In our increasingly digital world, more event production companies than ever before are using live streaming. Why? Simply put, it can be powerful addition to many pro event production businesses. With a little bit of investment, you can grow your audience far beyond what a physical venue itself can handle. Given this trend toward live event broadcasts, this post focuses on the best live streaming service for event producers.
In most cases, if you’re not broadcasting your event live, you’re falling behind. We know that some event planners fear that live streaming may decrease in-person attendance. And we’re here to debunk that myth! In fact, research has found the opposite to be true! For example, 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy an event or concert ticket after watching a live video-of that event or a similar one.
In this article, first we’ll review the unique needs of event producers. Then, we’ll consider why you should consider an online video platform to stream live video of your event. Finally, we’ll wrap things up by looking at the features of the best live streaming service for event producers in more detail.
Unique needs of event producers
Did you know that live streaming audiences are still growing worldwide! In 2016, for example, 81% of internet audience members viewed more live content than they did in 2015. And that trend continues today. In general, event producers often organize extremely large events. Sometimes, however, the events are smaller. The good news is that live streaming works well–and functions the same–for events of all sizes.
When it comes to broadcasting live video streams, event producers occupy a unique position. For example, producers are working for a client, instead of planning their own events. As a result, event producers need to be able to provide as much value as possible to their clients.
As we mention above, one effective way to do just that is using a live streaming solution. By offering live streaming, your event production company can stand out from the rest of your industry. In addition, live streaming can generate an additional revenue source for all kinds of event producers.
Even better, it’s now easier than ever to add live streaming to your repertoire. With a small number of additional staff, a modest investment in equipment, and the best live streaming service, you can broadcast live events of all sizes.
Why use a streaming platform for live event broadcasts?
There are a few different ways to stream live video: (1) free consumer-grade (B2C) platforms; (2) live streaming CDN; (3) host your own live streaming server; and (4) use a pro (B2B) video streaming platform. The first three, while feasible for a small subset of broadcasts, incur significant challenges. Let’s review each approach in turn.
Free, consumer-grade platforms
First, you can just use free, consumer-grade platforms. These include basic free apps like YouTube Live, for example. However, this approach doesn’t provide much functionality for individual recreational broadcasters, let alone pro enterprises and events. You also have to contend with 2rd party branding, losing rights to your content, minimal monetization options, and no live tech support. In short, it’s not a professional approach.
Live streaming CDNs
The second option is to use a live streaming CDN, or Content Delivery Network. This approach may provide better professional functionality for tech-savvy, higher-budget operations, though it still presents some drawbacks. For one, CDN pricing is highly complex. In addition, these services are massive, all-purpose networks. As such, they don’t have great functionality and support around live streaming and online video. Finally, you still need to know how to host your live content yourself, even if you contract a CDN service.
Your own live streaming server
The third option is to roll your own live streaming server. Realistically, this isn’t a good option for most users, either. Having to purchase, deploy, and maintain a server (or more than one, for good performance) costs a great deal of time and money. More, it represents a great deal of technical debt for your organization. For event producers, you want to be able to focus on providing a high-quality event for your audience, both live and remote, rather than spending all your time and budget on the technical setup.
**Pro, business-grade platforms
The final (and, we think, best) option is to use a pro (B2B) video streaming platform. A video platform for agencies, in particular, provides a wide range of tools for uploading, managing, and monetizing online video. These tools go well-beyond the offers of a CDN. Furthermore, pricing is usually much simpler and more competitive with pro OVPs (online video platforms).
Additionally, a top-tier OVP should allow you to distribute content via a global CDN. This means you get premium content delivery at discounted bandwidth prices. The bottom line: you get all the advantages, and none of the drawbacks, with a pro streaming platform!
High-quality live streaming and video-on-demand
One of the benefits of using a live streaming service is access to high-quality live streaming and video-on-demand. A wide number of factors determine the quality of a live stream. These factors include:
- The quality of your video cameras and the video feed they produce
- A powerful live stream encoding software or hardware
- The best encoding software settings for streaming live video
- Using one of the best live streaming service options to ensure excellent content delivery
- A sufficient amount of bandwidth
We written in related posts about the reality of live stream content fails. In particular, keep in mind that viewers are likely to blame you for live stream issues—even if the culprit is their own slow internet connection.
