How Can Audio Streaming Benefit Your Business?

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We have all, at some point in our lives, walked into a store, restaurant, or hotel and thought to ourselves, “what song is this?” If that point has been within the past couple of years, it’s likely that the song was being played on internet radio or a dedicated stream curated for the business you walk into.

Consumers like curated content. This has grown to be more and more relevant as we reach an internet age in which everything is targeted to and personalized for the consumer. But how does one go about adding personal appeal to a standing business or institution? It has been mentioned in a previous post that businesses and hospitality services can build a brand with dedicated internet radio. Audio streaming for your business creates a consistent, recognizable atmosphere and is a simple way of allowing consumers to feel more engaged with your brand.

Internet radio is also highly convenient for business owners: unlike traditional radio, you have total control of what content is put out, as well as where and when. Consider a new customer walking into a café. What are they listening to? Is it music that uplifts, invigorates, calms, or inspires? Now, think of a guest walking into a new hotel for the first time. Are they hearing about any new promotions or deals the hotel has to offer? With audio streaming, it is entirely up to the owner. Your customers can be reached 24/7, with the ability to decide what your business is playing at your fingertips, on any web-enabled device. Music selections and promotional content can be curated into playlists, which can then be automated after being uploaded to Primcast servers. There is always the option to flip a switch and make live broadcasts or announcements.

Aside from brand building and customer satisfaction, audio streaming for your business can also bring substantial monetary benefits. That’s right—money! 50% of the American population tunes in to internet radio every week. According to Edison Research and eMarketer, that’s roughly 177 million listeners per year, and $42 billion dollars in mobile advertising revenue forecasted for internet radio and streaming services this year. Most people who tune in to internet radio actually opt for ad-supported listening—91% of global listeners use ad-supported devices.

Bringing advertising into the picture can be mutually beneficial for the business owner and the advertiser. For example, if your hotel has a tennis court, it may be advantageous for the business to run internet radio ads for sporting goods (like tennis rackets). Again, there is a vast amount of freedom in being a business owner with a dedicated streaming service, so it is entirely up to you.

Streaming that is customized for your business gives it a personal touch, and that has universal appeal. So whether you are a tiny eatery that is open late nights or a busy hotel with guests flowing in and out at all hours of the day, giving your customer a seamless audio experience adds multitudes to their overall satisfaction, and may add a huge amount of revenue for your business.

The Internet Didn’t Kill the Radio Star

 

It is December 1999. The world is preradio-blogparing for catastrophic doom in the form of technological disaster, also known as Y2K. Even the likes of Time Magazine releases an issue on the inevitable meltdown of society that comes with the meltdown of computers, which were never programmed to denote the year beyond ‘99. Now fast forward a few months. Computers, electricity, communications, and society are all still around, much to our collective relief. The radio is still an incredibly popular medium in which we get our news, listen to our favorite stations, and figure out how to avoid the hour-long wait in traffic along the Midtown Tunnel.

But the times are changing—slowly, but surely, more and more of the ways we consume our news and tunes are moving to the web. In the year 2000, only 2% of the American population listened to online radio. In 2016, a study by Edison Research found that the number had jumped to a whopping 50%, with 136 million unique listeners tuning in every week and 160 million per month. That number is even higher in the UK, with a study conducted by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) stating that 57% of the UK population tuned in to digital radio every week in the same year.

Internet radio broadcasts and podcasts have literally been taking over the airwaves. This is not to say that radio as we once knew it is dead. Rather, radio streaming is revolutionizing the way we receive news, listen to and curate the music we want to listen to, keep up to date on pop culture, and even how we consume stories—talk radio and fictional programming on the radio have been around since the 1920s and don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The difference in 2016 is that the listener has a vast amount of freedom in deciding what, when, and where. All the freedom to choose and no limits on where or how often makes for a happy consumer.

Unlike traditional or ‘terrestrial’ radio, internet radio services like the ones offered by Primcast can be accessed globally and across all web-enabled devices at any time. Live broadcasts can be archived by the broadcaster and streamed by the listener at their leisure. This mobility and ease of access makes it apparent why half of America is getting their radio fix online, and beyond that, proves that radio is here to stay. In fact, the average listener in 2016 tunes in to up to 21 hours of live radio per week.

Consider the popularity of “Welcome to Night Vale”, a twice-monthly science fiction podcast that can be streamed on TuneIn, which works in tandem with Primcast’s servers. It is so popular, in fact, that it surpassed NPR’s “This American Life” to become the most downloaded podcast on iTunes, achieving more than 150,000 downloads in a single week. It is arguable that this format of sci-fi longform storytelling has not gotten this much attention since Orson Welles’ broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” in 1938, during which distressed listeners thought they were listening to a real, apocalyptic news broadcast. Thankfully, neither Y2K nor this imagined apocalypse were able to wipe out the radio as a medium for storytelling, especially not with the internet around.

