Watercress, and B Station gained popularity.

The first stage involved the creation of text and image circa 2007. Non-celebrity-based streaming content was mainly used to express simple, live, and recreational activities. Platforms such as UStream, BlogTV, and Stickam were popular during this time.

The development of live streaming platforms may be broadly divided into three stages:

2.2. Key Features and Capabilities

In terms of technological features, live streaming services are nearly identical to a public address system: one occupies an access point but cannot deny access to others, nor can one remove another person’s ability to speak. Live streaming services have been a matter of crucial importance to Information Technology (IT) companies competing to gain market share. In the short-to-medium term, current software has benign-nature applications such as corporate broadcasting or instruction broadcasting, in which users are permitted to leave an interactive message or question which can be subsequently answered and also be available for later viewing. However, as IT companies continue to develop, improving their immersive virtual environments which eventually will undoubtedly include dangerous nature applications, they have the power to make live streaming services more relevant in most of the variety of routine and emergency communications.

The growth of user-generated live streaming services is, in itself, a feature that distinguishes these services from their broadcast predecessors. UGC represents a knowledge model which consists of both the process and the architecture for implementing it. UGC encompasses all kinds of media content broadcasted from the end-users. Live streaming service falls into the category of user-generated media content created using video cameras and smartphones being used by non-professional and amateur providers who create and upload videos to online media platforms. UGC is a source of acquisition, sharing, dissemination, creation, and distribution process. A fundamental feature of UGC is the fact that an Internet user creates it, and another one views and/or consumes it.

3. Live Streaming in Singapore

Entertainment remains the primary objective for live streaming. But beyond that, especially when talents and ordinary citizens are using this platform as part of their businesses, issues can evolve. Financial revenue can be earned through platforms such as Uplive, Bigo, Twitch, and Facebook, and a novel market can also be created. As far as the content industry is concerned, live streaming content can represent an outflow of entertainment, and from the “supply” perspective, inadvertently hints of social issues can be observed through those who serve as the content providers. San Francisco feminist critic Elaine Kim notices that the most popular bloggers use live streaming for various purposes – to attract fans, to build an intimate bond with fans, and to reach out to a large fan community. Through the bloggers, she sees the existence of power, gender, and inequality.

The variety of live streaming platforms available contributes to the changing nature of Singapore’s media industry. Numerous platforms including Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Periscope, Bigo, and Twitch are available to users, and it is common for popular bloggers or social influencers to engage with their fans in real time. Generally, fans find such content interesting and sometimes addictive. Watching popular bloggers or online celebrities in real time, talking about hobbies such as eating and gaming, can offer an interactive and substantially different experience compared to traditional television or webcast programs.

3.1. Overview of the Live Streaming Market in Singapore

The live TV and OTT platforms have proven to be very popular digital platforms in Singapore. As compared to before, consumers now have more options for easy access to TV and OTT services at any place and time. These live TV and OTT platforms are viable alternatives for consumers who are interested in significant savings on their pay-TV bills. Internet-based live TV and video on demand streaming are also creating the next wave of disruption, especially to the traditional linear broadcast and cable transmission platforms. Even though OTT services are not a full substitution for broadcast offerings, OTT has contributed to the reduction in the number of pay-TV subscribers.

In Singapore, viewing habits have been changing with the constant demand for new digital services, as well as the increasing number of millennials. These new streaming paradigms have allowed for the entry of various digital service providers that enable viewers to access news content, as well as global and local sports and entertainment events. The offerings on these live TV or live streaming linear TV will include time-shifted playback features and over-the-top (OTT) functionality. OTT video subscriptions are offered to consumers on web applications, mobile and smart connected TV devices, media player sticks, and game consoles, with many major OTT service providers entering the market for the consumption of TV everywhere for live streaming.

3.2. Popular Live Streaming Platforms in Singapore

3.2. Popular Live Streaming Platforms in Singapore The various forms and expressions of live streaming platforms around the world have resulted in divergent impacts. In Singapore, these live streaming platforms range from international apps such as Bigo and up-and-coming apps such as AStopped. Currently, Bigo is the most popular live streaming app in Singapore, preceding another popular one, 17 Live. After it was banned in India in 2020, its user base grew rapidly in Singapore. In 2021, Bigo signed an exclusive live-streaming partnership with Eleven Sports.

