7 Common Live Streaming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

shutterstock_544549771

  1. Not having a presence

First impressions are very important. Think abougiphy (1)t camera presence. Are you the host? If not, who? How well do they perform in front of a camera? Along with your personality presence, your physical presence should be reflective of your content and brand, too. If you are hosting a business seminar, dress professionally. If you are advertising your surf retreat for yoga moms in the Hamptons, dress like a yoga mom—we won’t judge, as long as it’s on brand.

  1. Location, location, location

After you (presumably) have an idea of the live video content you want to broadcast, you want to spend time considering how this content will look. Although sometimes overlooked in consideration of other factors, location matters. Your streaming location can be anywhere. Whether it is your home, a studio, or the great outdoors, keep your surroundings in mind, and consider how it looks to the audience watching it. Give them an interesting backdrop, or at least a neat, non-distracting one.

  1. Noise level

giphy-downsizedBefore starting your stream, check to make sure that you can be heard by your viewers. This includes both a sound check before the fact and ensuring that you have a quiet space throughout the entire broadcast. If you’re outside, is there wind or loud traffic that can interrupt your audio feed? If you’re at a café, are there steaming and brewing sounds? Are your kids going to stroll in during the broadcast like in the infamous BBC interview? The best way to prevent this is doing an audio check in the space you’re broadcasting in beforehand. In general, try not to live stream in poor weather. And make sure your door is locked or your kids are at school.

Don’t be afraid to use headphones and a professional mic, but do be afraid to use your phone mic. Having flawless audio but poor video quality negates the other and vice versa. Fuzzy, echo-y, and generally low quality audio is a turnoff for the user, and this applies twice over to video quality, which is the next mistake to be discussed.

  1. Video quality

Your live stream should not look like the Blair Witch Project. This is a given. Nobody really wants to watch pixelated, blurry, or dark video content that may or may not require a magnifying glass. Poor video quality is another way to lose your audience fast. Equipment is a big part in this equation. Among the obvious, like your camera, it is crucial to have a good encoder. It is also necessary to have the ability to stream in both SD and HD simultaneously. Not all of your viewers will have the network for HD quality, and making sure that everyone can enjoy your stream should be a priority, so select a streaming service that offers the latter.

Another overlooked condition of live streaming is lighting. Like in your Instagram photos of avocado toast, you have to have good lighting! Whether you are indoors or out, you must consider how the lighting will be on the day of your broadcast. Will there be natural light at that time? Do you have the proper lighting indoors? Will the lighting that you have cast shadows? Basically, be sure that your viewers have a clear picture of what’s going on so that they’re not left in the dark.

  1. Limited audience interaction

giphy (2)The presenter should welcome the audience and continue to make them feel welcome throughout your stream. This has been said again and again, but much like Mr. Mac, my middle school math teacher, we can stress one particular concept over and over again.  Engage! If you have a comments section, use it. On a related note, when embedding live video, do so with the comment side by side with (or under) it. If your video content is informative, take questions or run polls if possible. They are a simple way of making the viewer feel involved. Maybe it even makes them feel loved. Who knows.

Running Q&A sessions, polls, and surveys allow you to have a dialogue with your audience. This can also be beneficial to you, the streamer, to give you a good idea of audience demographics, which can in turn help you gain more viewers on top of improving your existing viewers’ experience.

  1. Inconsistency

giphy-downsized (6)Being consistent with your live streams, if they happen regularly, is a matter of credibility as well as accessibility. Your viewers want to be aware of your broadcast, and expect your stream to be there when you say it will.  Even if you live stream regularly, be ready to broadcast well before your stream is scheduled, ideally at least a half an hour before. Nobody likes a late loafer, and you certainly don’t want to be one when you have worked so hard to build up an audience.

It’s generally not a good look to be late—not only are you likely to lose your audience fast, it also reflects poorly on you. Most people don’t have the time or patience to sit around and wait for your stream to begin (unless your stream is, I don’t know, NBA playoffs or something. I don’t know sports). You can ensure that you don’t drop viewers by adding an overlay banner in case things are delayed or simply to keep your early audience in the loop. Professionalism is key.

  1. Poor connectivity

Is there anything more frustrating than poor internet connection? Well, maybe war and global poverty, but that’s a subject for another time. If it’s annoying for you, it’s twice as annoying for your viewers to be watching a stream, and then have it suddenly go out. Not having a stable internet connection basically means not having a stream, and this is actually one of the most common mistakes.

Like many things, this can be remedied by solid pre-planning, such as doing a test run. If you’re using a computer, make sure there are no unnecessary programs open and save on CPU. You can also test your internet speed. This factor is especially important if you’re going to be filming in an outside location—ask yourself how you can have reliable connectivity in that setting and be able to answer.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on 7 Common Live Streaming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The Top 5 Video Broadcasting Software for Live Events

shutterstock_321521054

So you have a live event to broadcast, and you want it to go as seamlessly as it possibly can. Who wouldn’t? But before you can share your earth-shattering event with the world, there are certain tools you need to have on hand, and these tools should have the features you need to ensure that seamless broadcast. Aside from the obvious like your cameras, mics, a streaming platform like Primcast (among other things), you should have solid encoding gear.

