The opportunity in Live streaming

We're seeing tons of activity in live online streaming in the US, but less so in Europe. That's a pity.

HQ Trivia, backed by Founders Fund, has brought an interactive gameshow format to live streaming on the phone. ShopShops, backed by USV, is bringing influencer-intermediated boutique retail to the world. NTWRK, backed by Jimmy Iovine (he of the amazing The Defiant Ones documentary), is another take on live shopping. Of course the "rethinking QVC" approach gets a ton of backing. 

All of this isn't that new. I remember looking at TinyChat around nine years ago, who were doing multi-person streaming and trying to build discussion rooms and communities. As with lots of live streaming (remember Chatroulette), these things tend to go camgirl-naughty fairly quickly. LiveJasmin is a phenomental business (if you're OK with that morally). 

And then of course there's Justin.tv, out of which grew Twitch. We've seen more and more people try to compete with Twitch. That's a really tough proposition. In terms of broad one-to-many streaming, the large players have sucked most of the air out of the room. Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, even Twitter, are just too good, the built-in audience is too big, the network effects too strong. 

Hence you need a deep vertical approach, preferably one with a native monetization model (see QVC above). In general I think there are two ways to go about this: one is communication; the other is entertainment.

In communication you need to go full (and free) utility. See if you can build a better FaceTime or Google Meet (or whatever it's called now). That's really tough in consumer. I know Confrere in Oslo, backed by Point Nine, are doing this using WebRTC for B2B. That sounds like the right take. 

The other approach is entertainment. And what's interesting there is that we've had over 90 years of experience in television. These one-to-many formats have had a long time to mature with TV as a platform. So the opportunity is really to take what works in television into niches that could be viable with a global audience. It's the old benefit of the internet: what's impossible given a limited domestic audience and advertising market could be a great business online.

If it's shopping, then it needs to wow by location, presenter, merchandise. ShopShops is onto something big here, but there's a lot of room for it to be much better than what they are doing today. It also felt very focused on Asia when I last looked at it.

I also think there's more room in gameshows, news, sports, reality. HQ Trivia is like the lottery version of that - high dopamine, big prizes, but ultimately a bit lackluster as a long-term format. And this stuff is _all_ about retention. 

We'd love to see more takes on what consumers will be passionate about in live streaming from the phone.