Live streaming is a great way to add value to a trade show. Broadcasting live video streams allows you to reach audiences that otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. In many cases, the virtual audience may be larger than the in-person attendance. Potentially, it could be more lucrative as well. This article will look at the best live streaming solutions for trade shows.
We’re also going to talk about a number of different issues specific to broadcasting live trade show. We’ll share details about why you may want to live stream trade shows, and how to make money doing it.
Finally, we’ll dive into some important features that the best live streaming solutions all must-have. Then we’ll conclude by comparing four top video streaming platforms. Let’s dive right in.
Why you should live stream a trade show
As already mentioned, the biggest reason to live stream a trade show is to boost the size of your audience.
Some event planners fear that live streaming will decrease in-person attendance. However, the opposite is actually true. Around 30 percent of people who watch a live stream event will attend in person the following year.
Beyond increasing audience size, streaming live video supports targeting specific remote audiences. For example, if you’d like to increase the profile of your event among a certain segment of the industry, market the live stream to businesses in that segment. It’s a low barrier-to-entry, and it can rapidly grow the profile of a trade show.
Live video is a premier communication tool. For good reason: video is intensely data-rich. Live video adds a unique level of connection. According to MarketingWeek says that live streaming “is key to building authenticity.” Staying on the cutting edge of technology ensures continued relevancy.
Revenue generation and remote audiences
Another benefit of developing larger audiences is the potential for greater revenue. Trade shows already monetize in a variety of ways, through sponsorships, ticket sales, and advertising. Live streaming and VOD sales can be a good way to diversify these income streams.
By 2021, the live streaming industry as a whole could reach $70.05 billion. Add to this that 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching on live video. That’s a powerful argument that live streaming could be a major potential revenue stream for trade shows.
Important features of the best live streaming solutions for trade shows
One of the key elements in any live stream is an Online Video Platform, or OVP. An OVP provides services and tools for online live streaming and video-on-demand.
Let’s pivot now and look at the features of the best live streaming solutions. We are going to highlight three specifically:
Trade shows generally sell tickets at the door. While some choose to provide free live stream access, most want to monetize their stream as well. To do this, the best live streaming solutions generally use three models: ads, subscription, or pay-per-view.
Look for a live streaming solution that supports the monetization model you choose.
63 percent of live stream viewers in 2017 cited buffering issues as the most serious issue they experience. That number is actually an increase from the previous year.
This points towards the importance of using a live streaming CDN, or Content Delivery Network. A CDN, such as Akamai, for instance, helps speed delivery of live streams to viewers. Make sure that whatever live streaming solution you select uses a top-tier CDN to minimize buffering problems.
Businesses, especially, need to be working with a secure online video platform. With trade shows, there can be millions of dollars on the line. Piracy and unauthorized viewing of content can be a serious problem.
The best live streaming solutions offer a number of different features to protect your streams. Look especially for “Geographic” and “Referrer” restrictions. These help you lock down streams so only viewers in specified countries and on specified websites can view your stream.
Event planners can’t mess around. If there is a technical issue, it needs to be fixed right away. That’s why real 24/7 support is essential. With major corporations that provide a range of OTT services, finding a video engineer to speak with on the phone can be a long process. Video-focused live streaming platforms will be able to provide help, fast, in the event of any problems.
Comparing best live streaming solutions
Brightcove is an online video platform targeted at large businesses. They offer on-demand and live streaming video solutions. Their tools mainly focus on marketing. They focus on OTT video services and media businesses and provide a range of professional services to help get up and running.
Brightcove’s OTT services are divided into a number of discrete categories. These include their Player, OTT Flow, Video Marketing Suite, and a few others. Their Video Cloud service is their live streaming and hosting platform.
Video cloud includes an all-screen video player, analytics platforms, and supports monetization via several methods. Key features include:
- Server-side ad insertion
- Social publishing tools
- Single sign-on for corporate users
- Analytics platform
Brightcove plans are available starting at $199 per month. This basic plan includes video portals, social media tools, CRM integrations, and viewer analytics. The $499 mid-tier plan adds security features, single sign-on, and internal video tools. A custom plan is also available for bigger customers.
The next of the best live streaming solutions we’ll look at here is Dacast. Dacast is a “Streaming as a Service” platform that aims to have high-end features and easy streaming available to any business or organization.
- We offer access to Akamai CDN at a very competitive price
- Geographic and referrer restrictions, stream password protection.
- Real 24/7 customer support with phone support for Scale plans and above
- video API
Dacast plans begin at $39 per month with 1.2 TB / year of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage. The second-tier “Scale” plan starts at $188 per month and includes 24 TB / year of bandwidth, 1 TB of storage, API access, full monetization options, and phone support. For higher streaming needs, custom plans are available and can be tailored to your needs.
Dacast also offers event pricing, which may be ideal for organizations who’d rather not sign a contract and want to purchase bandwidth separately to live stream an event. It offers 6 TB of bandwidth upfront, 50 GB of storage, and costs just $63 per month (or $750/year).
The third of the best live streaming solutions we’ll examine here is Kaltura, which is based in New York City. Their video streaming solution is mostly focused on major institutional users, such as Enterprise businesses and universities.
The Kaltura cloud-based video platform includes basic live streaming and video-on-demand functionality. Their platform is based on an interesting open-source model with various plugins and customizations available. This makes for a highly customizable streaming solution that users can alter to fit their needs. However, Kaltura is also a complex platform, which may not be ideal for all users.
- Monetization options include advertising, subscriptions, and pay-per-view.
- Geographic and referrer restrictions.
- Kaltura’s tech support exists via an online ticket-based system.
- API access
Kaltura’s pricing is complex. Details vary depending on exactly which services and tools you need. The VPaaS (Video Platform as a Service) cloud hosting service bills monthly based on bandwidth usage and other factors. Pricing starts at $1,000 per month and goes up from there.
Livestream was founded in 2007 and is based in New York. After many years of independent operation, Livestream was acquired by Vimeo in late 2017.
Major features of the Livestream platform that are important to trade shows include:
- Referrer and geographic restrictions are available on the Enterprise and Custom plans.
- Monetization options are available only to users on the Enterprise plan or Custom plans.
- Livestream customer support is available 24/7 via phone to users on the Premium plan or higher.
The most basic Livestream plan costs $42 per month. The second tier Premium plan, at $199 per month, adds features like social streaming, embedding, and analytics. Unfortunately, these plans lack some important business features like custom branding. The Enterprise plan, at $799 per month, adds most of these more advanced features.
Custom plans, which include full API access, are also available with custom pricing.
Live streaming trade shows is a great idea. Hopefully, this article has helped you learn about how and why to stream, and what the best live streaming solutions are to get started.
We love to hear from our readers, so sound off in the comment section if you have any questions or comments. For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.
Dacast helps a wide range of businesses do successful live streaming. If you’d like to try out our streaming solution, you can check out how our live streaming video platform could boost your business with our 30-day free trial (no credit card required).
Thanks for reading, and happy streaming!
By Max Wilbert.