Wowza Survey Reveals Widespread Use of Live Streaming Video to Engage University Audiences

Two-Thirds of Universities Say Streaming Is a Top Priority, with Uses Far Beyond the Classroom; Budget, Equipment and Expertise Cited as Key Challenges

Golden, Colo.— December 9, 2015 — Wowza Media Systems™, the leading software and cloud-based services provider that continuously simplifies the complexities of high-quality video and audio streaming for organizations worldwide, today announced the results of a new benchmark survey, Live Streaming on Campus, that highlights the prominent role of live streaming video and audio at universities worldwide. The survey reveals that most universities view streaming as a top priority or strategic initiative, with nearly two-thirds live-streaming on a weekly or daily basis.

The results of the survey underscore the need for higher-education institutions to have a streaming strategy and technologies that enable staff, students and alumni to leverage the power of live video and audio across campus and beyond. The survey feedback shows that streaming isn’t just a means to get work done at institutions. It’s becoming a core method of engagement and is being used to differentiate programs and offerings from those at other institutions.

“This survey highlights how universities are live-streaming video and audio to further engage on campus and extend their reach to the larger world,” said David Stubenvoll, CEO and co-founder of Wowza Media Systems. “The connected world, real-time social communications for online collaboration and added social value for live experiences are bringing live streaming to the forefront. Higher education has been quick to adopt the technology, and our survey results suggest we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg.”

Live Streaming Goes Beyond the Classroom

While live streaming of public lectures continues to grow, data from the survey indicates that live campus streaming is rapidly moving outside the lecture hall. Universities are streaming guest speakers, concerts and athletic events daily, thanks to the increased availability and affordability of tools for live broadcasting. Universities are increasing their public presence by streaming content to the world around them, and receiving return on investment via improved brand presence and alumni relations.

“After the success of our graduation ceremonies we expanded the video streaming to include special lectures,” said Leon Liebenberg, technical specialist, University of Cape Town. “We often have dignitaries giving speeches. With limited seating often being a problem with such events, streaming has enabled a much larger audience to view these lectures.”

Evolving to Advanced Streaming Experiences

While streaming is undoubtedly becoming more pervasive at universities worldwide, lack of budget, equipment and expertise were cited as key challenges—with live streaming still being a work in progress at many schools. Numerous universities reported how they started streaming, and almost every one began simply, with no budget and a single-bitrate stream going out to a small audience. As responders got comfortable, they started transcoding for adaptive bitrate streaming, leveraging cloud workflows to scale delivery and building in live pause and replay features for rich viewer experiences. Further, as universities grow their streaming programs, learning content management system (LCMS) integration is often required to provide content authentication or a full video catalog for later viewing.

“St. Olaf College began streaming live and on-demand concerts and daily chapel services with a single camera in 2007,” said Joshua Wyatt, associate director of broadcast/media services at St. Olaf College. “Since then, we have expanded our capabilities to enhance production values, and expanded to academic lectures, special events, music recitals, and athletics. Last school year, we streamed over 400 individual events, including more than 90 concerts or recitals, 180 chapel services, and 80 athletic contests.”

Key Findings Summary

  • 66 percent of respondents said live streaming is a top priority or strategic initiative at their university.
  • 63 percent of universities reported live-streaming on a weekly or daily basis.
  • 59 percent of schools that aren’t currently live-streaming say they will begin next year.
  • The top three live-streaming use cases are speakers, concerts and events; commencements; and live sports.
  • 96 percent of live streams are managed by internal staff, as opposed to third parties.

Survey Methodology

The Live Streaming on Campus Benchmark Survey was conducted by Wowza Media Systems in October 2015, with more than 400 survey respondents from 350 universities worldwide. All participants responded to
an email invitation from Wowza Media Systems and answered questions using an online survey tool. Ninety percent of responses were from public/private colleges and universities, six percent from community colleges, and four percent from technical/vocational colleges.

Click here to request a full copy of the Wowza Live Streaming on Campus Benchmark Report.