For the majority of people, however, the radio is how we listen to music. Whether it’s listening to the songs and genres we already love or discovering something new, music has been keeping us tuned in for almost as long as radio has been around. In the past few years, however, listening to music on the web has undergone a major facelift. Over 50 million people subscribe to some sort of music streaming service. This kind of streaming, which is tangentially different from traditional radio, has become massively popular because consumers crave highly personalized content with which they feel they are curating their own ‘brand’. The same thing applies on a broader spectrum for businesses and hospitality services, which can build a brand with dedicated, global, and accessible broadcasting.

Appealing to Millenials with Easy-Access Visual Media

 

Mmillenialblogillenials, often referred to as Generation Y, are a veritable goldmine of a target demographic when it comes to content marketing–but only if you hit the right notes. This tech-obsessed new generation of youth are arguably some of today’s most in-demand consumers. But with them comes the era of six-second videos and ten-second photographs (or ‘Snaps’) that disappear upon viewing. While their college debts are high, their attention spans are generally lower than generations before them. Plain format text promotions are becoming increasingly ineffective.

So how does anyone make Generation Y buy? According to an essay published on Social Media Week, distracted minds find comfort in visual media. In other words, busy millenials want to be reached in a unique, succinct, and aesthetically pleasing manner. Consider it instant gratification for the digitally savvy.

The data backs it up: in a study conducted by Animoto, 60% of millenials preferred watching a company video over reading newsletters.  70% said they are likely to watch a company video when shopping online, and 80% consider video content when researching a purchase. With all due credit, this says less about how distracted they are as a generation and more about how involved and connected they want to be when making purchases–in the right format, of course.

So where does streaming fit into the picture? In a content preferences survey published by Demand Gen Report, webinars are one of the most popular forms of visual content preferred by millenial consumers. Consider the popularity of TED, a nonprofit that dedicates itself to spreading ideas in the format of short, powerful talks by various speakers. These ‘TEDTalks’ are usually streamed live and then archived for viewing. Its most popular talk has over 40 million views, with total views numbering over 1 billion. And, get this: millenials love it! TED’s popularity with younger groups (between their teens and mid 20s) has skyrocketed over the past few years.

For a generation that is chastised for being addicted to tiny screens, it may come off as unsurprising that in the same study by Animoto, 50% of millenials said that they only watched videos on their phones. Ease of access across devices is a selling point to Gen Y-ers, and a must-have with live streaming. If a stream cannot be accessed by a phone in the same way it can be accessed on a desktop, consider that 50% of the millenial audience lost to a basement show in Brooklyn.

There is also a broader appeal here for live streams among millenials. Any marketing expert can tell you that fear is one of the best selling points. With Gen Y, it’s not spiders or the dark, but ‘FOMO’, or the fear of missing out. Jim Toben, President of Ignite Social Media, says that live streaming “allows us to tap into that FOMO that people have….if people are watching a live event [online], it makes them want to attend more because people love the value of a physical event.”  In fact, according to Digitell, 30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend that same event the following year.

Make Your Live Stream More Dynamic With Epiphan and Primcast

There’s an obvious reason live event production streaming is becoming so popular: the benefits of instant high-quality delivery of your content anywhere in the world speak for themselves. But the novelty of this tool means that it’s not always obvious what works and what doesn’t. How do you make your live event stream work?

Dynamic video

Even if you have a very animated and interesting subject, using only a single static camera can grow boring for a viewer. The limited ability to focus lacks energy and can make a presentation feel tediously long. If you want viewers to feel engaged and interested, you have to fight for their attention, using multiple video sources to make sure you’re streaming continuously captivating content.

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Don’t feel bound to a single room either. In a long stream, such as full coverage of an 8-hour event, you need capture different angles and make sure you’re always filming the most interesting part of your event. So when the speaker finishes their talk, don’t just keep showing an empty stage as people leave the room: in a broadcast, dead air is just as deadly to your viewers’ attention span as its name suggests.

Live switching

To keep your stream lively and moving from one view to another, you need to use an encoder with live-switching capabilities. Epiphan’s flagship all-in-one live video mixer, Pearl, can do this quickly and effectively with a tap on the touch screen, a click of browser button or Epiphan’s Live PC/tablet operator interface.

You can use Pearl’s custom layout feature to add background images, multiple sources, timestamps overlay text and more to create dynamic and balanced layouts that can adapt to whatever you want them to do.

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Not only that, you can use Pearl’s live switching feature to switch between any number of these custom layouts on the fly!

The switching capability allows you to present different layouts, better views of the speaker or their slides, a view of the audience, information from tablets or smart phones, etc. – all without having to pause the video or change your equipment set up.

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Better yet, you can use local IP streaming (or local network streaming) to get the most out of your venue by placing IP cameras or encoders around the space. Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) streaming is a network control protocol that allows you to significantly broaden the range of locations you’re streaming from.