Now, this can be a software or hardware encoder depending on your needs or personal preference, but here we will focus on the pros and cons of the best broadcasting software out there so you can get a better picture of which is best for you, and ultimately make it easier to make the most informed decision.

Software runs on your desktop or laptop. It is often low cost, but can be on the higher end for more professional, heavy duty service. For many services, this means it can easily be upgraded. It is generally more customizable than hardware, and is able to change some features of codecs. In general, event producers should be on the lookout for software that is user-friendly but has advanced features.

The process of live streaming is streamlined with quality software. For one thing, users can use one application for multiple steps in said process, including capturing video content and publishing. At the same time, it allows the user to stream their video content to a number of different platforms. There are some functions of software encoders in particular which make for much better quality live video streaming. This can be a number of things, including simultaneous broadcasting and live camera switching. As we discuss the pros and cons of each service, take note of which features would best fulfill your requirements.

XSplit

  • Pros
    • Personal and premium versions offer superior audio codec support, full HD broadcasting, and professional level production tools
    • Premium account allows you to create up to 12 scenes
    • Can switch between scenes while broadcasting live
    • Simultaneous broadcast with a paid license—so you can stream to multiple services at the same time
    • Plugins can extend functionality, including but not limited to slideshows and playlists
    • Has some selection of built-in transitions such as wave and fade which can add video content value
    • Supports interactive flash files – the user can interact with .swf using keyboard and mouse inputs
    • Video and audio can be delayed with source delay support
    • 3D positioning
    • Skype interaction
  • Cons
    • Premium version required for commercial use
    • Free version overlays ads on your stream
    • Stream delay behind a paywall
    • Plugin needed to add text
    • 1080p limit
    • Yearly registration fee
    • Cannot preview other scenes while broadcasting
  • Operates on
    • Windows
  • Pricing
    • Limited free version
    • 12 months of Personal – $39.96
    • 12 months of Premium – $60

Wirecast

  • Pros
    • High level of user friendliness—easy to use
    • Pre-loaded professional transitions and lower thirds, with the option to add your own
    • Integrated titling tool
    • Social media integration
    • Unlimited sources—Wirecast Cam App allows input feeds from many sources, including cameras, video files, picture files, iOS devices, and your desktop
    • Easy to use chroma key for green screen effects
    • Ability to create 3D titles and live scoreboards
    • Instant replay
    • IP cameras and web streams (RTMP, MMS, HTTP)
    • Supports live switching
    • Live scoreboard overlay feature
    • Functionality can be extended via plugins
    • Can create and automate playlists
    • 3D virtual sets
    • Support for all common encoding formats
    • Recording to disk
  • Cons
    • Expensive
    • Difficult to queue or add playlist of shots
    • Can crash when editing properties of shots while broadcasting
    • Does not integrate with Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder
  • Operates on
    • Windows 7 or later
    • Mac OS El Capital or later
  • Pricing
    • Studio – $495
    • Pro – $995

Open Broadcaster Software

  • Pros
    • Free and open source
    • Easy to use for beginners
    • Unlimited number of sources and scenes
    • Live RTMP streaming to most outlets
    • Supports Intel Quick Sync
    • Can make your own overlays and buttons
    • Can be integrated with most capture card setups
    • Easy to find configuration & troubleshooting guides online
    • Has 20+ plugins that enhance functionality, including an audio mixer plugin
    • Light resource usage
    • Supports NVIDIA’s NVENC
    • Intelligent enough to figure out best stream settings
    • Scene previewing allowed in studio mode
  • Cons
    • No support for IP or network cameras yet
    • Nearly impossible to queue or add playlist of shots
    • Can’t output to multiple streams at once
    • Can’t link to an audio file as a source
    • Uses more CPU
    • Lower quality encoding
  • Operates on
    • Windows Vista or later, OSX, and Linux
  • Price
    • Free

vMIX

  • Pros
    • Support for HD and 4k resolution in paid plans
    • Ability to add video effect to inputs
    • NDI and IP source support
    • Efficient H.264 encoding
    • Transitions and green screen (chroma key) support
    • Remote control via web interface
    • Picture-in-picture and multiview, including overlays
    • vMix Social offers social media integration
    • With vMix Replay, you can select up to four cameras to run a buffer of selected footage, ie sports replays
    • DVD playback
    • Compatible with essentially every file format
    • Live video effects such as zoom, rotate, pan, and crop
    • Support for a touchscreen web interface
    • Graphics accelerated
  • Cons
    • Only operates on Windows
    • Expensive
    • Professional level features are more complex than others, with a steeper learning curve
  • Operates on
    • Windows
  • Pricing
    • Free basic version
    • Basic HD version – $60
    • vMix Pro – $1200

Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder

  • Pros
    • Support for popular codecs including: VP6, H.264, Nellymoser, and MP3, as well as additional code AAD and HE-AAv plugins
    • Support for multiple bitrate encoding, up to three streams at once
    • Auto-adjusted delivery bandwith
    • DVR functionality
    • Auto restart in case of crashing
    • Supported by essentially every live stream video host
    • Minimal setup time with the ability to import XML files into the encoder to connect your software with your video host account
    • Basic, which works for live event productions with basic requirements.
    • Advanced broadcasts with multiple camera feeds and complex workflow will need to look elsewhere*
  • Cons
    • Limited features
    • Not for advanced broadcasts with multiple camera feeds
    • Prone to crashing
  • Operates on
    • Windows and Mac OS
  • Pricing
    • Free
Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on The Top 5 Video Broadcasting Software for Live Events

40 Scenarios Where You Need 24/7 Streaming Support

shutterstock_229130566

  1. Your dog eats your cables instead of your kid’s homework.
  2. Your cat knocks your video encoder off the table just to spite you.
  3. Your kid eats your cables and doesn’t do their homework just to spite you.
  4. Your encoder isn’t configured properly.
  5. You aren’t in expert in transcoding, bitrates, video formats, or codecs.
  6. You broadcast a radio show about insomnia in the middle of the night.
  7. You broadcast anytime that’s not 9am – 5pm.
  8. You broadcast on a holiday or weekend.
  9. You don’t have the time to wait 2 to 3 business days to get a reply from the other guys.
  10.  You’re hosting a live stream of the kids’ soccer game and Karen’s mom, Susan, who’s on the PTA, will lose it if there are interruptions.
  11. Slow or interrupted internet speed while broadcasting.
  12. Network congestion.
  13. Karen’s dad is an MMA fighter who is watching the game from elsewhere and the stream isn’t loading for him. He’s very upset.
  14. Buffering, the enemy of all live and pre-recorded video.
  15. Your kid’s team beats Karen’s team, but you can’t pause or rewind or watch it again because you can’t seem to work the nDVR feature.
  16. You’re hosting a live stream for any viewers who you value, but don’t want to risk losing in case there are interruptions.
  17. Software crashes.
  18. Interrupted camera feeds.
  19. Karen’s dad dropkicks your equipment.
  20. Equipment failure in general.
  21. You’re a modest local radio show that broadcasts news and weather but have poor connectivity because you’re in the middle of a hurricane, and you need to tell your listeners that they’re probably experiencing a hurricane.
  22. You’re worried about losing any video or audio content that you broadcast while in poor weather conditions or with poor connectivity.
  23. You’re not in Kansas anymore–you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help setting up so you can stream remotely.
  24. Your dog, Toto, got whisked away in a twister after eating your cables and now you feel guilty and want to put a missing dog pre-roll banner on your videos.
  25. You need help setting up a paywall to be submitted to your kid’s college fund because they keep eating their homework.
  26. You’re in search of a heart, a brain, or courage.
  27. (On second thought, no one can really help you with that.)
  28. You want to start monetizing your videos in general, but don’t know where to start.
  29. You aren’t familiar with VAST or VPAID.
  30. You experience any number of technical problems.
  31. Turning it off and then turning it back on again doesn’t work.
  32. Lightly slapping your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  33. Lightly kicking your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  34. You call the 9-to-5 guys and they ask if you turned it off and then on again, so you smash your equipment to the ground.
  35. Smashing your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  36. You experience sudden changes in audio and video quality and suspect it might be a ghost.
  37. You find out it’s not a ghost, but that still doesn’t solve it.
  38. You need an answer to the ages old question, “Who you gonna call?”
  39. You don’t want to risk losing audience engagement over quality issues.
  40. You want to provide a seamless streaming experience to your audience.
Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on 40 Scenarios Where You Need 24/7 Streaming Support

7 Brands That Thrive Using Live Video


shutterstock_221186227

Dunkin’ Donuts

You’re running late in the morning, and want to grab an iced coffee and a quick breakfast to go. If you’re on the East coast and aren’t a huge fan of the Starbucks on every block, you might consider Dunkin’ Donuts (sorry, California). Although donuts may not be huge among millennials—it’s more about cronuts these days—Dunkin’ Donuts has taken advantage of visual media to appeal to those who would rather spend time online than on line. Of course, they hit the big four: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, but they also took to campaigning on platforms like Snapchat and Periscope, all of which have live video features. In 2015, they collaborated with Spotify to host a concert series, which was live streamed on its website and saw success in both driving traffic to the site and selling iced coffee. In another instance, Dunkin’ Donuts live streamed the creation of a donut-themed wedding cake, calling it a test kitchen or sorts, which attracted more than 36,000—all of whom were just watching a cake being baked.

Adidas

Another brand that has found success in incorporating live streaming into digital marketing is Adidas. Its #ThereWillBeHaters campaign started in March 2015 with a live video of James Rodriguez, famed Real Madrid and Colombian national team player, in which he signed a contract extension with the brand. Adidas also hosted similar campaigns with the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Luis Suarez, launching a live stream of the #ThereWillBeHaters short film that same month.