It’s not fair, but it’s true.
With a pro streaming platform, however, you can take steps to partially mitigate this issue. Specifically, you can do multi-bitrate streaming.
For context, by late 2017 more than 58 percent of video plays globally were on mobile devices. That figure rose to about 60 percent by mid-2018. With mobile an increasingly important part of online video today, viewers have all sorts of different connection speeds and signal strengths. This makes multi-bitrate streaming especially important.
We’ve written about this in detail in the past, if you’re interested in reading more specifics on multi-bitrate streaming.
Features to consider when choosing the best live streaming service
Now, let’s transition and take a look at specific features to consider when choosing the best live streaming service. Below, we’ll review four different categories of key features. These features include:
- Content security
- Monetization and analytics
- 24/7 live customer support
- Top-tier live streaming CDN
Of course, these aren’t the only features that matter when it comes to choosing the best live streaming service provider. Nonetheless, they are some important ones for event producers, no matter what your sector.
1. Content Security
By 2021, experts predict that the costs of cybercrime could reach $6 trillion. If you’re planning to stream music or sports, you may already know about this issue. The bottom line? To avoid costly and embarrassing problems, you need to secure your live streams.
You can add security measures to your live broadcasts in a variety of ways. No matter what your events, look for a live video platform that supports the following security options:
- Geographic restrictions, so that only users in specified countries can watch your streams
- Referrer restrictions, so that only users coming from specific websites can view the feed
- Password protection, so you can use a unique password to secure content if desired
- HTTPS content delivery, to help prevent MitM (Man in the Middle) attacks and other advanced threats
- Payment security (SSL), which is essential if you plan to do pay-per-view streaming—the topic of our next section.
2. Monetization and Analytics
After security, monetization is the next key feature in the best live streaming service for event producers. There are a few different ways to monetize content: namely, ads, pay-per-view, and subscriptions. In 2016, analysts estimated that mobile ad revenue already represented a $16 billion revenue opportunity in the US alone. One-time events like sports, to name one example, are ideal for pay-per-view monetization. Additionally, subscription-based services like Netflix are more popular than ever.
If you do plan to monetize your live streams, look for a platform that supports your desired monetization method(s). Furthermore, make sure that any payment security feature uses the SSL standard.
Finally, data analytics are also essential for event planners. You need to be able to turn around and tell a client exactly how many people watched a live stream, and where they are located. Live stream analytics allow you to do this.
3. 24/7 Live Customer Support
Now, let’s imagine that you’re preparing to run a live event. There’s only an hour until you go live, and you’re testing your live stream—and then it fails! It’s a nightmare scenario—unless you have access to rapid, 24/7 customer support.
Event producers can’t afford to wait around for slow email support, or navigate crazy phone trees. They need to be able to call a phone number and connect to an expert who can immediately help solve the problem.
All this means that you may want to avoid working directly with a CDN. Additionally, a large streaming service that’s integrated into a wide range of other services may not be ideal for event producers. Why? In short, tech support may be less available at these larger all-purpose businesses.
As an alternative, the best live streaming service will provide 24/7 support that connects you directly to experienced techs.
4. Top-tier live streaming CDN
In 2017, 63 percent of live stream viewers cited buffering issues as the most serious issue they experience. That number represented an increase from the previous year, and the trend continues today.
That’s why the best live streaming service will always partner with a CDN. A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, provides a network of servers. When a user in New York, Paris, Bogota, or Singapore visits your website to watch your live stream, the CDN will automatically deliver that content via its large network of point of presence.
A live streaming CDN network also allows you to scale your events to reach millions of viewers. When selecting a live streaming platform, make sure that it partners with a top-tier CDN, such as Akamai.
And there you have it! In this post, we’ve offered a discussion of the benefits to choosing the best live streaming service for your event production needs. We’ve also reviewed key features to look for when comparing OVPs.
If you haven’t yet tried the Dacast platform, rest assured that you can access all of the features discussed above our streaming solutions. In fact, our platform is perfect for individual event producers, as well as large or small event production companies seeking to resell live streaming services. We hope you’ll consider choosing Dacast for your next conference, concert, wedding, product launch, or other event.
If you’d like to try out our services, you can check out how our live streaming platform could boost your business with our 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’d love to help you meet your streaming goals today.
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