How Your Organization Would Benefit From Online Radio

shutterstock_421862188Handing over the aux cord? When it comes to radio, there’s something for everyone. This is probably why roughly 50% of Americans—160 million unique listeners per month—tuned in to online radio in 2016, listening to up to 21 hours of live radio per week on average. Choosing to broadcast your station with live audio streaming services such as the ones offered by Primcast and ServerRoom has major advantages, which can provide major bonuses for you, your listeners, and the broader community beyond the airwaves.

Unlike traditional radio, internet radio can be accessed by any web-enabled device anywhere in the world. But similarly to its predecessor, one has the ability to engage with listeners and monetize with advertisements. There is also the option to keep your station ad-free. The beauty of online radio is that it is infinitely more customizable and can be catered to fit your needs, which aids in building a personal brand. These are just a few of the organizations that can benefit from radio on the web.

Schools and Universities

Students thrive when they can express themselves. This has been acknowledged in the majority of academic communities. Radio is a powerful medium, and providing students on campuses with said medium helps them in establishing not only their own creative identities, but that of the school’s as well. It can also act as an outlet in what is often a stressful environment with too many due dates and deadlines.

Beyond that, radio is a dynamic communication tool between students and universities in general. Students can get updates on campus life, learn about academic developments, and engage with administration (and vice versa). Prospective students can also get a taste of what the school has to offer, and because internet radio is global, this includes international students as well. Because programs can be daily, weekly, or monthly, they can be spaced out to deliver announcements and other content in the most effective possible way.

Religious Institutions

Drop your sermon like it’s hot. Regardless of your place of worship—whether you are a church, mosque, temple, synagogue, or something else entirely, adding internet radio to your services can be beneficial for all. By going online, your message can reach billions of people and potential followers, no matter where in the world they are or what size your house of faith is. This ease of access also applies to followers who are no longer able to attend services, such as the sick and elderly.

Dedicated radio can aid in strengthening your relationship with your followers by allowing them to feel more connected to the larger community and in turn, to their faith. It can also make it easier for them to give back. Although you might usually do it during a service, fundraising for charity and bringing in donations for your place of worship online is simple with a paywall.

 

Small Businesses

Building your brand might be a term that gets thrown a lot, but it is especially important for small businesses and hospitality services. Dedicated internet radio simplifies the process. 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—you total control over what your business is playing at your fingertips, on any web-enabled device.

Audio streaming can also bring in a significant amount of revenue. It has been mentioned that 50% of Americans listen to radio on the web—according to Edison Research, that’s about 177 million listeners per year and tens of billions dollars in mobile advertising revenue for internet radio and streaming services this year.

Again, these are just a few of the institutions who would benefit from internet radio, and it is definitely not limited to these communities. Whether you are a college, church, or hotel and regardless of what kind of niche your station occupies, global, accessible broadcasting is helpful for everyone.

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Year In Review: What You Streamed In 2016

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Sentimentally looking back as we enter a new year has long been tradition, and it gets easier each year as technology advances and everything is streamed, recorded, and archived. 2016 was a landmark year for a multitude of reasons, and live streaming was how we collectively viewed those reasons. Among those surveyed by Livestream, 81% of people said they watched more live video in 2016 than last year. The ability to be present without being present thanks to live streaming technology has made an audience out of us all, whether we were cheering, jeering, marveling, or mourning as we watched the year in politics, television, sports, technology, and more unfold on our devices. Here are some of the most memorable events we streamed in 2016.

Elections

The results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election will live on in infamy, and it had the audience to prove it. Akamai Technologies, a popular content-delivery network provider, counts live streaming of election night as the single biggest live internet event ever carried by its network. According to Akamai, election-specific traffic peaked at 7.5 terabits per second on the platform. In comparison, live video streaming of the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump in September peaked at 4.4 Tbps.

