Live streaming is massive. In the gaming sector alone, viewers watched nearly 4 billion hours last year of live streams. This isn’t limited to gaming. Chinese influencers have created live commerce, a mix of live streaming and online shopping that has quickly become China’s preferred shopping method. The rise of live streaming has attracted content creators in many different genres like music and cooking.
It’s easier than ever to share moments, routines, or exciting experiences with others by pressing a button on social media.
While some live-streaming is just for the enjoyment of it, others are looking to make it big. Boredom can also be a problem.
Researchers studied live streams that originated from Germany, Japan, and the US using the platforms UStream, Periscope (discontinued as of March 2021), and YouNow. The streamers were motivated by many different reasons, and most used live streaming services for entertainment. There were some interesting country-based differences.
US streamers were motivated by reaching a particular target group. For example, they performed music to reach that audience. They were trying to improve their self-image and build their fan base. However, Japanese streamers cited socializing as their primary motivation. Their desire to communicate with their audience was intense. The leading causes of German streamers were to alleviate their boredom. They are not alone.
Boredom was an essential motivator in streamers both in Japan and America back in 2016. Simply put, people used live streaming to escape boredom and help them pass the time.
Fast forward to 2021. Boredom is on the increase.
The COVID-19 restrictions have slowed daily activities by limiting social engagements and leisure activities. According to Sydney Embers of the New York Times, the lack of deviations from everyday monotony has even generated the boredom economy with money being invested in home improvement, online shopping, and trading activities such as Gamestop. The link between boredom and live streaming could get further support, with all the major streaming platforms announcing significant increases in their streamers during COVID-19.
There’s always a new twist. There is now a new type of live streaming where the streamers do not interact, perform or communicate with viewers. Instead, the stream broadcasts live everyday mundane activities like sleeping or studying.
Twitch’s latest trend is to sleep. Streamers set up their cameras on their beds and go to sleep. Chinese amateur streamer YuanSan broadcast a 2-day sleep-stream in February 2020. To his surprise, 18 million viewers tuned in. YuanSan said that he wanted to alleviate his boredom in an interview. “I was so bored; I decided that live streaming myself sleeping would be the best thing for me.” The funny thing was, I found that my viewers were just as bored as I was.
What does it mean for live streaming platform providers if boredom motivates viewers and broadcasters alike? One feature that most providers offer is free access to the service. One feature that is available to viewers is the interactive chat function. This allows viewers to interact with each other and will enable them to post comments. One option might be instant notification to viewers whenever the broadcaster is streaming. Perhaps all that is required is a normal service that meets the basic requirements of this particular segment.
You can conquer boredom by watching boredom and acting on boredom. It is possible to engage in being bored actively. This is the new way of living.