Based on the above-mentioned insights, two key research questions are formed. First, we ask: “What are youths’ perceptions of live streaming platforms in Singapore?” Second, we ask: “How do the structures of popular live streaming platforms in Singapore resemble and differ from traditional TV and new media in terms of creator expression, connection, and economic support?” These research questions are anchored in plenary discussions as well as empirical insights gathered from a series of focus groups and interviews with 29 youths aged 17 to 25. Content analysis is employed to identify the key findings, many of which affirm the differences, specificities, and potentials of live streaming platforms, particularly with respect to new forms of community connection, meaningful intimacy, and direct economic exchange enabled through the monetization of daily personal life.

4. Challenges and Opportunities in Live Streaming

The author has discussed the various opportunities for businesses in the earlier sections, and it is without a doubt that the live streaming industry is a very attractive and unique industry to analyze. Such analysis would include assessing the extent of challenges faced by different business models, and in the case of these challenges being of significant impact, identify new business models that have the potential to create a new demand for healthier revenue opportunities. The following subsections are aimed at identifying what challenges exist and what are the corresponding opportunities that would arise should solutions be found for the challenges that exist today.

This section seeks to identify and analyze the emerging challenges that exist in the use of live streaming services today. Several challenges have been identified, and they exist in multiple dimensions, such as technical, business, societal, and legal. The existence of these challenges, however, does provide a window of opportunity for industries to improve in these areas and, in parallel, adopt new business models that may arise from addressing these challenges.

4.1. Technical Challenges and Solutions

Some innovative techniques have been proposed to enhance the Quality of Service (QoS) features of multimedia streaming service, which is based on layer-based video streaming techniques. Essentially, the base stations broadcast only the lower quality layers of the multicast video to all the users in the cell. The high-quality service is transmitted to the users who have a direct radio link. Since these users would not suffer from congestion or signal loss problems, they receive the best video quality service from the base station. By utilizing this differentiation technique between users, network resources can be effectively allocated in order to provide the best QoS for the users in the cell. However, this technique still requires further investigation to validate its claim of improved video service, particularly in a high traffic 3G mobile network environment.

Currently, the 3G mobile networks in Singapore contain a much lower mobile base station density compared with the dense 2G network. The capacity of the 3G cells, with their mobile broadband access (MBBA) features, is much larger than that of the older 2G cells. As the MBBA service provides higher bandwidth data connection, the capacity of the 3G network is likely to be more quickly overloaded by high-density data traffic. The video and voice streaming services place a high demand on the capacity of the mobile network. In a video streaming service, the mobile users receive steady state low-speed traffic which, after being aggregated at the base station, produces an unpredictable high-speed load. At times, sudden congestion in the mobile network can lead to video jitter and frame drop at the reception due to a lack of retransmission control when there is an error-collapsed video frame.

4.2. Legal and Ethical Considerations

The popular event could be subjected to copyright infringement on social platforms, where high-quality reproductions of images, music, and video data are placed. At the same time, it is not the structure of the streaming services itself that protects the rightsholder, but mainly the technical control points for the issuance of the right to broadcast the content. It seems that collaboration between rightsholders and properly applying constantly evolving technologies in copyright protection comes to be a win-win game. Control over user-generated content is one of the main measures for broadcasters and streaming services to prevent their broadcast rights from exposure. On the other hand, rightsholders and broadcasting organizations have come to terms with user-generated content on social platforms in a variety of forms, such as fan-uploaded original content.

From the legal and ethical perspectives, online video streaming in relation to the protection of personal interests and respect for other individuals’ rights is regulated by legislation. The commercial use of live streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook for broadcasting events and filming in the territory of a country should be controlled by a license from a government authority. Important aspects of the commercial use of live streaming platforms have been subject to discussion in countries. Particular attention should be paid to live streaming services that broadcast events, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, trade fairs, corporate location-based remote monitoring, and product demonstrations.

