Live streaming has become a veritable sensation in technology circles, with the bigwigs of communication technology vouching for its relevance and potential. With the likes of Facebook and Google investing millions of dollars in live video features, live streaming has snatched the spotlight from its erstwhile, significantly larger counterparts like archived videos and on-demand content. Streaming has revolutionised the way that users seek content. Live streaming has been commoditised and a host of companies are jumping on board to make it a regular feature in their communication plan. Regardless of the nature of your communication, a live feed can be tailored to fit your content effectively.
Today, we take a look at two technology behemoths who have taken the live streaming industry by storm: Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Facebook Live Video Streaming
Facebook Live is an intelligent extension to the Facebook core service. With the potential to tap thousands of people at a time, the Facebook Live service instantly notifies those following a page about the start of a live feed, drawing immediate users. The Live service is fairly simple on Facebook. The live streaming feature can be started from any Facebook-supported device and the system is as simple as posting a status message. However, it is important to note that live streaming is currently only supported on Facebook pages, not on personal profiles.
Initiation Process for Facebook Live Video Streaming
- Create a Facebook account
- Verify your account
- Create a Facebook page
- Set your video bit rate at or below 2500 Kbps
- Set your resolution at or below 1280 x 720
- Establish frames per second at 30
- Configure relevant video and audio sources
- Install encoding software
- Visit page and select ‘Publishing Tools’ > ‘Video’ > ‘Live’
- Enter the stream URL generated by Facebook into your encoder
- Enter a description overleaf
- Select ‘Go Live’ to kickstart your Facebook live stream
Merits of Facebook Live Video Streaming
- Facebook has a pre-built audience
- Facebook Live API is compatible with avant-garde cameras
- Facebook Live API pairs high-quality cameras with its inbuilt workflows
Demerits of Facebook Live Video Streaming
- Facebook Live content is not indexed in search engines
- Search engine optimisation becomes challenging as a result
- Facebook searches for live streams can be ineffective and complicated
- Older Facebook live streams can get buried under heaps of newer content
- The video interface on Facebook is no patch on specialised interfaces like YouTube
- The upper resolution limit sits at only 720p HD and not full HD
- The upper bit rate limit sits at only 2500 Kbps
- A Facebook live stream cannot exceed 90 minutes
- Facebook does not extend monetisation avenues to broadcasters
YouTube Live Video Streaming
Google’s very own live streaming platform, YouTube live is a much more conducive live broadcasting tool than Facebook Live. And while it’s fairly basic, it has myriad features packed into its folds.
Initiation Process for YouTube Live Video Streaming
- Create a YouTube/Google account
- Verify your account
- Create an additional AdSense account if you plan on embedding your stream on another webpage
- Connect your camera or webcam to your laptop or desktop
- Click on ‘Stream now’ to begin streaming
- Alternatively, select ‘Events’ to schedule a live event
- ‘Events’ lets you augment the quality of your YouTube live stream by using superior cameras and encoders
Merits of YouTube Live Video Streaming
- YouTube live streams are indexable on search engines
- YouTube live streams have the potential to stack quite high on Google as well as other engines
- The browsing experience on YouTube is easy and user-friendly
- YouTube has been developed to be be a forever archive of videos whereas Facebook is skewed towards current content
- YouTube Live API allows concurrent streaming across services and also allows the integration of apps with YouTube live stream
Demerits of YouTube Live Video Streaming
- YouTube live streams can result in a loss of content control due to its advertising policy
- YouTube ranks amongst the most-blocked services in the world
Other Live Video Streaming Providers
While Facebook and YouTube are amongst the most recognised live streaming providers in the world, they are only symbolic of the vast opportunity that exists in live streaming today. For entrepreneurs and marketers who are in search of a more augmented, professional live streaming experience, a tailor-made platform could work best. By opting to host your own stream, you can leverage novel monetisation techniques, diverse concurrent live streams and personalised features. Exclusive turnkey frameworks can help in the following ways:
- Monetisation of live streams
- Absence of competition on the same platform
- Gated access to specific geographical regions
- Use of custom videos
- Concurrent broadcasts
- Preservation of content rights
- Specialised technical platform support
Most exclusive live streaming frameworks encompass all of the aforementioned features at a certain fee. The pricing for these platforms varies greatly; while some are built for bigger businesses, others are built for smaller ones.
Here are the top 5 turnkey frameworks in the market.
Ustream is a high-standing live streaming provider and has been leading the market since its launch.
Ustream offers security features, embedding, playlist controls and social links. The framework also provides marketing intelligence, lead capture and analytics. Ustream comes with an API that allows streamers to navigate their content; in addition, it hosts a Player API and Channel API that control customisation.
Livestream is rooted in inclusive integration. Along with its framework, it also offers hardware such as encoders and cameras to power an end-to-end installation.
Livestream offers analytics, custom support and tracking tools, although these offerings are differentiated across pricing plans. The Livestream API framework is divided into three classes: API tools, Channel API and Player API, which work together to let you personalise, control and tweak your streams.
Brightcove has been designed especially for mid-range to larger businesses. It offers an array of monetisation tools as well as transcoding technology. The platform is directed at businesses that provide media and over-the-top content.
Brightcove provides ad-block technology, lead capture tools and integration features that plug into partner platforms. Brightcove houses a Media API as well as a host of other APIs that underpin the product categories of Brightcove.
Wowza has two primary offerings: Wowza Streaming Cloud and Wowza Streaming Engine.
Wowza Streaming Cloud is a cloud-based streaming tool that upholds 4K streaming, security features and a white label service. Wowza Streaming Engine is a software that lets you establish a streaming framework on your own servers.
StreamNow is a versatile, inclusive software that has made waves in technology communities across the globe. Designed exclusively for small and mid-sized businesses, it is an ideal combination of utility and aesthetics. Plus, it is affordable and can be set up swiftly.
StreamNow offers superior live streaming quality, customisation features, a sturdy admin console and fluidity across devices and operating systems. Its technology stack, which includes WebRTC, Node.js and Bootstrap, rivals some of the best live streaming frameworks in the world. StreamNow can be plugged into your existing technology stack.
Whatever your budget, objective and size, there’s always a way that you can use live streaming to build your business. Pick a live streaming technology that complements your business and get started on your journey.