Alternatives to YouTube: Battle of the Video Platform

shutterstock_256772473

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Alternatives to YouTube: Battle of the Video Platform

How to Grow Your Audience with Live Streaming

shutterstock_361828142

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on How to Grow Your Audience with Live Streaming

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.

 

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on The Top 7 Live Streaming Platforms You Need To Know

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
Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on JW Video Streaming Alternatives: Dacast and ServerRoom.net

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Why The Future of Sports Broadcasting is Now: Rio 2016 and More

How Can Audio Streaming Benefit Your Business?

shutterstock_286965218

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on How Can Audio Streaming Benefit 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.

Posted in Audio Streaming, Online Radio, Streaming Services | Comments Off on The Internet Didn’t Kill the Radio Star

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Appealing to Millenials with Easy-Access Visual Media

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.

pearl

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.

a

 

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.

3

 

 

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.

b

 

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.

 

e

 

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.

 

 

r

 

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.

 

y

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Make Your Live Stream More Dynamic With Epiphan and Primcast

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.

Posted in Streaming Services | Comments Off on Using Live Streaming to Promote Your Brand