Apple

You know the deal. It started in a garage in Cupertino. Many, many black turtlenecks and white sneakers later, Apple has made its mark as one of the most successful tech innovators ever—in fact, it’s one of the top ten largest companies in the world. As of 2016, their quarterly revenue averaged $46.9 billion. How can one begin to explain Apple’s explosive success and the massive, almost cult-like following it has today? One of the reasons is buzz. Twice a year, they host a live product release that is streamed globally. It attracts millions of viewers, of course. More importantly, it generates the kind of buzz needed to give a product a cracking head start and cutthroat edge in the market, making it a prime example of how the manufacturing of excitement brings tangible results.

BuzzFeed

Remember how BuzzFeed once live streamed a video of some highly qualified fruit scientists exploring how many rubber bands it takes to make a watermelon burst? At the time, it was the most tuned in live video on Facebook and had racked up over 807,000 viewers at its peak. For those who are curious, it took 45 minutes of rubber band wrapping to make the big melon explode. Why on Earth would someone watch a 45-minute stream of this? In one word, momentum. The other 44 minutes of video were leading up to that moment, building tension all throughout, keeping viewers interested.  BuzzFeed isn’t a traditional business that would reap the benefits of launching new products or services on live video, so they rely on advertising and creating fun, exciting, in-the-moment content like this. Clearly, something about this just works: the video now has over 10 million views.

 

Al-Jazeera

Al-Jazeera, one of the most respected sources of (real, not “fake”) news, has utilized video streaming—one of the first news corporations to do so—to stand out among the others in terms of both reach and efficiency. Of the 270 million or so homes around the world that Al-Jazeera reaches, a fairly large number of those are through free online streaming. While this may not seem revolutionary in and of itself, their innovative use of streaming on social media has streamlined the way we get our news—for the better.

Tastemade

Even if you haven’t heard of Tastemade, you’ve probably seen it before, and it chances are that it has made you hungry. Tastemade is an online publication that centers on everything food, from recipes to vlogs to video tutorials on cooking miniature versions of real food. No, really–the Tiny Kitchen series, which consists of using teeny-tiny ingredients to make a real meal, is one of the most successful video ventures from the brand to date. A live version of this series gathered more than 3 million views. Since then, the brand has been exploring live video more and more as a way of drawing social media traffic and engaging with viewers. By doing so, Tastemade combines the visual appeal of food with the immediate appeal of live video, with the end result being something highly watchable that speaks to viewers’ hearts (and stomachs).

GE

In July 2015, multinational corporation GE launched its #DRONEWEEK campaign. No, it’s not what it sounds like—more U.S. drone strikes devastating the Middle East—but it does involve the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles. The GE-engineered drones’ cameras connected to a live broadcast of things like interviews with GE scientists and tours of their different facilities across the country, as well as showcasing of their machinery. The drones flew from coast to coast, and #DRONEWEEK earned a reputation as “Shark Week for science and social video nerds”. GE upped the fan appeal by creating a drone Twitter account to interact with viewers. Once again, a brand successfully married social media and visual digital marketing with the use of live video streaming.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on 7 Brands That Thrive Using Live Video

Should You Live Stream Your Wedding?

Imagine this: it’s sometime in the late spring or early summer, the church (or temple, or mosque) bells are ringing, and one of your beloved friends or family members is getting married. Now imagine it on a screen. The happy
couple are exchanging their vows somewhere in another state, but you’re able to bear witness to this touching moment from wherever you are because you couldn’t make it. Or because you’re a jilted ex who wasn’t invited. Either/or.

shutterstock_388636240One might assume that live streaming couldn’t possibly have a strong foothold in the wedding industry, but that’s not true. In fact, it’s been around since live streaming took its first breaths in late 2007. So while
the market for wedding live streaming isn’t new, it has been a steadily rising through the industry ranks among tech-savvy new brides-and-grooms-to-be. And why wouldn’t it? If others can choose to stream the big days in their lives that families and friends don’t want to miss, like graduation ceremonies, it only makes sense to stream the biggest day of your life.

The main reason couples may opt into live streaming their wedding is for the benefit of guests who had no choice but to send back their RSVP with regrets because they are unable to attend. It’s an unfortunate but not uncommon truth: not everyone on your guest list can physically be there, whether it is a friend who cannot afford to attend a destination wedding or and elderly family member with an illness or ailment. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your big day—at least not without the help of a professional streaming service. It’s the next best thing to being there.

The importance of a professional streaming service to ensure that everything goes seamlessly cannot be stressed enough, because your wedding day can be stressful enough as it is. While free streaming services are available for your use and it may be tempting to skimp on this part of your nuptials, this leaves you much more prone to technical errors and quality issues on the day of your wedding. And with pro platforms, you have premium features like password protection, so you can be as exclusive as you like—so that your ex can revel in your happiness (or not). Or, if you’re anything like the royal couple, you can broadcast it to the world and have people talking about that dress for weeks.