Other live video platforms did not miss out on the election night action, either as standalone broadcasts or via channels of partners. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, CNN Digital, NBC News Digital, CBS, USA Today, and more also delivered this historic election to viewers’ homes, phones, and laptops, seeing record numbers across the board. CNN Digital recorded its largest global audience with 27.7 million streams of its election coverage, with total video starts for election day coming in at 59 million. NBC News Digitals saw more than 120 million video starts, its highest total to date.

Make no mistake, Kim Kardashian—this time it was Donald Drumpf who broke the internet.

Sports

Forget about marriage—sports are what truly bring us together, and 2016 was a good year for being brought together (or competing against one another, depending on who you ask). The Olympics are about togetherness, and they were held in Rio de Janeiro this past summer. Although viewership was lower among traditional TV viewers, Rio 2016 was the most streamed Olympic event ever. By Tokyo 2020, it is predicted that live streaming will be the most popular way to watch the Olympics, but that’s a story for another time.

The record numbers that Akamai saw on election night were previously held by last summer’s European soccer finals. Euro 2016 saw record viewership in Europe throughout the competition. To no one’s surprise, France and Portugal, who saw their teams through to the final, set new records for the Euros as the most-watched program in their respective countries. But everyone loves a good underdog story, and underdogs were not amiss last year: to everyone’s surprise, Iceland made it to the quarterfinals. 99.8% of Iceland’s modest but excitable population tuned in to watch their ragtag team play England, shattering all previous records in the tiny Nordic nation.

Back in the United States, Super Bowl XLIX became the third most watched Super Bowl broadcast in U.S. history, raking in an average of 1.4 million viewers a minute on CBS’ live stream and 115.5 million viewers overall.

TV

Statistics are coming. 2016 saw the return of some television behemoths which have since become streaming behemoths. HBO’s most popular series of all time, Game of Thrones, returned with its sixth season in April. According to Entertainment Weekly, the show averaged over 23 million viewers per episode overall, up 15% from the previous year. Its season finale was watched by 8.9 million people, a new high for the show. This may be attributed to the HBO Now platform, a streaming subscription which allows those without HBO on cable to stream the show in real time.

And stream they did. Viewership of this season of Game of Thrones on HBO Now and HBOGo went up by over 70% from last year. The real time aspect is key to viewers—nobody wants to be late to the party and see spoilers for an episode ten minutes after it airs, especially when central characters are being killed off left and right. Another show that sees numbers skyrocket after the deaths of beloved characters (spoiler alert!) is The Walking Dead, which also premiered its sixth season earlier in 2016. According to a study by Frontier Communications, it was the most streamed live TV event in Texas and Virginia.

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3 Reasons to Cancel Your Cable Service for Online TV Streaming

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Many of us can relate to coming home after school when we were younger, having a little snack and plopping down in front of a screen, waiting for our favorite shows to come on. This was the original method of viewing television, and very soon, it may be a thing of the past. Cord cutting is the act of swapping traditional TV subscriptions (or “cutting” the cable cord) for online streaming services, with what is presumably much to the dismay of TV executives. The trend of saying goodbye to cable services only continues to grow, and it has for some time now.

Households have been slashing subscriptions in droves for the last few years and more people have stopped paying for TV service in the last quarter of 2016 than in any previous quarter, ever. According to studies by Leichtman Research and Convergence Consulting, one in five American households did not subscribe to pay-TV at the end of 2015, with 1.1 million cutting cords that same year. This figure is estimated to be roughly 22%, or 26.7 million households in 2016.

But enough about statistics. It is clear that attitudes are changing along with viewing habits. David Tice, senior vice president of GfK’s media and entertainment practice, brings to light the fact that some millennials are the first true generation of “cord-nevers”, or those who have always used streaming services in lieu of traditional TV. According to Tice, what seems to be concerning TV bigshots is the fact that older households who are able to, and have in the past, pay for cable subscriptions are choosing not to. Tice believes this marks cord cutting as a lifestyle choice rather than just an economic one.

Paying only for what you watch.

On average, cable costs around $99 per month, with premium packages ranging up to $300 a month. If that seems like an exorbitant amount to pay for TV, that’s because it is. Exclusive channels such as HBO or ESPN, should you choose to subscribe to them, can add up to $6.04 per channel to your bill. While adding these channels is up to consumers, they are also continually paying for ones they do not watch or even want, as they come pre-packaged in subscription bundles without much in terms of leeway.

Say, for example, that you’re a fan of The Walking Dead who does not care for the weather, the news, or cooking shows because you only care about zombies. Adding a Showtime package to a Time Warner subscription costs an extra $15 per month, with a basic TV package starting at $29.99 per month when bundled with other services. In comparison, Showtime’s streaming service with up-to-date episodes costs $11 per month with no other commitments. A basic Netflix subscription with all previous episodes of The Walking Dead excluding those currently airing costs $8 per month.

In essence, while the TV aspect of online TV streaming may initially cost a little extra, it’s nothing compared to the cost of cable. Hardware that connects streaming services to your television is a one-time purchase comparable to the price of one month of cable. There’s Roku ($50), Apple TV ($129), Chromecast ($35), and Fire TV ($40 – $100), with the Roku streaming stick standing out as the best bang for your buck in terms of quality and affordability.

Watching what you want, when and where you want.

Unlike in days long past when screens were black and white, programming was limited to a handful of channels, and restrictions on TV would never, ever allow for Game of Thrones to air, there are options now—perhaps to a fault. While some people like the idea of having hundreds of channels to choose from, others realize that many of these channels go unwatched. In this culture of excess, being able to pick and choose the content you want (and then binge watching it until four in the morning) can be a blessing.

In January 2014, Netflix had 6,494 movies and 1,609 TV shows. While it is difficult to quantify exactly how much you can access on a traditional subscription service on any given day (presumably a lot), you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting. On-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are up front about exactly what they offer, so you can stream what you like, when you like without the unwanted sensory overload. With cable and satellite, on-demand and pay-per-view is often either limited in selection or an extra expenditure. The image of one’s younger self waiting for a show to air at a specific time comes to mind.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. As previously mentioned, some services like Netflix do not offer episodes of shows which are currently airing. For this kind of service, there are streaming packages for premium TV channels such as HBO and Showtime, which can be standalone subscriptions or added onto more integrative platforms such as Hulu Plus.

Mobility and flexibility.

You can’t take it with you. This, of course is in reference to terrestrial cable and satellite. Ideally, paying an exorbitant amount for an entertainment platform in 2016 would guarantee that you can fit it on your smartphone and in your pocket. While this cannot be said of traditional TV packages (considering the clunky cable box or satellite dish), essentially all on-demand streaming services have a mobile app, and can be accessed almost anywhere with an internet connection.

Brow-raising prices on cable subscriptions also come with contracts, and those contracts come with fees for cancellation, late payments and the like. For those of you with commitment issues, online TV streaming just makes sense; starting at $8 a pop, you have instant access to an entertainment library that you can cancel at any time you like.

So, binge watchers, sports addicts, and film buffs, don’t despair—there are plenty of flavors of streaming platform to choose between for when you part with your current cable provider.

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Alternatives to YouTube: Battle of the Video Platform

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You’re browsing the web, and you want to watch a funny video of a baby and cat or look up the Pen Pineapple Apple Pen video for the hundredth time. (Go ahead, look it up). Which site comes to mind first? If anyone were to take a guess, it would probably be YouTube. YouTube is considered the world’s top video sharing platform. Roughly 500 hours of content is uploaded every minute and the Google-owned site acquires more than 1 billion unique visitors each month. It is definitely the video platform users are most familiar with, and that familiarity comes with its advantages.

It is important to remember, however, that its primary function is for entertainment and sharing content, not hosting—so hold back on the cat videos for now. Aside from YouTube’s popularity and ease of use, one of its main appeals seems to be the one users see reflected in their wallets: it’s free. The downsides? Well…

  • Pre-roll video ads
  • Limited ad revenue through AdWords
  • Users must give up distribution rights to content
  • YouTube bot detects and shuts down videos and streams with copyrighted music
  • Limited customization and branding: videos contain the YouTube logo and lack design features which are essential to many businesses to maintain brand equity
  • Users lack control over ads and other content: spam, offensive content, and negative social engagement can reflect poorly on businesses
  • Limited embedding functionality
  • No technical support

For organizations and small businesses with an array of hosting and streaming needs, this means it may be time to look elsewhere. Thankfully, there are options.

Vimeo

Vimeo is a video hosting platform for creative content, and has a shining reputation for just that. It is recognized for being a community built on professional, high quality videos. Because there are higher quality contributors, there is less poorly made content to wade through. With its integrity and aesthetically pleasing cinematography that is frankly just nicer to watch, Vimeo is a great contender among platforms of its kind. Major aspects that set Vimeo and similar professional-level platforms apart from YouTube are its lack of third party advertisements, bandwith caps, or time limits on video content for Plus, Pro, and Business users. On the other hand, Vimeo users have to deal with upload limits regardless of plan. It also touts just over 170 million viewers per month, which is far less traffic than on YouTube—about 20% less, in fact.

Quality vs. quantity is the question that comes to mind, especially when considering the higher bitrates and high quality 4K video that Vimeo supports. Other features include advanced analytics and a range of privacy settings, including password protection. While both YouTube and Vimeo have free plans with limited options, Vimeo’s paid plans are cost effective. Also similarly to YouTube, it is not ideal for technical support, especially when it comes to live streaming—responses take between 4 hours on business days and 24 hours on weekends. Of course, the difference here is that there is still tangible customer support.  All in all, Vimeo is a wonderful and viable alternative for video hosting and streaming.

ServerRoom 

For a dedicated hosting and streaming service, ServerRoom might be considered the complete package. It is a feature-rich, higher end video platform that is definitive of what higher end services have to offer, and like other services with paid plans, it leaves advertisements as well as time and bandwidth limits at the doorstep. Going one step further, it offers unlimited storage and unlimited plays which, surprisingly enough, YouTube also offers (but Vimeo does not). Unlike YouTube, all aspects of what the viewer sees is controlled by the host. For professional organizations, having control over what your viewers see before, during, and after your video content is not just preferable, but necessary. This is significantly easier to do with the addition of white label players offered by ServerRoom, which allows for complete customization.

Despite being a dedicated service with all the bells and whistles, ServerRoom is still just that—dedicated. All paid plans come with 24/7 phone and chat support without sacrificing quality, which cannot be said of other contenders. Advanced include user analytics, adaptive multi-bitrate streaming, and VAST Ads integration for easy monetization, On the other hand, it is also on the higher end in terms of cost, but makes up for it in substance—substantive content leads to more substantive user engagement, which makes ServerRoom a worthy investment for your business or organization.

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How to Grow Your Audience with Live Streaming

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If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if one streams live content to no audience, did they stream anything at all?

By now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise—online video is a powerful tool that is loved by consumers around the world, and its popularity and usefulness are only going to continue to grow. But the ‘live’ aspect of live video is an element that taps into the fear of missing out that people tend to have. It is a form of video marketing that is time-sensitive and entices consumers with the illusion of exclusivity. In this way, it makes them want to engage with live video content here and now (or whenever your stream begins).

The statistics can confirm this. Live video generates ten times as many comments as on-demand video. There’s more of an incentive to tune in, and that generates the kind of positive buzz that is needed to build a brand. A good way to think of live streaming is FaceTime between you or your event and your specific audience. Jim Toben, the president of Ignite Social Media, describes live streaming as “trust content”, because it allows brands to have face-to-face time with their audience. This allows viewers to connect to your content in a personal way, which makes it an extremely effective way of communicating to consumers.

So the question to ask is, how does one get an audience to tune in and stay tuned in?

Generating Buzz.

