How to Start Your Own Live Streaming Service and Become a Reseller
Over the past decade, live streaming has risen from relative obscurity to the status of a cultural phenomenon. Likewise, broadcasting live video content via a live streaming service is becoming increasingly popular for businesses and individuals alike.
In the past, only a few people were broadcasting live video via the internet, and most of those were major corporations. Today, however, live video has hit the mainstream. Most major events across multiple industries are live-streamed. More and more individuals opt to stream live video from their websites via an online video platform like Dacast. From concerts to sports, from education to corporate meetings, you can find it all online.
With free smartphone apps, anyone can stream online. However, many organizations are now seeking a more professional way to broadcast live content. Some of these organizations include:
- Small and medium-sized businesses
- Teams and sports organizations
- Community groups
- Faith-based organizations
Here at Dacast, we’ve witnessed all of these groups increasingly take advantage of broadcasting live content via our live streaming service. These groups–and individuals– cite benefits of reaching broader audiences world-wide and generating revenue, to name only two.
In this essay, we’ll focus on one specific segment of streaming solutions from the live streaming industry: value-added reselling.
What is reselling?
In the context of a live streaming service, reselling involves first purchasing a live streaming video hosting plan. Broadcasters can then sell chunks of that plan to others. This approach works a bit like a co-op. Broadcasters buy in bulk from a live streaming server and then divide up that access individually.
Now let’s take a look at a more concrete example of this abstract concept.
Let’s say that you run a small business. Your business provides video recording services to others in the community. You have a team of professional video technicians whom your customers can hire to record events. Then, after the event, you provide additional services, for example producing DVDs and cutting custom edits.
For a small-scale business like this, adding live streaming to its offerings can be a major selling point. By purchasing a hosting plan from a live video streaming service at a bulk rate, the company can sub-divide the plan and offer the same service to their customers at a lower price. This provides a unique selling point in a crowded marketplace. In particular, this reselling model can help a business turn a profit. We call this concept “value-added reselling.”
Which businesses can benefit from live streaming value-added reselling?
Beyond video service companies, there are many other organizations that can benefit from reselling.
For example, a large religious organization can purchase a dedicated streaming plan from a live streaming service like Dacast. From there, the organization can divide access to the plan between its different congregations. The congregations can pay according to the amount of bandwidth they use, or based on their budget. If the organization’s overall budget can support it, it can even provide this service to its congregations free of charge.
You can apply similar models to a whole range of businesses and organizations.
- News and political organizations can buy in bulk and then sell to local affiliates at discount rates.
- Businesses, especially franchises, may benefit from buying one master plan and reselling functionality to individual locations or offices.
- Universities and schools can purchase one master live streaming plan. Individual departments then pay for their share from their own budgets. Or, they can use it as a teaching tool for students.
- Sporting leagues are a great fit for the reselling model. A league can purchase the live streaming service access, then resell to individual teams. Everyone saves money, and the centralized nature of the plan ensures consistent branding and distribution.
- Confederations and associations—any group with chapters or other sub-divisions—can also use the reseller model in the ways described above.
Note: This is just a brief survey. If you’re part of another type of organization that’s considering reselling—or already doing it—let us know! We love to hear and share stories about how different industries use this tool. You can share your feedback and thoughts in the comment section below.
The benefits of reselling via a live streaming service
We’ve discussed some of the benefits of reselling in general, but let’s take a closer look at the details. Here are some other reasons why reselling may make sense for your organization.
1. Allows Small Groups to Reach Big Audiences
Live streaming is in high demand. It’s a popular way of reaching people, and it generates a lot of buzz. As we’ve written before live streaming reselling can build brand awareness and give a sense of immediacy to your content. All that is invaluable for fostering excitement among your viewership. With reselling, you can also offer a low-price service to help small organizations expand their audience.
2. Provides a White-Label Service (or Customized Branding)
Buying services from a professional live video streaming solution like Dacast means that your content won’t be branded. Compare this to free social streaming platforms like YouTube Live or Facebook Live. These services all insert their own corporate branding into your content, which detracts from your content and affords you little control over branding your viewers see.
Instead of advertising for someone else, as a reseller, you can choose to insert your own branding on broadcasts. You also ensure that you retain all the rights to your content. This is a great way to ensure consistent representation for your business or product. Reselling of this nature is ideal for leagues, businesses, confederations, franchises, and so on.
3. Offers Access to Advanced Features
Using a dedicated live streaming service like Dacast has many advantages. Advanced features often include:
- Video transcoding services
- Video monetization via pay-per-view, subscriptions, or advertising
- Password protection and IP / referer restrictions to ensure your content is only available to your selected audience
- Complex analytics and data on users
- Customizable video players
4. Gives Access to More Bandwidth
Compared to streaming as a lone entity, as a reseller, you can afford more bandwidth. Prices are lower in bulk, which means you can reach more people at once. You can also send higher-quality footage while keeping costs low. Both are major advantages, especially if your budget is tight.
5. Saves Money
One of the biggest benefits of reselling is cost savings. Compared to purchasing a single plan, buying in bulk saves money. The economy of scale drives down per-GB pricing as the plan grows larger. This is especially true for live streaming bandwidth, as mentioned above. Live streaming costs are falling overall, but resellers gain the ability to offer even more affordable live streaming pricing plans to customers.
6. Generates Income
Not only will you save by buying in bulk, but you can also actually make money by reselling.
Offering the ability to live stream content to your customers and affiliates can be a major draw. By pricing at a level that’s attractive for them and lucrative for you, it’s possible to create a sizable new income stream. This is especially true when you can offer the features of a professional-grade platform through an API. Dacast, for example, offers both a video content management API along with a video API.