With an RTSP equipped encoder, such as a Pearl with the new 3.17.0 firmware (to be released in July 2016) you are not limited to just cameras in the same room as your encoder. You can also use network-based RTSP sources. A good example of this kind of source are IP cameras, which all have network cables for local networking. Once it’s online, it will have an IP address – add that to your Pearl’s Web UI as a source, and you can stream the video from that camera live without needing a physical connection.

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You could even extend the reach of your setup by setting up multiple encoders and using these as RTSP sources to the main Pearl encoder that is streaming your event live. Select one of your multiple Pearl systems as the “Main” encoder, and then enter the IP addresses of the other Pearl systems into it in the same was as you did for the IP camera. The other Pearl systems all have their own sources connected and layouts configured, and the Main Pearl will then integrate the data from these multiple RTSP sources into a single stream. Operators can then perform live switching by using the web UI or any of the touch screens, and have the result immediately reflected in the live stream.

 

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All this means that your stream has no wires to run, isn’t limited to a single room, and gives you a great deal of versatility in capture options.

How does all this work in practice?

Live streaming an event

A business conference wants to have a live online stream of all its events, lasting a full 8 to 10-hour day. The venue has a main presentation room, a separate interview room, and an expo room with all the booths set up.

Room 1: Main presentation room

– Main Pearl

– 2 Cameras connected to Pearl capturing different angles of the speaker

– 1 Camera connected to Pearl capturing a view of the audience

– Slide projector connected to Pearl as a video source

Room 2: interview room

– A second Pearl connected to the Main Pearl by RTSP

– 1 Wide-angle Camera covering both interviewer and interviewee

– 1 Semi-mobile Camera capturing close-up of interviewee or of their product

– HDMI cable and adapters to capture video from an interviewee’s mobile device

Room 3: Main conference hall

– An IP camera capturing floor crowd, connected to the main Pearl by RTSP

 

When you add in layouts (there are lots of good ways to do this with Pearl) or customize your audio encoding to suit the video you’ll have a truly dynamic video set up to give your viewers a great experience.

 

 

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Never having to go to a blank screen during your stream means that you never have your audience walk away from the screen and forget to come back.

Streaming

Of course, the most important part of the stream is getting it online. That’s why Epiphan products are always ready to integrate perfectly with Primcast. Simply log in to your Primcast account to access your live video streaming settings.

 

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Then login to Pearl and copy-paste the account details into your channel’s streaming settings. Click Start to send the stream to Primcast, and in a few moments you’re streaming live!

 

Put theory into practice

 

The ability to switch between different sources and layouts and even different rooms of the event at the drop of a hat limits the amount of dead air, and keeps the video consistently interesting. Primcast’s easy integration with Pearl makes this an ideal setup for using RTSP streaming and getting your video online as quickly and easily as possible. The more dynamic you make your video, the better your viewership will be. For more information on using Primcast and Epiphan products together, take a look at Primcast’s own guest post on the Epiphan blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Live Streaming to Promote Your Brand

Ever since streaming live videos was introduced in the digital landscape, it has changed the way videos are watched and enjoyed by everyone. Now there is no wait time for the entire video to be downloaded and viewed. With broadband being common, every business can think of adding video streaming onto its websites. Here are few benefits of the live streaming on websites to ponder upon:

More viewers: Streaming videos live on your website can help you reach more people simultaneously which is essential for many reasons.

For instance, if you plan to use videos for training and your employees are in different parts of the world, this benefit will work to your advantage. Also, if you are doing a product launch or marketing, announcement, seminar, or conference, you can convey the message with a wider reach.

More interaction with viewers: Live streaming offers better interaction potential with your audience. This can give you the opportunity to connect and update them with latest information, weave a story around your brand message, answer queries and questions, and get a feeling of their likes and dislikes instantly. This allows you to make quick adjustments and tweaks to your marketing message in order to achieve maximum conversions.

Minimized infrastructural needs: For any business, it’s difficult to organize seminars or promotional events on a large scale.  Organizing such events calls for large venues to accommodate a high number of customers which is difficult to find, and also requires additional costs for security and other arrangements.

With live streaming your message and presentations, can have global reach with low cost of implementation. You can reach your viewers on any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Reduce Costs: Live streaming on websites can easily let you cut through device barriers at nominal costs. Using live streaming to promote your brand will reduce customer acquisition costs and minimizes time for organizations to market products and services.

Convenient: It is easier for attendees to join a live webinar than being physically present at a seminar. It is much more convenient to view a live streams, at the comfort of your home or office. The same concept can be applied to your business or website by using live video streaming services from Primcast.

Stand out from crowd: With live streaming on websites becoming increasingly popular, streaming live videos, events, and content can ensure a unique point of differentiation for a company in comparison to its competitors. Some of the ways in which your brand can gain leverage from live streaming include:

  • Conduct a seminar online or webinar
  • Hold conferences through live interactions with viewers and experts
  • Arrange for a tutorial for students or clients to enrich their knowledge on your product or services

Need the competitive edge of live video streaming to work to your advantage? Then why not consider the capabilities of Primcast, your very own live video streaming expert, here in the US.