But now the mobile market is mature enough for a sea change.
"Smartphones provide all the critical pieces for these new services.
We’ve finally hit a tipping point where live streaming makes sense, both as a killer feature on a platform like Twitter, but also as a standalone business like You Now. "The reason is the rise of i OS and Android," says Emmett Shear, the CEO of Twitch.
He tried and failed to launch a general purpose live streaming service with Justin. Eventually he pivoted into gaming, a niche where being tied to a desktop computer made sense.
This growth is part of a broader boom in live streaming services.
Watching a You Now stream can be an overwhelming experience.
The comments on popular videos fly by far too quickly for the broadcaster to follow.
He works behind the counter at a deli in Brooklyn, a small shop that does a brisk business in snacks, coffee, and cigarettes. I started to act like people were there watching, and that’s when they showed up.” Abuhamdeh’s routine was subtle.
In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera.