For many businesses and organizations, live video streams are often used to broadcast short series or one-time events. This could include concerts, business conferences, product announcements, a social Q&A, or any other event that has a beginning and end.
However, as people continue to “cut the cord” on cable, the demand for continuous online live streams becomes greater.
That’s why many businesses and organizations are turning to linear video production, which is more commonly known as 24/7 live streaming.
In this post, we’re going to discuss what exactly over-the-top (OTT) live streaming is and the five steps for launching a successful 24/7 live stream. We will touch upon choosing an online video platform, required equipment, video monetization, and more.
Table of Contents
- Cutting the Cords on Cable: The Birth of OTT Linear Streaming
- How to Do a 24/7 Live Stream in 5 Steps
- Choose the Best Online Video Platform
- Consider Bandwidth Costs
- Explore Equipment Requirements and Redundancy
- Plan and Produce Video Content
- Monetize Your 24-Hour Live Stream
Cutting the Cords on Cable: The Birth of OTT Linear Streaming
Over 33 million U.S. households have cut the cord on their cable subscriptions and are opting for online video instead. Despite the rise in cord-cutting, the demand for linear video is still alive since some people still want to watch “regular” TV channels without having to select the content each time around.
Last year, 2.38 billion people watched streaming or downloaded online video across all devices, and more than 75% of them used a mobile device.
As content distribution moves online, live linear streaming is becoming more important. In fact, it’s predicted that live linear streaming will be more popular than TV in 2022.
This new distribution model is a blessing for content producers. In the past, live linear was restricted to a few large businesses and public television. Now, it’s possible to launch a live linear 24/7 stream with a reasonable budget and a small complement of staff.
With modern technology, it is relatively simple to operate an OTT linear broadcast. As long as you have enough content, it’s perfectly reasonable for a single person to administrate a live linear channel.
How to Do a 24/7 Live Stream in 5 Steps
Let’s look at a few of the necessities for this process. In particular, we’ll review how to bypass common issues and ensure a smooth 24/7 stream for your viewers.
1. Choose the Best Online Video Platform
In order to launch a 24/7 live stream, you first need an online video platform or OVP for short.
Since not all OVPs support 24/7 live streaming or any live broadcasting at all, you’re going to want to make sure that you choose a plan from a solution that offers this support.
Another important consideration is 24/7 customer support. A surprising number of online video platforms only offer tech support during business hours. For obvious reasons, this isn’t sufficient for a 24/7 live channel broadcaster.
With live linear streaming, you can experience problems at any hour of the day. To bypass this issue, choose an OVP with 24/7 support to ensure help is there when you need it.
2. Consider Bandwidth Costs
24-hour live streaming can use up a great deal of bandwidth quickly. Therefore, it’s important to consider the video bandwidth costs of your chosen OVP.
Some streaming solutions offer bandwidth only at very high prices. Others include unlimited bandwidth but at high prices. This can make the ultimate cost higher than a platform with competitive per-GB pricing.
Look for a video host that is very inclusive in terms of bandwidth or that offers discounts when you buy bandwidth in bulk.
3. Explore Equipment Requirements and Redundancy
You also want to make sure your computer and all of the required live broadcasting software are up to date before starting a stream. A computer crashing or requiring a shutdown for software updates is generally unacceptable in a 24/7 production environment.
Given these uptime requirements, 24/7 linear broadcasters should plan on purchasing professional-grade equipment, including hardware encoders. This type of equipment is manufactured with higher tolerances and is suited for 24/7 streaming.
We also recommend that you consider implementing redundancy within your system.
For example, if a camera or encoder fails, you should have a backup already configured and ready to go. This will enable your tech team to quickly make any necessary changes (swapping cables, etc.) and ensure minimal disruption to your stream.
You can learn more about this in our guide to live streaming equipment.
Linear live streaming can use up a great deal of bandwidth quickly. Therefore, it’s important to consider the bandwidth costs of your chosen OVP. Some streaming solutions offer bandwidth only at very high prices. Others include unlimited bandwidth but at high prices. This can make the ultimate live streaming pricing costs higher than a platform with competitive per-GB pricing.
4. Plan and Produce Video Content for Linear Live Streaming
The key element of any video project is, of course, the content itself. In order to create high-quality content for your audience, this is something you’ll want to plan ahead of time.
There are two approaches to content for linear live streaming.
- Broadcast live video from a studio or other location (e.g., live TV news, talk shows, or sports)
- Broadcast previously recorded video on your linear live channel (e.g., most entertainment, reruns, etc.)
Either of these approaches is great. Live content can be engaging, but it also requires more upfront work and planning. Previously recorded content is easier to broadcast. Modern live streaming allows you to just queue up an MP4 file and let it play.
In reality, most broadcasters chose a mixture of these two approaches. They’ll broadcast live from important events and during “prime time” hours. Then, they’ll fill the remaining time with pre-recorded content, re-runs, etc.
It’s important to emphasize how easy pre-recorded content makes it to stream 24/7. At the simplest, you could launch your own linear live channel with just an online video platform.
Using a platform like Dacast, you can launch 24/7 live streaming using channel playlists to queue up content that you already have pre-recorded with minimal effort. If you already have access to a substantial content library, you can launch a live linear channel within minutes—literally.
5. Monetize Your 24-Hour Live Stream Linear Channel
In terms of video monetization, there are several ways to generate revenue from your 24/7 stream.
The best way to monetize your 24/7 stream would be with an ad-based video on demand. Advertising is driving major revenue for various streaming media publishers. This is the least complicated route to go.
Each of these options can be lucrative, especially if your continuous live channel includes streaming popular live events.
As we’ve discussed, launching a 24/7 live streaming channel is now easier than ever before. With modern streaming technologies, it’s possible to launch a professional-grade 24/7 stream within a reasonable budget.
Anyone with a bit of technical knowledge or willingness to learn can begin broadcasting in no time. Since this industry is still on the rise, the opportunities are huge, whether in education, entertainment, sports, politics, news, and beyond.
If you’re ready for a professional-grade online video hosting platform for your 24/7 stream, we think Dacast is a great option to try. We offer all of the features you need for a professional broadcasting experience.
Luckily, you don’t have to take our word for it. Take advantage of our 30-day free trial to test all of our powerful features. Sign up today to start your free trial. No credit card required.
Do you have questions or comments about any of the topics introduced in this article? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.
And please reach out if we can help you plan and launch your linear live streaming channel. For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, you can also join our LinkedIn group.