When you set out to live stream an event, it’s easy to get caught off guard when it comes to expenses. After all, live streaming can add significant, unforeseen costs to broadcasting a show or event. Besides staffing, cameras, and other equipment, you’ll also need to budget for a streaming solution like Dacast to host your broadcast.
However, live streaming also offers new opportunities for generating revenue that would otherwise be unavailable. Below are some of the main costs of live streaming, as well as the top ways to generate income from video streaming to cover those costs.
Costs of Live Streaming
Live streaming can really take a hit on your wallet, depending on your needs and the size of your event. Here are some of the major costs you can expect.
Cameras and Operators
Obviously, cameras are essential for video live streaming. Renting a production-quality video camera and operator for a single, day-long event can easily cost $500-$2500 or more, depending on various factors.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can live stream with a $50 webcam or your cell phone, but this sacrifices a significant amount of quality. A good middle ground would be to use a dedicated HD camcorder or DSLR. This is about as simple as you should go to achieve good-quality live streams.
Live Switching and Streaming Hardware
If you need live-switching between different camera feeds, microphones, slides, and other sources during your event, this can raise your expenses. Renting this equipment and hiring an operator is similar to the cost of an additional camera operator.
Streaming hardware can also be expensive, especially if you have to rent or buy a hardware streaming device. For modest productions, a powerful laptop with free broadcasting software can be enough to get your stream online and save you money.
Depending on how many viewers you expect, your bandwidth needs will vary. For example, 1000 viewers tuning in for one hour to a stream broadcasting at 1,000 kbps will consume something like 500 GB of bandwidth.
Dacast offers some of the most competitive pricing in the live streaming business, with 100 GB of bandwidth starting at $25 per month and 2,000 GB of bandwidth for $165 per month. These prices decline if you pay for an annual subscription.
Effective live streaming requires a good understanding of a great many technical issues, including bit rates, latency, H.264 video encoding, single vs. multi-bitrate encoding workflows, and delivery to a variety of client devices. Dacast’s streaming-as-a-service model outsources most of these difficulties to the professionals, allowing you to focus on the event itself.
Post Production, Editing, and Technical Support
When your event ends, the bills may keep coming. Additional costs can include post-production and editing to package your video for distribution after the event has taken place, which can easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the length of your recording and the complexity of the edits required. Complex tasks like animation and compositing will cost more as well.
11 Ways to Generate Revenue From Live Streams
1. Sell (and Rent Out) the Recording
One simple way to generate revenue is to sell the recording of your event, conference, or other broadcasts after the fact. This can generate significant income, as long as there are enough people who either missed the broadcast or want to own the content. Platforms for selling and renting videos are quite common these days, and Dacast features integrated tools to monetize your videos after the live stream has taken place.
2. Live Pay-Per-View Access
Charging viewers a simple pay-per-view fee for accessing your live stream is another simple, straightforward method for bringing in some money. If you’re live streaming via Dacast, it’s simple to set a price for your live stream and collect payments from viewers right in the video player window.
3. Insert Advertising
The traditional way to make money off live broadcasts is by inserting advertisements into the stream. This can be done with the Dacast API, while other live streaming providers offer different options. However, it is our experience that ads are usually an inferior revenue generator.
4. Ongoing Subscriptions to Ongoing Content
An alternative to one-time pay-per-view access to your content is selling a subscription to ongoing content. Obviously, this option is only effective for those producing and broadcasting content on a regular basis, but it can bring in steady cash flow if your audience is invested.
5. Sponsorship from Businesses
Finding businesses who are willing to sponsor your event or broadcast can be a great way to amass funding, especially if your live stream targets a certain location, industry, or niche.
6. Charge for Access to the Event
How about a revenue model that’s unrelated to live streaming: charging for access to the event that you’re live streaming. Simple and effective, this can be combined with other options for larger total revenues.
7. Re-Broadcast the Sessions Live
When you’ve put a great deal of time, energy, and resources into a single live event, it can be a let down when the original broadcast doesn’t meet all your goals. One way to leverage your existing content is to re-broadcast it live: not on-demand, but rather during a single window of access, as if the event were happening live once again. This can be a good method to generate buzz and drive more sales without having to put on a whole other event.
8. Offer Discounts and Promotions
As usual in sales, coupons and discounts can drive more sales than would otherwise take place. Dacast and most other live streaming providers allow you to generate coupon codes with customized rebates that can be redeemed as often or as rarely as you’d like.
9. Syndicate Your Live Content
Don’t settle for your live stream only being distributed on one channel or website. A great way to generate further revenue is to negotiate deals with partner businesses and organizations whereby you receive a licensing fee and they receive the right to re-broadcast your live stream.
10. Sell Recorded Content to Other Broadcasters
An alternative to syndicating live content is selling the recordings of previously broadcast content to other distributors. Again, this can be an effective revenue generator, as many TV stations, radio stations, and other media distributors are always on the lookout for material to rebroadcast.
11. Offer Group Discounts to Organizations
Offer group discounts to those who purchase institutional or group subscriptions, video rentals or purchases, or pay-per-view streaming to your video content. Depending on what your audience is, you may be able to reach large institutions (schools, churches, non-profits, businesses, universities, agencies, etc.) in this manner and boost sales.