Getting people talking is the best way to ensure that your stream picks up momentum and maximizes its potential viewership before it even begins. Create event pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like. This is free to do and grants exposure on social media, which draws in new viewers. If you are streaming a live event, announce it well in advance. In general, large scale events should be announced six to eight weeks prior, and can be followed up with reminders on social media. Hashtag blessed, anyone? Generate a relevant, catchy, and memorable hashtag, add it to all of your event content, and encourage your viewers to to share on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. It’s a simple way to create brand recognition and spread the message.

Providing Value.

Perhaps the most important thing is to provide an experience that makes viewers feel that their time spent on a stream is time well spent. Familiarize yourself with your audience enough to know what they want, and make sure that they know that they are on the receiving end of valuable video content. For example, a live stream for a business may give viewers a first look at exclusive new products. Apple does this all the time, and one might say that they’re pretty successful. Similarly, a musician may give his or her viewers a sneak peek at a new song or a church may drop a hot new sermon for their respective audiences. Essentially, ask yourself why the viewer should tune in and be able to answer accordingly.

Engagement.

Engaging with your audience is not just suggested, but critical. One cannot participate in FaceTime if there is nobody on the other end. Keeping viewers interested in a live stream calls for interaction. This can be done by using platforms that enable commenting and live chat. Facebook Live is a good example of live stream chats done right, as it allows the streamer to view comments as they are made and respond accordingly, which facilitates two-way conversation. Of course, any successful streaming platform has a recording feature that saves your live content as on-demand video for later viewing. It is important to continue the conversation beyond the stream and respond to questions and comments.

Timing.

According to Adobe, attendees of leadership webinars watched for an average of 54 minutes. Audiences in gaming live stream communities such as Twitch have been known to watch as many as six hours of gaming streams. User engagement is dependent on the users themselves in tandem with the content being presented, which is why a streaming platform that comes with user analytics is so important. This way, it is easy to track who watches what and for how long. On a larger scale, however, webinars held on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are recorded to have the best attendance in a survey of over 7000 events conducted by ON24. It is best to have work or business related events mid-week, but of course, this should be taken with a pinch of salt—again, it depends on your specific audience. As a general rule of thumb, keep it concise and engage viewers early. A study by Wistia exhibits that the more viewers you can hook for, say, the first two minutes of a sixty minute stream, the longer they are likely to stay.

Feedback.

The fun shouldn’t end when the stream ends. Data from the same study suggests that the best way to keep users engaged is with interactive activity and feedback. Afterwards, ask viewers about their experience. What did they like? Dislike? Feel ‘meh’ about? What was the best part? What did they gain from the stream, and what can you do to improve the next one? This is only one way to extend engagement past the live stream, although it can also be done livethat’s encouraged! Polls are a useful tool for both receiving feedback and getting people involved. In fact, the highest participation among interactive activities during live video streams (when offered) is with polls. Always keep in mind that the audience, who in this case happens to be the person your video content is FaceTiming, is an integral aspect of the live stream.

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The Top 7 Live Streaming Platforms You Need To Know

comaprisonMark Zuckerburg referred to our current era of tech as the “golden age for live video”. In fact, he predicted that soon, most of the content people will be seeing and sharing (on Facebook) on a daily basis will be video. Speaking generally, he’s not wrong—roughly 86% of internet users around the world are watching and sharing videos online. Recently, the tide has turned considerably in favor of live streams, and the sheer number of streaming platforms popping up on the web prove it.

When it comes to choosing a live streaming platform, it’s not about choosing the “best” in any one category, whether it’s popularity or affordability. Choosing a platform is about determining which is best suited to you, the publisher. The questions to keep in mind are; which features do you require of a streaming service at what budget, and which platform best conforms to those?

The services you are likely already familiar with are YouTube and Facebook. These are undoubtedly the most widely recognized, although they are definitely not designed exclusively around live streaming and are extremely limited in that capacity. They are, however, free, popular, and accessible by pretty much anyone with an internet connection and the need for online validation in the form of likes.

