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Special Report 
Brand Live Stream

Will Clark, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv

Spotlight 
Highlighting Brands Innovating with Live Streaming


The Harbinger of Live Stream Commerce
Stage TEN’s “Rozy” opens possibilities for brands and influencers

 
There’s a hundred-billion-dollar industry that’s silently taking over the web. 

Or at least, silent to us in North America. Every day, hundreds of millions of people use the Alibaba-owned site Taobao, where a whole new class of influencer sells products to live audiences. 

In 2019, the live stream shopping industry was valued at $66 billion in China, and that number is projected to more than double this year. But so far, efforts from companies like Amazon to create their own live stream marketplaces haven’t found traction.

Dave Lazar, CEO and Founder of Stage TEN, is not trying to build a marketplace. He’s building a tool set. 
 
Lazar has long hair and a goatee, a gravelly Canadian accent, and a piano keyboard in the background of his office. He wouldn’t be out of place at a ski resort or your local record store.  

But through the air of casualness, he radiates quiet confidence and determination. He’s someone whose vision of the future of the internet and media is quickly becoming reality. 

“The magic of the web is that it is a two-way medium and that content produced and experienced on the web should be both interactive and transactional,” Lazar said. “The way brands and media companies have used the web up until this point has been mostly as a distribution medium.”

Stage TEN is changing that through their browser-based live streaming software, which is used by Gwyneth Paltrow's brand goop, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, Khan Academy and more. They recently produced the live launch of Cardi B’s and Megan Thee Stallion’s new single and music video “WAP.”

They’re also the makers of the app Rozy, a live streaming video player which allows viewers to purchase products without leaving the live video. It’s integrated with Shopify and allows users to multi-stream their live video to social channels. 

“Our approach with Rozy is to integrate with any e-commerce storefront and to make the Rozy viewer fully brandable and embeddable anywhere so that the audiences can reach it from any device without any download,” Lazar said. 

The app would essentially be the first video player outside of Taobao that gives users the capability to sell to audiences in real time. While marketplaces like Amazon’s have live shopping, the ability to start a storefront in their marketplace is restricted. Rozy, however, is free to download on the app store. 

“So if you think of us as turning creators into retailers and retailers into creators,” Lazar said, “we also have the ability to take anyone with a Shopify store, even if they're not making content per se, and have them begin to engage with their customers in real time and do things like guided selling.”

Lazar emphasized that he’s not in the e-commerce platform business. He’s not involved in fulfillment — instead he’s building the tools for influencers and brands to interact with audiences in new ways. 

“We think there's going to be a massive market across multiple verticals to serve these retailers, as a way to engage their customers in real time,” Lazar said, “but also as a way to finally give media companies a way to monetize live video and start taking advantage of broadcasting onto that two-way medium.”

While there is a licensing fee for the full version of the Stage TEN streaming software, according to Lazar, most of the 160,000 users have the free version. And instead of charging the creators and media companies to use Rozy, the Stage TEN model relies on taking a 5% cut.

“I still think, despite the fact that we're democratizing things, that the coolest shows are going to come from the biggest brands and media companies,” Lazar said, “because they're the ones who are going to be able to actually afford what it takes to turn a live stream sale into a live stream show that has sales.”

Stage TEN will soon announce a new partnership that will utilize their software to create a live, interactive show. 

“That's what gets me really excited,” Lazar said, “because I've always thought streaming was being totally underutilized as a way to basically rebroadcast TV on the web when it could do so much more.”

Brand Bites
Recent Live Streams from Top Brands

Bank of America/ESPN
Event: Breaking Barriers
Platform: Twitter/YouTube
Reach: 622.3k views
Time/Date: August 28 @ 11 am PT

This event was a conversation on racial equality between columnist Clinton Yates, Alex Rodriguez, and several other baseball players and commentators. Hosted by The Undefeated, a platform for exploring the intersection of race, sports and culture, the discussion celebrated players like Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, covered the modern social justice movement, and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues.

While the live stream was broadcast on YouTube, it was promoted by ESPN through Twitter. Their promotional efforts were mainly day-of, and immediately pointed audiences to the stream. Twitter has become the favorite platform for ESPN’s promotion of their regular livestreams. 

Visible
Event: Red Rocks Unpaused
Platform: Brand site
Reach: 7.5 million views
Time/Date: September 1-3 @ 7pm PT

One of the biggest live stream music events this year, Red Rocks Unpaused took place at the famous Colorado auditorium but without any in-person audience. While some are beginning to experiment with hybrid events, Visible opted for an entirely virtual audience, despite being technically approved for up to 175 attendees

The concert featured Phoebe Bridgers, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby, Sam Hunt, and Brett Young. The event also leaned into interactivity, with the ability for audiences to affect the show’s lighting and color schemes, help set off pyrotechnics, and vote to choose an encore song. 

Bud Light
Event: Battle of the Best 
Platform: Twitch
Reach: 8.4 million views
Time/Date: September 1-4 @ 4pm PT

Bud Light hosted a three-day long tournament featuring 16 streamers and a musical performance from EDM artist Kygo. Among the 16 streamers were shroud, the gamer who recently signed an exclusive deal to return to Twitch last month, and cloakzy, who won the tournament. 


David Blaine Ascension
Platform: YouTube
Reach: 17.2 million views
Time/Date: September 2 @ 6 am PT

David Blaine took on what he called “one of the most ambitious performances of his life” two weeks ago. With help from his team at YouTube, Blaine successfully ascended 25,000 feet in the air with nothing more than a handful of helium balloons. The marathon live event lasted over three hours, but the runtime obviously didn’t deter viewers. The video currently has about the same number of views as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman had in its opening week on Netflix. 

The carefully orchestrated event had its share of hiccups, from audio difficulties to a last-minute change of landing sites, but it seems both Blaine and YouTube successfully pulled off their own ambitious stunts. 

 

Opportunities
Opportunities for Brands to Connect with Successful Streamers


Chess on Twitch
 
Chess has recently taken off as one of the most popular games to watch on Twitch. The phenomenon was recently featured in The New York Times, which highlighted grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura’s role in the game’s ascendance. 

Its rapid rise means new opportunities for brands to capitalize on the millions of hours of chess being watched this year. Analytics site SullyGnome breaks down statistics from Twitch that can help brands understand not only chess, but all games streamed on Twitch.

75,000 — Peak number of concurrent views during an amateur chess tournament in June 2020, that was briefly the most-viewed stream on Twitch.

535,000 — Total number of followers on Nakamura’s Twitch channel, most of which subscribed since the beginning of the pandemic

1.3 million — Total hours of chess watched in the past 7 days on Twitch.

2.31 million — Total subscribers to TSM’s YouTube channel, the team that signed Nakamura to a six-figure contract last month.

All data from SullyGnome and YouTube. See graphs below for more data on the long-term growth of chess on Twitch.
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