So how does it work? It can be as simple as hooking up a video camera and a mic to an encoder and an internet connection. With Primcast’s live event streaming service, you get instant account activation and fully managed setup with remote assistance, and you can broadcast from a laptop or pair a camera with a Cerevo Livehell 2 to broadcast from anywhere. This can be done with 3G or 4G networks as well, meaning you are not limited to the confines of a building with Wi-Fi, so you can have that unique fairytale inspired garden wedding you and millions of others have always dreamed of. And, with features like Primcast’s nDVR, your stream remains as an on-demand video that you can re-watch, rewind, pause, forward, and so on.

It is clear that live streaming is an important up-and-coming player in the $300 billion dollar global wedding industry. In fact, it would not be out of place to say that it will be an expected part of the celebration within the next few years. So, regardless of what role you play on the big day, getting on board with the trend/times can be beneficial. If you’re the videographer, it gives you an edge among the competition because you are offering an exclusive service to clients. If you are a church, you can incorporate it into wedding packages or add it as a bonus to existing streaming services. Lastly, if you are the one getting married, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day, knowing that your most candid, memorable moments will be captured for years to come.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Should You Live Stream Your Wedding?

The Psychological Reason People Love Live Streams

If you haven’t heard of it by now, it’s time that you do: FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is an epidemic. It’s certainly no swine flu, which, speaking from experience, is no fun at all, but it is a widespread phenomenon that has noteworthy psychosocial effects on people. As shutterstock_434264908weird as it sounds, though, there are some
upsides to FOMO, one of them being that it has fostered a booming industry for live event streaming.

To better understand the appeal of live streaming in relation to FOMO, we need to understand why the human body triggers this kind of response in the first place, and to do that, we must go back to ancient times. Is Krog in the cave next door throwing a cave party without me? Do all the other dinosaurs not like me? OK, maybe not that ancient—but you get the picture.

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Anita Sanz, FOMO is a very, very old fear being triggered by a new stimulus: social media. Sanz claims that it began as a survival instinct of sorts, considering that at one point our survival as individuals within a tribe and as a species hinged on our being aware of threats both to ourselves and to the larger group.

“To be ‘in the know’ when we roamed around in small groups was critical to survival,” said Sanz on Quora. “To not be aware of a new food source, for example, meant you literally missed out on something that could mean the difference between life and death.”

Of course, Sanz recognizes that the way we keep each other in the know of important information and potential sources of danger has dramatically evolved since then. Today, we use forms of communication like TV, newspapers, the internet, and last but certainly not least, social media.

So, it makes sense that feeling like we’re missing out leaves an important enough impression to incite a reaction from us. It is literally hardwired into our brains. This is not to say that not making it to a music festival you’re seeing all over Facebook and Twitter is a matter of life or death, but for many people, social media is how they connect to their community, so it becomes a social lifeline of sorts. As we become increasingly aware of what the people around us are doing—often in real time and at hyper-speed—we don’t want to feel excluded.

This has not gone unnoticed by the big names in business and entertainment. In fact, they even incorporate peoples’ fear of missing out into their promotional strategies. If they’ve got a major live event coming up, like a concert, they may restrict access after the live stream of the concert ends. This means that if they don’t join in the moment, they miss out. And what if they miss out on something really, really good? It’s the “what if” that appeals to the FOMO in us. This has been duly noted and utilized by concert presenters like LiveNation and AEG.

Part of what makes live streaming so versatile, though, is that it can also ease peoples’ FOMO. According to a study by Eventbrite, 69% of millennials experience FOMO when they can’t attend something that their family or friends are going to. They might not be able to attend because of finances, distance, physical disabilities, etc. Whatever the case, live streaming allows them to really feel included and be a part of the event. And this is beneficial for brands, too: 67% of viewers who live stream an event are more likely to buy a ticket to that event or a similar one post-stream. Don’t underestimate millennials—they would rather spend money on experiences, like concerts, festivals, sports or parties, instead of buying tangible products. And aren’t experiences the most valuable thing of all?

The FOMO epidemic extends past concerts and festivals. According to Facebook’s own data, people comment ten times more on Facebook Live videos than regular videos. People are also watching these videos for longer, spending three times as much time watching Live videos as they do on-demand. BuzzFeed once live streamed a video of two people attaching rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. It had 807,000 viewers at the end of its 45 minute stream.

Why do people even want to watch rubber balloons obliterate a watermelon, you ask? Nobody wanted to miss the moment that fruit finally went kaboom. The other 44 minutes of that stream was just a buildup to that sweet, seedy moment the watermelon burst. It was gratifying, and social media has kind of coddled us into a state of instant gratification. According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, we navigate the web in a series of dopamine loops.

Said Weinschenk, “With the Internet, Twitter, and texting you now have almost instant gratification of your desire to seek. Want to talk to someone right away? Send a text and they respond in a few seconds. Want to look up some information? Just type your request into Google… Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more.” With live video, you have an environment that welcomes instant reactions and with which you can provide instant feedback. In other words, the process of watching a live event is rich in dopamine.

We gravitate towards live content because it is literally in our nature. We don’t want to miss out on critical information. We want to feel included. We crave suspense. We want to instant gratification. With live content, what you see is what you get, and there is a raw, visceral appeal in that, and this is something our psyche understands.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on The Psychological Reason People Love Live Streams

3 Must-Know Ways to Monetize Your Videos

Online video is valuable, and anything with value in a consumer-driven capitalist state can be sold for a profit. According to BI Intelligence, digital video ad revenue reached almost $5 billion in shutterstock_5851470372016, up from $2.8 billion in 2013. It probably makes sense to monetize your video content as another source of revenue to literally make your videos work for you. But how? There are a number of good options, but the best option for you is dependent on a number of factors, like the nature of the content you produce and the size of the audience it generates. Making the most informed decision often involves dissecting each option and can be time-consuming, so we went ahead and did it for you below.

Video Advertising

What was your favorite ad as a child? I know my least favorite: the annoying, ever-present Zoobooks commercial. Regardless, video advertising has been around since the dawn of time. And by this, I mean the dawn of when executives realized they could capitalize on television programming with the first ever TV ad, which promoted a local baseball game. The airtime was purchased for just $4 in 1941. Since then, it has remained one of the most popular ways that brands and services advertise and that visual programming earns revenue—which is definitely worth more than $4 in 2017.

With video advertising, your video content is free and available to a virtually unlimited number of users. If the content is good, free, and accessible, it is likely that you will attract a larger audience—and the more you exhibit an ability to attract an audience, the more businesses will be willing to pay to access this audience. Revenue is generated by selling pre, mid, or post-roll ads, using one of many ad-choice models (such as the VAST and VPAID models offered by Primcast). Ads can be tailored to target audiences by location, interests, etc., which consequently converts more viewers into valuable customers and boosts your advertising value.

Of course, this means that you must demonstrate that you have a large enough audience to target as well as the means to produce video content at a rate that retains viewership, so this option is best left to bigger broadcasters. If you cannot attract a sufficient number of people, it does little in the way of seeing a return on production spending (and just means that you just haven’t met the right one yet). But if you meet the criteria, video advertisements before, during, or after your video content are a very sustainable source of revenue that can work long-term.

Pay-per-View

Ah yes, pay-per-view. If you’re a sad millennial like me (or older), you may remember the days before Netflix when there was no option but to add $10 to your cable bill if you wanted to see a premium movie on demand. You may even remember Blockbuster. Got chills down your spine yet? This is still a model that works and works well—online, that is. It is used by many platforms, big and small, from those motivational business webinars to Google Play. With pay-per-view, your video content is a standalone product that viewers pay a one-time fee to access. This is done with tools such as a paywall. In general, aim to broadcast your content on a platform that has a monetization option like a paywall built in.

The good? Success in your capitalistic ventures—even if your audience is modest in size, you can still generate a large amount of revenue because pay-per-view content generally brings more income with a smaller audience than other options, making it perfect for small to medium sized broadcasters. This is especially true if your video content fits a particular niche and has a target audience that is willing to pay a premium price on premium content. There are also fewer limits on maximum revenue, so all in all: more money.

The bad? Because this is a one-and-done situation, viewers are only engaged short-term and there isn’t much incentive to commit to your brand (like so many guys I know). You may also have to spend time, money, and effort on attracting viewers since your content isn’t accessible to everyone, so not everyone may know its value. And because viewers are paying valuable dollars for your content, they also need to have access to 24/7 support in case of any issues with playback—but not to worry, as Primcast offers some of the best around-the-clock customer service there is.

Subscriptions

The next step up from a pay-per-view is creating a subscription-based service for your video content. The concept is providing valuable content long-term in exchange for a long(ish)-term return on investment. There are many different ways to go about this. You can charge for content as a bundle, as bigger streaming companies like Fox Soccer do, or as a membership where you charge monthly or annually for as low or as much as you like. It is recommended to start low as you build a viewer base. If you charge as little as $1 per month and get, say, 60 new subscribers a month on average, in your first 6 months you are up to $360 in subscription revenue per month.

Unlike with pay-per-view, however, monetization with a subscription service creates brand loyalty because it creates repeat customers. In fact, many people already subscribe to visual content in one way or the other. Think cable and Netflix. It’s convenient for your audience because they know what they want and what they’re getting and they can pay for it all at once. This also generates greater overall revenue for content creators and is a steady form of income. But in order for a subscription service to be a viable option, you must put out video content consistently that people actually want to watch.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on 3 Must-Know Ways to Monetize Your Videos

Facebook Live vs. Professional Streaming Platforms

shutterstock_521229844

Facebook Live didn’t start the fire—it was always burning since the live stream machine’s been churning. Although streaming live video online has officially been a thing since 2007 with the birth of Livestream, formerly known as Mogulus, it has recently been given new life by the likes of Periscope, Meerkat (RIP, gone too soon) and more heavyweight platforms like YouTube Live. Even more recently, around May of 2016, Facebook rolled out its Live feature to all its users. It had previously only been available to public figures and celebrities.

So what can you do with Facebook Live, really? And how does it even work? Well, that’s the easy part:

  1. Do whatever you want, from showing your friends your cute dog doing cute dog things to gaining social media exposure by executing viral marketing campaigns, hosting seminars and panels, and promoting live events.
  2. Hit the “Live” button at the top of your feed and begin broadcasting to your followers, all the while monitoring likes, questions, and comments from your viewers.

Watching and and being able to engage with events in real-time has universal appeal and brings real results. Social Media Today found that people spend 3 times longer watching a video that is live compared to pre-recorded video.  Not only do people watch, but they love using live video too! Many Facebook users—of which there are approximately one billion—are taking advantage of the release of Facebook Live for public use to share experiences with friends and their extended social media network as they happen.

So is it any surprise that the mainstreaming of live streaming has had a ripple effect on social media? Not too soon after Twitter and Facebook’s live features came those of Snapchat and Instagram. This mass integration into social media is proof that live video is changing the tides of how organizations are reaching bigger, better audiences. If further proof is needed, look to Facebook’s live stream of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which rounded up a massive 28 million people.

It is evident that Facebook Live has distinguished itself as a shiny new innovation on the live video front. But can it measure up to the video streaming powerhouses that so many organizations pay for? Let’s take a look:

Advantages:

  • Free! Spend $0.00 by using your phone and natural lighting
  • Easy setup in seconds for anybody with a Facebook page
  • Built into Facebook platform
  • People who have already liked a page receive notifications about live streams, which creates a sense of urgency, as well as seeing the stream on their news feed
  • Audience engagement via Facebook reactions and real-time, interactive comments/questions
  • Ability broadcast exclusively to your Facebook group
  • Live streams can be used for Facebook posts or ads
  • Social media exposure to those who aren’t totally social media savvy—many people who don’t have much of an internet presence elsewhere have Facebook accounts, so you can extend a hand to this audience
  • Feedback you receive from viewers can serve as excellent PR, marketing, and communications tools for a brand’s strategy*
  • Broadcast remains on the feed as on-demand video

Disadvantages:

  • Slower response rate
  • Live videos are limited to 90 minutes
  • One billion people are on Facebook, but seven billion are not!
  • No support: if you experience any issues mid-stream or your stream is taken down for whatever reason, you cannot talk to a human about it.
  • Not indexable. Search engines like Google don’t ever find Facebook posts, including live and archived videos, which is a fatal drawback when it comes to SEO
  • Comments tend to lag, making interactive functionality limited
  • Facebook’s algorithm changes often–practically once a month. Because brands do not control the platform, it is difficult to perfectly execute a marketing strategy
  • Video quality is the most important factor for 67% of viewers watching a live broadcast, and Facebook streams are not optimized for higher quality output or large screens–there tends to be poorer image and audio quality
  • Viewers prefer to engage content on a branded destination so they are not distracted by things like notifications

Additionally, Facebook Live doesn’t support monetization, access, and security restrictions like a paywall, multiple simultaneous streams, digital rights management, or analytics.

All in all, if your low-budget is really no-budget, Facebook Live is a decent platform to stream your content. It is integrated into one of the largest social media platforms in the world, but is lacking in advanced features. If you demand more of your live streaming platform, don’t worry—there are many customizable and feature-rich services to choose from. The top paid platforms combine hosting, broadcasting, embedding, monetizing, and user analytics into all-inclusive packages, and Primcast is just one of them.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Facebook Live vs. Professional Streaming Platforms

What Can Audio Advertising Do For You?

Remember the good old days when radio was just a knob on your car stereo? Or, if you’re even older (but young at heart), maybe it was a square, clunky box that only accessed a few local channels, and every so often during the broad
cast, you got advertisements promoting businesses around town or new and exciting products like the color TV. But the way we listen to music, talk shows, stories, news, weather, traffic, and the like has totally transformed in days gone by.

shutterstock_215512507Today, we have podcasts, streams, playlists…a majority of people are tuning in to online radio on their phones or other devices that fit in their pockets—155 million people, to give you an approximation, with expected growth to 191 million by 2019. 68 million people subscribe to some sort of music streaming service and a quarter of those people stream music on their smartphones on a daily basis. The radio streaming service Pandora logs 5.4 billion hours of user listen time in a single quarter.

It is safe to say that over the past few years, traditional radio has undergone a major makeover of the digital kind, and with it, so has audio advertising. According to a survey coordinated by AdAge, The Trade Desk, and Advantage Business Research, US marketing and media professionals will allocate an average of 11.6% of their ad budget and inventory to digital audio placements by mid-2017. This figure is up from 7% just a year earlier and double the share of investments made two years earlier which, according to eMarketer, marks a significant gain on overall ad inventory.