YouTube Live

Pros:

  • Free!
  • Viewers can pause, rewind, and resume while streaming
  • Accessible – starting a live stream is a breeze, as users are most likely already familiar with the on-demand platform

Cons:

  • No paywall
  • Must give up distribution rights to your content
  • YouTube bot detects and shuts down streams with copyrighted music

Facebook Live

Pros:

  • Free!
  • Easy setup in seconds for anybody with a Facebook page
  • Broadcast remains on the feed as on-demand video
  • Reach – people who have already liked a page receive notifications about live streams as well as seeing the stream on their news feed

 

Cons:

  • No support
  • No paywall
  • No geo-restriction
  • Time limits – longer streams may require Facebook verification

So, if your low-budget is really no-budget, YouTube Live and Facebook Live are still decent platforms to stream your content.  They are directly integrated into the largest media and social media platforms in the world, respectively, but are 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, and we have taken the liberty of compiling them below. The top paid platforms combine hosting, broadcasting, embedding, monetizing, and user analytics into all-inclusive packages. Some of the essential factors taken into consideration are listed in the table below.

Platforms ServerRoom.net Livestream Wowza Ustream DaCast
Price FREE or $39/mo – $499 mo $40/mo – $200/mo $49/mo – $799/mo $99/mo – $999/mo $19/mo – $390/mo
Storage Unlimited Unlimited 50GB 50GB 20GB
24/7 Support √ (phone) X From $500/mo X √ (email)
Ad Free Viewer Hours Unlimited Unlimited 10 100 300
White Label From $799/mo From $999/mo
Analytics From $199/mo From $499/mo
Paywall X From $1199/mo From $999/mo X

 

 

ServerRoom

Pros

  • Free plan available
  • Unlimited storage and unlimited plays
  • VR and 360 enabled
  • Simulcast to Youtube and Facebook
  • Adaptive bitrate, DVR, and nDVR options
  • Free encoding software, compatible with any H.264 encoder
  • Integrates with DRM
  • 24/7 phone support for all paid plans

Cons

  • No proprietary Paywall, although it can be integrated with Cleeng.

Livestream

Pros:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Integrated streaming to Facebook Live
  • Possess their own camera systems, encoders, and free encoding software

Cons:

  • Live stream support only available with pricey custom plans
  • Limited customization of embedded player
  • Limited to one channel

Wowza

Pros

  • nDVR
  • VR and 360 enabled
  • Integrated streaming to Facebook Live
  • Live support during live events w premium packages

Cons

  • Limited customer support
  • Limited to one channel
  • No paywall

Ustream

Pros

  • Free 30-day trial
  • Password protection
  • Simple interface – start streaming as soon as five minutes after purchase
  • Works with every hardware and software encoder on the market

Cons

  • Limited to one channel
  • No 24/7 support
  • No paywall

DaCast

Pros

  • Password protection
  • Digital rights management
  • Custom paywalls and pay-per-view
  • Integrated streaming to Facebook Live

Cons

  • Minimum 3 – 12 month commitment
  • Slow customer support response

Got something that just has to be seen by an audience in real time, right now? Whether you’re spreading team spirit for the big game or preaching to the choir at church service, you can rest assured that, each of these paid live streaming platforms deliver high quality content securely at lightning fast speeds, provide APIs that make integration with distribution channels effortless, and in most cases, provide tangible customer support.

 

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JW Video Streaming Alternatives: Dacast and ServerRoom.net

winnerEverybody on social media nowadays—and that’s most people—is familiar with live streaming in one form or another. It’s everywhere, and people and businesses are quickly adapting and taking advantage of the streaming boom. As more and more live streaming platforms become available, deciding on the best option for your specific needs can be a hassle. To make the task easier, below is a side-by-side comparison of three different but uniquely advantageous platforms.

 

  1. JW Player

Since its inception in 2005, JW Player has made a name for itself as one of the most commonly used video players in the game.  JW Player was the chosen platform for YouTube before it was acquired by YouTube. At the moment, the JWPLayer HTML5 video player is installed on more than 2 million websites. That’s a whole lot.

