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Unlocking the Interactive Future of Live Media & Entertainment hero

Unlocking the Interactive Future of Live Media & Entertainment

By Author: Brad Altfest In Business, Developer

As younger audiences spend more viewing time on mobile apps rather than watching traditional TV and streaming, what can media and entertainment brands do to keep them engaged for longer periods of time? To drive viewership to owned properties, media and entertainment brands need to figure out how to enhance the streaming experience on their channels. To do that, brands must embrace both interactivity and mobile viewing.

On the interactivity side, Gen Z prefers to like, share, comment, and respond in real-time. Adding interactivity to live content can help to pull younger viewership back from 3rd-party social platforms with exclusive interactive features that viewers can only fully experience in your app. This can be accomplished with a mobile-friendly strategy and ultra-low latency delivery, enabling a social layer around any content.

As mobile-first and mobile-only audiences grow, dynamic and flexible interactive content is imperative.

Here are some examples of solutions to empower media and entertainment companies to capture and retain these newer audiences.

Multi-camera live streams

Multi-camera live stream of a rock concert featuring a guitarist performing on stage and crowd reactions

Imagine watching a live concert and having the ability to switch between different camera angles to focus on your favorite band member. Multi-camera live streams make this possible, allowing viewers to choose their preferred perspective. This feature not only enhances viewer engagement but also requires seamless synchronization of streams and swift channel changing.

Live sports with user generated content (UGC)

A live sports feed featuring a panel of five commentators with user generated content on right-panel showing player favorites for purchase

Sporting events are about more than just the game—they’re about the community and the commentary that surrounds it. Integrating user-generated content (UGC) live streams allows influencers to provide live commentary and engage with the audience through chat functionalities. Viewers choose which commentator or community they want to interact with, fostering a more inclusive and engaging environment. Achieving this requires ultra-low latency and precise synchronization.

Personalized avatar overlays

Adding a touch of whimsy and new sponsorship opportunities, personalized avatar overlays can transform the viewing experience. This model has seen success in live sports, with kids events like the NFL’s Toy Story Funday and the NHL’s Big City Greens Classic, both partnerships with Disney. These features can help to draw in new audiences, enhance the viewer experience, and open new avenues for monetization through sponsorships.

Live interactive events for fan sites

Live stream of a vibrant cosplay-themed virtual event screen showing costumed attendees with live chat and items for sales on the right

Fan engagement goes beyond just watching videos. Enabling live interactive events that include auctions of memorabilia, watch parties, micro-transactions, UGC, breakout rooms for influencers, and opportunities for audience members to join a virtual stage, create a richer, more interactive experience, fostering deeper connections between fans and their favorite content.

Live sports with integrated betting

A smartphone displays an app with a live soccer game and integrated betting

For live sports, integrating synchronized live betting provides a much better live viewing experience for bettors. Synchronizing the latest odds and stats with the live broadcast deepens engagement and keeps fans in the moment instead of switching attention back and forth between the broadcast and a third party betting app. This can be combined with multi-camera live streams, and UGC commentating to allow viewers to personalize their experience by choosing which camera and commentator to followall synchronized with the betting experience. This requires ultra-low latency synchronization of streams and sports betting data to provide an optimal viewing and betting experience.

Live auctions and voting

Live video stream featuring auctions and voting

Creating environments where the fear of missing out (FOMO) drives engagement is essential for live auctions and voting events. Facilitating real-time chat interactions between the host and audience makes every participant feel included. With live bids delivered in milliseconds and instant updates for viewers, maintaining the integrity of high-quality video streams is crucial to keeping audiences engaged.

Furthermore, integrating real-time functionality into any M&E app provides content providers with valuable first-party data from social interactions. When analyzed by generative AI, this data can yield actionable intelligence and uncover new trends, giving companies a competitive edge in the ever-evolving media landscape.

Conclusion

The future of media and entertainment lies not in the repetition of the Free Ad Support Television (FAST) model, which is merely the most literal representation of the traditional broadcast model online. The FAST model has predictably failed to attract the next generation Gen Z audience, who prefer to consume content on mobile and fundamentally expects an interactive experience with personalized engagement.

To enable the above examples of interactivity, media brands need to move beyond the traditional content delivery experience via CDN. This integrated interactivity and synchronization requires the real-time internet which can be enabled via Agora’s Software-Defined Real-Time Network (SD-RTN™). Agora’s method of real-time delivery ensures a smooth interactive user experience with ultra-low latency (<300ms) for video, voice, or chat with the ability to synchronize data in real time. This allows users to focus on the experience and interaction—not the technology they’re using.

These richer, more dynamic content experiences help to attract and retain mobile-first and mobile-only audiences. The time to innovate is now, and Agora provides the tools to make it happen. Learn more about Agora’s Media & Entertainment solutions.