7. Cultivates a Professional Media Presence
Here’s our final perk we’ll cover in this article. This isn’t the only other benefit of being a reseller, but it’s a significant one!
Offering live streaming helps you to present yourself as a professional business. Even though live streaming is easier than ever, it still appears highly advanced. This is probably because it makes people think of television broadcasting. People tend to admire and respect organizations that live stream. Any expert in marketing and social science will tell you that this perception is highly valuable.
How to develop your own live streaming platform
So, how do you actually get started with reselling live streaming functionality?
First, there are two ways to go. If you’re after a simple solution, you can use the live streaming service’s built-in management system. This straightforward approach allows you to add users and allocate certain amounts of bandwidth to each.
To live stream, these users simply log into the online video platform. Then they go through a very simple process of creating a live-streaming channel. This involves a few clicks and a small number of fields. All that’s left is to connect their encoding software to the live streaming service. This entails simply entering a unique username, password, and URL assigned in the online platform.
A user with even a modicum of experience can set up a stream in 10 minutes or less.
Advantages of using your host’s live-streaming platform
This more simple method has a few advantages. Mostly, it’s easy and accessible to get up and running. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t allow you to use custom branding. Your buyers will always know that you’re simply reselling them a portion of a larger subscription, and a few features will be unavailable.
Building your own live streaming platform around an API
The second method revolves around a video API. For those who aren’t familiar with this term, an API is an “Application Programming Interface.” Essentially, it’s a way to interact with the nuts and bolts of a complex system, like a live streaming service. API technology underlies and connects many of the tools we use in the modern world.
Think of an API like a standardized language. It allows anyone to build their own applications that leverage the power of the API-system. For example, the Instagram API enables people to build apps that interface with the platform. These allow for sharing, audience management, and advertising.
In the case of a live streaming service, an API can enable access to many different features, such as:
- Secure video upload and streaming
- Changing descriptions, tags, and titles
- Settings for privacy, monetization, and subscriptions
- Integration with existing broadcast systems
In short, a complete live streaming API can essentially replicate the entire video streaming and hosting service. This brings us to the essential element of being a white-label live streaming reseller. Using the API, you can create your own service that provides all the essential features for live streaming to your audience.
The fact that this reselling is based on another platform is completely transparent to the users. They’ll only see your service. You can resell live streaming as either a white-label service, or you can opt to include your own branding. The ability to use uniforms, custom branding across all users is valuable. Franchises, leagues, and other organizations with chapters or divisions can make use of this feature especially.
With that context in mind, let’s turn now to a discussion of how to actually begin to use an API.
Getting Started with the API
To create your own API-based live streaming platform, you’ll need to do some coding. Even though API code is quite simple, it’s probably best to hire an expert for this step.
This task involves creating a web application that allows users to log in. From there, you’ll need to create a basic user interface. This can essentially replicate the GUI (graphical user interface) of the live streaming service. You’ll need buttons and descriptions to help users start a stream, choose monetization options, connect their encoder, and so on. You can implement all of this using API calls to fetch relevant data from the live streaming host.
As a reseller, this approach is quite ideal. It allows you to use all the functionality of a dedicated live streaming service, without having to build the infrastructure yourself. Users gain the benefits of a dedicated platform with advanced features, such as those mentioned earlier. All you have to do is build an interface and let the API handle the rest!
What else do you need to get started?
Now you know the benefits of being a reseller. You also know about the two different options when it comes to implementing a platform. But what sort of resources does it actually take to get started? Here are a few different things to consider.
1. The basics
For basic reselling, you don’t need much. All you really need is an account with a video live streaming service. Beyond that, you’ll need to make your own calculations as to the pricing model that makes sense for you. You’ll also need to provide some level of technical support and assistance to your customers.
However, if you take the API route, you’ll need a few more things. These components include:
2. Some technical capacity
Becoming a live streaming reseller requires some skills with programming. However, you could instead choose to hire a professional to set up your platform. Once it’s built, you won’t need extensive technical support to keep it running smoothly.
3. Basic service infrastructure
To host a live streaming platform of your own, you’ll need some level of server infrastructure. This can be pretty simple; you don’t need a whole data center. One cost-effective option is to purchase from Amazon S3 or another cloud data provider. These services are affordable, reliable, and fast.
4. Test, Test, Test
Before you offer a live streaming reseller service, you’ll want to make sure it works. We recommend extensive testing before you go live with a new service. Testing will help you isolate any bugs so you can fix them before going live and public with your service. To test API calls, you can use the sandbox available in our video content management API documentation here.
5. Sales and Marketing
Finally, you need to actually be able to make sales in order to make it as a reseller. That means you’ll need a plan. Communication, marketing, and the ability to make sales are essential. Luckily, when you resell a plan you will have a pre-existing idea of how to market those features. You’ll want to use slightly different language, but the idea is the same. All you’ll have to do is tailor the message to your community and market.
In this article, we’ve offered a preliminary introduction to the subject of becoming a reseller. As you can see from this article, it’s a somewhat complex topic. Thanks to APIs, it’s fairly easy to get started if you opt for the API-based approach. Whichever method you choose, implementing a basic reseller program is quite simple, and adding advanced features isn’t much more difficult.
Overall, we highly recommend considering this option for reselling your own content via a live streaming service, especially if you are part of a business or organization. The benefits of becoming a live streaming reseller to businesses and other organizations are considerable, as are the opportunities for customization of your product and content.
Interested to stream live video with the Dacast live streaming service? We offer a wide range of professional features at affordable prices, including China video hosting for VOD content. Click the button below to sign up for our 14-day free trial (no credit card required) today. You can sign up and start streaming live in a matter of minutes!
As always, let us know what you think in the comments. We love to hear from our readers. We’ll be monitoring responses and replying to any questions or comments you may have. Thanks for reading!
By Max Wilbert.