JW Live is one of the most recent additions to this video platform giant. This new live streaming service, while comprehensive, is only available to Enterprise customers. Its main selling point? JW Live promises to be easy to use. The most promising aspect of the streaming service is that it is a step above the original JWPlayer, which is already recognized for its wealth of features. The advanced features supported by JW Live’s HTML5 player include MPEG-DASH playback, CSS skinning, and DRM among others. It also boasts real-time audience analytics and Facebook Live simulcasting. Adaptive HLS automatically adjusts video quality to connection speeds on any given device.

While it is a good big-budget streaming option, JW Live does not come without drawbacks. It is not ideal as a long-term live streaming solution. According to the JW Player site, it is strictly for event-based live streams and cannot support 24/7 broadcasts. These event streams only last for up to six hours. It also lacks the ability to support a paywall for monetizing videos or provide video playback on a Facebook news feed. Customer support also leaves something to be desired—it is limited to email support regardless of which plan one chooses, with premium support offering responses within two business hours at the least. For a service that runs on the expensive side, these are major drawbacks.

 

  • Free Plan
    • 25 GB of monthly bandwidth
    • 10,000 video plays per month
  • Premium Plan – $299 per year
    • 250 GB of bandwidth per month
    • 100,000 video plays per month
    • HLS adaptive streaming
    • Multi-bitrate HD encoding
    • Airplay/Chromecast
  • Platinum Plan– $999 per year:
    • 500 GB of monthly bandwidth
  • 200,000 video plays per month,
  • Support for HTML5 and mobile advertising via VAST or VPAID
  • Google IMA integration
  • Mobile SDKs

 

 

  1. DaCast

DaCast, on the other hand, is mainly dedicated to live video streaming and is known for just that. It was founded in 2010 and is based in San Francisco. It promises fast, simple, no-frills service.

This platform deploys content using Akamai CDN, which is considered a leading CDN. In other words, content is delivered at lightning fast speeds. It has custom features for monetizing content, such as an integrated payment system with a payment option directly in the video window, which is not found on platforms like JW Player. Like with a number of other services, it includes HTML5 and Flash functionality and defaults to whichever is supported on the device being used. DaCast is a white label service, meaning that one has the ability to customize and brand video content, free of company logos like with Facebook and YouTube. Its advanced features also include geographic fencing, social integration, and digital rights management.

DaCast offers around the clock support, however, 24/7 phone support is only available to Pro and Premier users. This may be a huge inconvenience to users who are just starting out. Users must also commit to a three month minimum when paying month-to-month, and there are additional storage fees of $0.15 per GB over plan bandwidth limits. Encoders for DaCast depend on selected stream configurations, and setup is not as quick and easy as claimed. While DaCast is a decent competitor in the parabolic ring of live streaming platforms, its limited tech support and lack of user friendliness sets it back.

  • Basic Plan – $19 per month:
    • 100 GB of bandwidth
  • Pro Plan – $165 per month:
    • 2 TB of bandwidth
    • 125 GB of storage
    • Phone support
  • Premier Plan– $390 per month:
    • 5 TB of bandwidth
    • 250 GB of storage
    • Phone support
  1. ServerRoom.net

ServerRoom has been around since 2004, establishing itself as the longest running video platform in comparison to DaCast and JW Player. It is similar to DaCast in the sense that its entire premise is an online management platform with which you can upload and manage content and set up live streams, and is an excellent candidate for all live streaming purposes. The aspects that make the ServerRoom platform stand out are ease of access, consistent quality, and superior customer support.

This platform offers customizable, fully managed streaming services designed for small or large scale broadcasters to any size audience, with the ability to broadcast live or pre-recorded video on any device and support up to 1,000,000 simultaneous connections; setting up and tuning in are, in fact, as fast and simple as promised. There are no bandwidth limits and plans are commitment-free.

