When we’re consuming data online today, we want instant gratification. We want it now and we don't care how.

We have all become a little like Veruca Salt from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, but instead of demanding golden eggs, we want entertainment and news with instantly loading text, images, videos and audio files.

If you have to buffer streamed content for longer than two seconds, the chances are you would rather abandon it than wait for it to load.

  The 'buffer' screen:   Long loading times discourage viewers from waiting for content

The 'buffer' screen: Long loading times discourage viewers from waiting for content

Perhaps it's no wonder then that livestreaming is gaining popularity online: Time is a precious commodity; every second counts and as consumers, we don’t want to miss out on a thing.

Mobile phone provider EE even began an advertising campaign apparently lobbying against 'buffer face' and promising customer faster mobile streaming speeds.

  'Buffer face': A shot   from EE's advert claiming to abolish 'buffer face' by introducing   faster streaming speeds

'Buffer face': A shot from EE's advert claiming to abolish 'buffer face' by introducing faster streaming speeds

Since YouTube was founded in 2005, it has garnered more than 1 billion unique monthly users to become the top video streaming site in the world.

But why is it so popular? Because YouTube represents on-demand streaming in its roughest, most unprocessed and organic state.

While many of the videos on YouTube are edited, the tone of user-generated video content is one of tapping in ‘behind the scenes’. There’s often a sense that the content is a snapshot into the lives of those posting.

Live footage has always fascinated viewers. Its allure remains in its mystery: with live footage, you never quite know what's going to happen. It is largely unscripted, unedited and raw, allowing it to stand out from other types of content. Live film gives viewers the opportunity to see ‘behind the scenes’ and it scratches the itch that most people have of wanting to be in touch with what’s real.

The way we consume video is always changing. And YouTube has joined the many platforms now offering livestreaming.

Livestreaming is interactive and as such, all the more raw. Users can post questions or comments to be answered live by a host, or to have them track across the screen for other viewers to see. The host of the livestream can then change the course of the content, react to viewers’ expressions of emotion and engage with viewers in real time.

Today, everyone’s jumping on the livestreaming bandwagon.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter (via Periscope), Meerkat, and Twitch; products such as Livestream, UStream and YouTube Live; conglomerates like P&G and NASA; and sporting giants like Sky Sports: They’re all stepping into the burgeoning world of livestreaming.

Users are interacting with brands in a whole new way and it’s exciting territory for anyone who wants to tap into the unlimited information those users hold.

  Interactive livestreaming, with a text box for viewers to pose questions to be asked live on air. http://www.paperheads.co.uk/projects/p-g-s-first-ever-interactive-live-stream.go

Interactive livestreaming, with a text box for viewers to pose questions to be asked live on air. http://www.paperheads.co.uk/projects/p-g-s-first-ever-interactive-live-stream.go

But the way users are interacting with livestream technology is not restricted to the consumption of content. The users themselves are also creating content.

Periscope is the livestreaming app owned by Twitter. In the last year, 200 million broadcasts have been made and the company reports that the equivalent of 110 years worth of video is watched daily.

Periscope says: “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video can take you someplace and show you around.”

Apps like Periscope are gathering increasingly more attention from users around the world. Perhaps it taps into the feeling of peeping behind the curtain into people’s private lives. Whatever the reason, it seems consumers are loving both watching livestreaming events and creating their own.

What’s equally exciting is that the capabilities of livestreaming are continuing to evolve at a fast pace.

The 360° video has been one of the latest developments to impress a tech-hungry public. The film is recorded with 6 separate lenses, angled to capture everything in a 360° dome. Depending on your device, you can view 360° video either by physically moving your smartphone around an imaginary sphere or by digitally dragging the image using your cursor or finger.

Recently Facebook launched Facebook 360, allowing users to share an immersive view of their world by uploading a panorama or photosphere which Facebook will convert to a 360 photo for all to see.

A recent leap in video technology merges 360° video and livestreaming, enabling viewers a unique experience. Each viewer will see a different selection of the footage as they navigate around the shot exactly as they please. Below is the first ever live streamed 360 video, filmed on April 20th, 2016. It captures musician and dancer DAWN, performing live for The Verge, a media hub that describes itself as 'covering the intersection of technology, science, art and culture.'

New trends in marketing research are sure to encompass these burgeoning technologies; it’s certainly an exciting time for video research.

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