Live streaming and virtual events are a shifting landscape of new technology and a minefield of infrastructure. Setting up multiple cameras, calling in remote presenters, making sure the WiFi is strong enough, picking the best streaming platform, and then making sure that the password for the stream doesn't get shared and 20,000 freeloaders crush your web server.
Live stream production is a relatively new field compared to other parts of the event planner's jobs. Stage sets, cameras, lights, mics, and speakers have all been around for decades. The ability to take your event or virtual summit from inside the 4 walls of your venue (or home office) and broadcast them in real-time to every corner of the globe used to be something only major brands and telecoms could successfully execute. Now with streaming platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram IG TV, and Twitter, you can 5X or 10X the reach of the major channels.
I assume if you're still reading, you don't need to be convinced that live streaming is a good or worthy idea. So, how do you successfully execute a live stream for your event?
There are 3 questions that you need to consider carefully:
- How will your prospective viewers buy a ticket?
- How will people watch the stream?
- How will you protect your stream?
Step 1: Sell Tickets to your live stream
In order to have a successful event live stream, you must be able to sell tickets. This means having a landing page (that converts), setting up an e-commerce checkout, and the ability to create accounts for your viewers to log in securely with and watch your content.
Step 2: Stream your live or virtual event.
Delivering live video on time and in high quality (HD video) is extremely important to maintaining a high concurrent user level. The choice in the streaming platform is incredibly important because moving your video content after the stream is over can be extremely cumbersome and not all platforms are made equal.
Should I use a Free or paid platform to live stream my event?
This is the major question you need to answer first.
A free platform will keep things simple, as they are designed for the average social media user to be able to create live video content from their phone or laptop. This also means that they are typically devoid of rich features and offer little to no security for your content. This means your stream quality will not stand out and it’s very difficult to charge money for the stream as you can’t stop it from being shared for free.
A paid platform can add complexity, but with it comes a wealth of rich media features and security to ensure that your content stands out, looks crisp, and is only watched by those who paid for it. What about the downside to a paid platform? Along with more features can come complexity of setup, requiring more effort on the setup.
The choice between free and paid can be broken down simply: Do you plan to charge for your event? If you want to offer this for free, YouTube or Vimeo are great choices. If you plan on charging for the live stream and would also like to package this into a VoD product to be sold afterwards, a paid platform is your best bet.
Getting video sources to the internet
Getting your video stream to the internet from your location is a critical step in live streaming a live event and also has the most risk of failure. Ensuring that your feed is stable and resilient is paramount. There are many hardware companies to choose from, we suggest using live stream hardware that has Cellular LTE backup built-in, incase your wifi or main internet connection has issues during your event.
If you’re broadcasting from home or a small office, check out OBS for a free solution that works right from your laptop!
Step 3: Protect your content
Content protection is crucial to a successful live stream. Making sure that your content does not get pirated causing lost revenue, or even worse, your stream passwords get shared and potentially cause too many people to log on and crash the entire stream for all the (paid) viewers.
Be sure to select a live stream platform that has encryption enabled for your video with token-based authentication for each play. This makes sure that your content is secure, each and every time that it’s viewed.
Creating a successful live stream event is all down to pre-planning and choosing the right platforms for your workflow and production equipment. We are of course partial to our platform Catapult, but there are many other solid choices like DaCast, BoxCast, or Vimeo OTT.
Get in touch with us if you have any questions or need help choosing a platform.