It is clear that there is much to gain from incorporating audio advertising into existing online channels. According to the same AdAge study, 37.4% of respondents in the US said that formatted music channels are of interest when considering buying programmatically.

“Advertisers are after an audience, and they see digital radio as a platform that reaches an engaged user who can be precisely targeted by geography, demographics, social connections, listening behavior and other critical metrics,” eMarketer said in a statement. And with current technology, it is entirely possible to take audio advertising over the top and make it more effective than ever.

Online radio is a hyper-personalized method of streaming audio, and this is one of the main appeals of digital audio advertising. Listeners possess the ability to customize programming from a seemingly unlimited array of stations and playlists curated for the user with the aid of intelligent algorithms. Incorporating advertising and audio streaming means that listeners get relevant ad content that is targeted specifically to them, which means it is likelier for them to become potential customers. With the explosive growth of audio streaming services, there is also consistent growth of advertising revenue.

Yet another reason audio ads are so enticing to marketers is because they have the reach and influence of video advertising, but are much cheaper and much easier to produce. They aren’t really effected by ad blockers, so users can’t just skip over them or gloss over and do something else like they tend to do with video ads, so they are more directly influenced An Audio.ad survey found that nearly five of every ten people have bought between two and five products or services advertised.

So how does this kind of targeted advertising work? Well, based on your content and listener demographics, advertisers looking to appeal to a certain audience will pay to air ads on your channel. The process is streamlined with an audio ad monetization service like the one soon to be offered by Primcast. Audio advertising, similarly to other kinds of advertising, can be targeted based on region, age, interests and much more, so advertisers can be confident their content appeals to your audience. It’s pretty simple from there: triggers based on metadata in your encoder send a message to our servers to play ads automatically.

Video marketing seems to be the talk of the town, however, advertisers have had their eye on digital audio ads for some time now, and brands are beginning to take notice. By appealing to the ears instead of the eyes while a listener is tuned in to news, music, or talk shows, they are cutting through visual ads to become a part of someone’s day, and that in itself is powerful.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on What Can Audio Advertising Do For You?

3 Benefits of Video Marketing in 2017

shutterstock_520079620If you’ve ever seen a Harry Potter movie, you might have seen the “magic” animated photograph of Harry’s parents that he keeps by his bedside. While that may have been reserved for young adult fantasy novels in 2003, it’s definitely no longer a fantasy in 2017. Video is the medium of the future—that’s no secret. But what your competition may not want you to know is that video has come unto its own as an important marketing tool, and if you want to remain ahead of the game in 2017, it’s time to get on board.

Online video accounts for about 74% of global web traffic. In fact, 55% of Americans watch videos online every single day. That’s over half the population. The rise of OTP streaming services, live streaming platforms, and user-generated video apps like Snapchat and Vine has been well documented over the past couple of years, not to mention the more recently developed Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. All of this is to say that video has not-so-slowly but surely come to dominate any given user’s web experience, especially within the scope of social media.

Both consumers and businesses understand that videos are no longer just for entertainment. They are easily accessible, visually appealing, instantly gratifying ways of getting and providing information about products, services, and ideas. Not taking advantage of this kind of massively marketable, shareable, and likable content would be a tremendous missed opportunity to reach potential customers. Captivating videos can reach a previously untapped customer base or educate existing customers in the middle of a buying cycle, and smart businesses know this.

In fact, according to a 2015 survey by Flimp Media and ReelSEO, 96% of B2B organizations are already engaged in video content marketing. 73% say that video has positively impacted marketing results. 83% are using video content for website marketing, 50% for email marketing, and 75% are optimizing video content for SEO.  Animoto stated that 60% of marketers and small business owners said they planned to increase investment in video marketing in 2017.

It is clear that having a video marketing strategy (and a reliable video hosting and streaming platform) for your business or organization has a notable impact not only on brand recognition and revenue, but also on user engagement. Here’s how:

Brand Recognition

  • 62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a poor quality video.
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic than non-users.
  • 81% of people feature video on their brand website.
  • 93% of marketers use video for online marketing, sales, and communication.

Increased Revenue

  • Businesses using video grow revenue 49% faster year-over-year than those without.
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
  • 40% of consumers state that video increases the chance they’ll purchase a product on their mobile device.
  • 90% of user say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision process.
  • 74% of millennials find video helpful when comparison shopping.

User Engagement

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
  • 70% of marketers say video produces more conversions than any other content.
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.
  • Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

So while creating marketable video content today might not necessarily be magic, it can still have a magical impact on your business or organization and your consumer base. Just remember to employ the same basic methods to your video marketing campaign as you would to other campaigns–generate content that consumers can identify with, educate and engage with your intended audience, and work on building a lasting relationship with your customers. Regardless of which video marketing road you decide to go down (and there are plenty of options: live streaming, animation, or plain old transient video), be sure you are providing something that consumers want, and then incite a call to action.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on 3 Benefits of Video Marketing in 2017