5. Conclusion

When examining live streaming at the industry level, the important discovery is that the live streaming era is built on the painstakingly accumulated business categories from traditional media by transcendent video technology. While the discovery of live streaming more or less duplicates processes that have brought about other media explosions, the fact that this new current has been untrammelled both catalyzes business benefits and burdens wider societal and anthropological costs, hence inviting scrutiny. This study derives some satisfaction from our initial findings but also realizes the limitations of this work. It is beyond the scope of this article to complete our initial ideas, and there are many important issues that require deeper investigation. In relation to the damage caused by live streaming to societal and anthropological values, we propose future work in fields such as anthropology, education, and social governance for follow-up work. In saying this, however, we certainly believe that the revelation of the current research is generalizable and can be transferred positively to digital studies.

This study set out to understand where the roots of live streaming lie and to examine the novelty of its form and function as a convenient media tool accessible to everyone, and how it alternatively serves and damages the interests of Asian societies that are technologically advanced but which retain important traditional attributes. The analysis of the function of live streaming shows that online it strengthens the formal physical identities of both the performer and the audience, even while it helps to develop linkages among all of them, and thus is a perpetuator of societal and anthropological values. Conversely, it also generates novel negative influence at the social level. By forgoing traditional ethical expectations, it amplifies the risk of human weak points being exposed and facilitates any interested party with the ability to exploit or violate regulations or public agenda at will.

5.1. Summary of Key Findings

Data on the perceived impacts of using live streaming services could, however, serve as an important grounding for future measures, addressing potential negative outcomes, such as health problems, by providing location-specific, targeted support and advice that is appropriate to a particular community’s health behavior and usage experience of that community.

In order to maximize commercial success, content creators and other entities in the live streaming ecosystem should create and maintain real-time, two-way interactions with the audience, and also remember that geographical location continues to shape live streaming related behaviors and impacts. However, the question of whether using live streaming services is unhealthy remains open. Regardless, the findings suggest that live streaming platforms such as Twitch, Periscope, and Bigo are located at the intersection of gaming, social media, video sharing, and live broadcasting, and are used frequently for a variety of reasons.

In terms of impact, live streaming was found to impact heavily upon the day to day activities of users in Singapore. They placed great emphasis on the live streaming industry, and supported and recognized the work of the content creators who engaged them. Overall, social and career related impacts were seen to be significantly positive.

In terms of motivations and usage behaviors, live streaming was used frequently in Singapore, and for a variety of reasons: prime among these was watching live-streamed content of interest, supporting and interacting with content creators, and staying up to date in terms of trends. However, it is seen as time consuming, sometimes affecting academic or work performance. More active participants in live streaming are also likely to follow a greater number of content creators and to spend more time, and money, on these services.

The paper has presented a survey of 400 users of live streaming services in Singapore, to provide insights into the uses and impact of live streaming. Our key findings are summarized as follows.

5.2. Future Trends in Live Streaming Services

Remotability of 360-degree live streaming in Internet of Robotic Things, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality applications: Fully immersively visual scene live streaming that can totally cover the user’s head motions calls for ultra-high bandwidth and low-latency communication, thus largely increasing the delivery pressure and complexity. With consideration of potential deployed various robotic things, which are applicable only after efficient multi-view coding and transmission.

Distributed multicell coordinated delivery of multistream multi-users in MEC live streaming services: Unlike traditional unicast or broadcast, it is no longer effective to meet the mass-based delivery requirements because the increasing number of practical 5G base stations covering multimedia services entails distribution coordination and challenge. Coded caching to alleviate network traffic loads has displayed promising prospects in its theoretical limit; however, the practical system is largely degraded in system overheads. Variants of MEC spectrum-based multifaceted approaches call for a dedicated research agenda, where the multidimensional resources and intelligent interaction between diverse nodes and buffering content should be carefully designed and coordinated.

Scalability and performance optimization for 5G live streaming services: It remains a fundamental issue to be addressed when rapid development plans for seamless real-time live video streaming services are going to be implemented. Large-scale delivery of live video streams through 5G media scenarios remains a difficult challenge regarding adaptive coding, packaging, caching, and distribution. In particular, the introduction of mobile edge computing potentially creates a new way to mitigate such challenges. To effectively exploit and optimize the resource allocation at the edge, the live stream should be effectively offloaded to the transmitting edge via peer-assisted techniques or distributed computing.

In light of the ongoing R&D initiatives and commercialization activities, the following are some future trends in the evolution of live streaming services that are of particular interest:

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