I’m always encouraging businesses to broadcast live streaming video primarily on their websites. There are a lot of advantages to this, which we’ve covered in detail in the past. However, the full picture of potential use-cases for streaming solutions is not always so clear. In particular, many businesses may not yet know how to maximize their success with a simulcast stream.
In this blog post, I’ll focus on simulcast streaming for live online video broadcasting. First, we’ll look at what simulcast streaming is and how it works. Then, we’ll share three ways to do a successful simulcast stream. We’ll also review the main pros and cons of each method. Let’s jump right in.
What is Simulcast Streaming?
The term simulcast is a portmanteau, which refers to a combination of two words: simultaneous and broadcast. Specifically, it describes simultaneously broadcasting a transmission via multiple delivery channels. In fact, the term simulcast originally comes from the world of radio. When a radio broadcast was transmitted on several stations simultaneously, it was referred to as a simulcast.
In the context of live online video, simulcast streaming refers to streaming live on multiple different distribution platforms at once. For example, you may want to simulcast on your own website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Twitch, Periscope, and beyond. This is all possible today, and it offers some great benefits for businesses.
Why Live Stream to Multiple Locations?
Simply put, simulcast streaming allows you to maximize your audience. As I’ve mentioned, there are huge advantages to live streaming on your website. You get the SEO benefits, you maintain all content rights, and the advantages go on. However, there are also benefits to streaming on social platforms. Unsurprisingly, the main benefit is attracting a large audience.
And research shows that viewers love watching videos on social media, too. On social platforms, people watch live streaming videos an average of three times longer than video-on-demand. Relatedly, eighty-two percent of viewers say they prefer seeing a live stream over a brand’s social posts. And video content on social media produces 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.
The good news? Simulcasting allows you to combine the benefits of both of these approaches.
3 Ways to Start Doing Simulcast Streams
So we’ve reviewed what simulcast streaming is. We’ve also discussed the benefits of simulcast streaming. Next, let’s talk about three ways to get started with simulcasting.
1. Switchboard Live for Seamless Simulcast Streaming (The Best Option)
The first method—and the best approach overall—is to use a service like Switchboard Live. Switchboard Live is a simulcasting service that allows you to effortlessly stream your live video across multiple platforms.
Switchboard Live has many advantages. First, it’s fast. Just connect all your accounts, and then stream directly to Switchboard to automatically syndicate the stream across multiple platforms.
There is one big differentiator for Switchboard Live, which revolves around the issue of Facebook. Specifically, Facebook does not allow you to live stream to multiple platforms using the technical option that we describe below. Switchboard Live bypasses this restriction, however, allowing true native multicasting including to Facebook Live.
Want to get started with a simulcast stream using Switchboard Live? The simplest way is to use a professional online video platform that already integrates with this service: such as Dacast.
2. How to Simulcast Stream Using Share Codes (The Easiest Option)
Do you want a method that’s simpler, faster, and easier to use? The simple option that we recommend is to use a live stream share code. This is an option when you’re using a professional online video platform like Dacast.
Do note that a share code isn’t true multi-platform streaming. Instead, it’s based on sharing a simple link on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms. A thumbnail will display, and when the user clicks or taps, the video content opens in a new tab.
However, this method does have some significant advantages around monetization and password protection. Neither Facebook nor YouTube offers very powerful monetization tools. For example, Facebook’s advertising monetization has been described as bringing in “scant revenue.” And a provocative Bloomberg article wrote that “success on YouTube still means a life of poverty.”
By using a share code, you bypass some of these monetization issues. For example, you can use your own paywall for pay-per-view or subscriptions. Alternatively, you could implement advertising monetization. The share code method from a platform like Dacast has some other benefits as well. For example, Facebook live streams are limited to a 4-hour duration per stream. The Dacast share code bypasses this issue, allowing 24/7 linear live streaming.
How to Use the Share Code Method
The Dacast online video platform makes it easy to share your live streams and VODs to social networks via a share code. To use this method, simply visit the “publish settings” for your live stream. Then look for the Facebook share code on this page.
Once you find it, copy this code. Next, go to your Facebook page or wall. Paste this code, and the title and a splash screen of your video content will appear. From there, you can add any text you want. Then click ‘post’, and users will be able to click the play button. This will launch the live stream or video in a new tab.
3. Multi-Destination Streaming at the Encoder Level (The Technical Option)
Lastly, there is one additional simulcast streaming option to discuss here. This option is multi-destination streaming at the encoder level. This is a more technical solution, but it is the best option for many different types of users. You can use this same method to stream to Dacast and Twitch, YouTube, Periscope, and other platforms.
So how does this method work? Essentially, it involves setting up multiple stream destinations in your encoder settings. This is very easy when you’re using a software encoder like Wirecast, VidBlasterX, or vMix. Check out the above links for details on how to do this.
However, there are two main drawbacks to this method. First, it requires more upload bandwidth, since you’re sending out multiple copies of the same stream. Secondly, this method does not allow multi-destination streaming if you’re streaming to Facebook. As I mentioned above, Facebook does not currently allow streamers to broadcast to multiple platforms simultaneously. The best way to bypass this limitation is to use Switchboard Live, as described in option #1 above.
Live streaming is incredibly popular today. Even compared to a year ago, 47% of live streaming video viewers are watching more live videos. And simulcasting is a great way to ensure your streams reach as large an audience as possible. By doing a simulcast stream, you ensure that you’re reaching your social audience, website viewers, etc. In other words, you’re not excluding any potential viewers. And by using a service like Dacast that integrates with Switchboard Live, this process is simple.
If you’re in the market for a streaming solution, you should consider Dacast. We include a built-in paywall, video advertising tools, analytics, security options, and much more. Feel free to contact our support team directly to discuss your specific needs. We’re here to help, and we can walk you through any technical questions you may have.
We also offer a 30-day free trial of Dacast, with no credit card required. It’s a risk-free way to test out our platform today. If you’re interested in trying the platform for yourself, click here:
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