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Thursday’s chart previews another of GWI’s Trends for 2016, showing why live streaming will become more popular in the year ahead.

Currently, it’s only tiny minorities of consumers who are using live-streaming apps; according to GWI’s data, about 1.5% globally are engaging with Meerkat and just under 2% are using Periscope. Numbers remain low in all of the 34 markets we survey and, while both apps have seen growth in recent quarters, it’s hardly the type of dramatic increase that we might expect given the high-profile coverage that they have been receiving.

Dig a little deeper, though, and the potential of these apps is not hard to see. Firstly, watching a video consistently ranks among the top activities on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Secondly, the arrival of ad-blocking on mobile means that native advertising will become more important in terms of engaging consumers.

Look specifically at young mobile users and 40% of them say they are watching native forms of video on their smartphone more frequently than they were a year ago. And their preferences when it comes to live broadcasts offer fertile ground for brands. Most popular of all are broadcasts of funny/entertaining content, which over half of mobile users aged 16-34 say they are interested in watching. Following behind are live broadcasts of breaking news stories on just over 40% and music concerts on 38%. Smaller but still important groups express interest in watching videos broadcast by brands (26%), celebrities (21%) or vloggers (19%).

It’s among these audiences in particular that brands could hope to carve out an important presence on smartphones despite the inevitable rise of mobile ad-blockers. Meerkat and Periscope might be highly niche names at the moment, but not for long.

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