ServerRoom includes an array of advanced features, including adaptive multi-bitrate streaming and feature-rich transcoding options. The user possesses the ability to record broadcasts, either on its servers or on the user’s device.  Not to be outdone by its competitors, ServerRoom also has MPEG-Dash, RTMP and HLS protocols for rich media delivery, DRM integration, white label players, and geo-fencing. It can provide distribution across all platforms (free of charge) and VAST ads integration for easy monetization of video content.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of ServerRoom, however, is its unparalleled technical and customer support. For all paid plans, there is 24/7 telephone support. Whichever service you decide on, dedication to the customer sets ServerRoom apart in the vast, puzzling sea of live streaming platforms.

 

  • Free Plan
    • 25GB monthly streaming
    • Unlimited plays
    • HTML5/Flash player
  • Simple Plan – $39/mo
    • 1 TB monthly streaming
    • Unlimited plays and storage
    • 24/7 support
  • Premium Plan – $99/mo
    • 5 TB monthly streaming
    • Unlimited plays and storage
    • White label players
    • 24/7 priority support
  • Enterprise – $499/mo
    • 25TB monthly streaming
    • Unlimited plays and storage
    • White label players
    • VAST Ads Integration
    • DRM integration
    • Dedicated account manager
    • Free mobile app
    • 24/7 priority support
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Why The Future of Sports Broadcasting is Now: Rio 2016 and More

It is a truth universally acknowledged: people like sports. Some of the most viewed broadcasts on TV are sporting events, and they make up 40% of the content that people watch on TV. The 2012 Olympic Games were the most watched sshutterstock_153142547porting event in television history with a massive global in-home audience of 3.6 billion viewers, followed by the 2014 World Cup, which raked in 3.2 billion viewers.

This World Cup also saw a 36% increase in broadcast hours in comparison to the previous one, which can perhaps be attributed to the rise of online streaming—according to STATS, over 280 million people watched games on their devices, which would also make it the most digitally connected World Cup of all time.

Now, as the 2016 Olympic Games approach following a summer of soccer—both the Euro cup and Copa America were held this year—lovers of the beautiful game and fair weather fans alike seem to be asking themselves “streaming or cable?” just as often as they ask, “soccer or football?” While there are many names for the beautiful game, it doesn’t necessarily exist as a binary, but the mediums with which people tune in often do. The number of traditional TV subscriptions are declining as more and more fans opt for streaming services to keep up with their favorite teams, and there are a considerable amount—86% of Americans consider themselves sports fans, and among these, 90% follow more than one sport and/or team.

The act of swapping traditional TV for streaming services such as Roku is often referred to as ‘cord-cutting’ and will see considerable growth in the coming years. As the media tides are shifting, so is the market for sports broadcasting. Jeffery I. Cole, founder and director of the Center for the Digital Future (CDF), says that “…sports continue to gain importance among all content — in some cases, it is the only must-see live content left”. Fans would undeniably agree, which is probably why so many are willing to shell out for expensive cable subscriptions to watch games. This is no longer the case with the rise of sports streaming subscriptions.

A study released by the CDF found that fans are clearly shifting preferences, behavior, and spending—in fact, they are willing to pay more for streaming. 56% said that they were willing to spend a higher proportion of their budget per month on online streaming than on cable or satellite channels. This is especially true for the younger, more digitally-inclined generation: millenials are willing to pay more for subscription services, although the same applies for dedicated sports fans of all ages.

And why wouldn’t they? With live sports streaming, they have the option to view more than one game at a time across multiple devices. They can choose from packages which include press conferences and post-game analysis that is specific to their sport or team. Just look at the popularity of existing subscription streaming services such as FOX Soccer. Better yet, look towards the future—more than 4,500 hours of this year’s Olympic Games will be streamed live, and experts predict that, with the availability of streaming services, it will shatter records for live-streaming sporting events. Perhaps there is an Olympic medal for that?

Live sports streaming is a way to reach fans across the globe, across geographical and political divides, regardless of team or nationality. It connects people through one easily accessible medium, even in areas where people may not even own a TV. Even among rural populations, mobile devices are more common. So whether you are a die-hard soccer/football/futbol fan or a young Brazilian national without access to cable, there is an easier way to be a part of the pomp and competition through streaming.

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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.

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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.

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