Choosing a Platform to Live Stream from Home
For people used to live productions, we are entering a time of uncertainty as smaller crowds become commonplace, and people are wary of going out. The best way to reach your audience now is streaming online!
In the past few months alone, streaming and binge watching around the world has gone up over 65%, with HBO Go reporting a 70% increase. It’s no wonder so many creative professionals are turning to online streaming to meet the demand of this growing market.
But how can you stream live shows like a pro? The answer isn’t as complicated as you think! You don’t need a lot of professional equipment to get started. Just the willingness to learn, and may be a bit of creativity.
The first and most important step is, of course, choosing a platform. The focus of this article will be to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, so you can make the best decision depending on what kind of content you want to create.
Facebook is by far one of the most popular streaming platforms with a broad international audience. Facebook offers several key advantages:
- Wide reach extending to a large audience of many different age ranges
- Rich features including live commenting and reactions
- Cross-promotion with other Facebook pages. This means you can stream live on multiple locations like pages and groups to expand your audience and collaborate with other content creators.
- Notifications that let your followers and friends know that you’re going live
- Past recordings can be easily archived on your page for easy viewing in case some people can’t tune in live
- Somewhat surprisingly, a Facebook account is not actually required for people to tune in!
Facebook has stronger and more active censorship algorithms than most other streaming platforms, which means they could mute or cut off your broadcast if any copyrighted material (like songs or video/movie clips) is detected. If you plan on using copyrighted material as part of your live stream, this limitation may be a deal breaker. However, if you’re sharing completely original content, Facebook is a strong choice!
Instagram skews younger, and has exploded in growth over the past few years. It shares many of the same strengths as Facebook, though it doesn’t quite work the same way. The advantages:
- Widely-used platform, though the audience skews younger
- Followers receive notifications as soon as you go live
- Your live status also appears at the top of the splash page
- Generally less programming to compete with as it’s not as popular as Facebook Live
- Offers the same rich interactions and comments as Facebook
Instagram, however, is a little more limited. As of now, you can only use it on your phone via the app and your phone’s built-in camera, and videos only display in portrait mode. This is a great way to create more “informal” content or just talk to your audience in a more candid way, though it is more challenging to produce a high-budget video with Instagram.
The same censorship algorithms affect Instagram, so be careful when using copyrighted material. You will also be limited to a one hour stream on Instagram, so if you’re producing longer form content, you may want to go live elsewhere, or use Instagram as a way to get your followers to check out your content on a different platform.
Twitch is a rising star in the streaming world. Once a niche platform for gamers streaming their gameplay, now Twitch has become the platform of choice for many content creators. The advantages:
- Monetized incentives for streamers with larger followings
- Ability to use copyrighted material during live stream
- Comments and interactions (and so many emojis!)
- Twitch account not needed to watch
Obviously, Twitch isn’t quite as ubiquitous as Instagram and Facebook, however the platform itself is quite intuitive and the app also works quite well. It’s a versatile platform that has been the top choice for performers who use clips of copyrighted material for their performances. You can also archive your live streams on Twitch for up to 14 days after they’ve been recorded.
YouTube is of course one of the most popular video streaming platforms in the world. YouTube live, however, is a lesser-known feature that isn’t quite as robust and interactive as the other platforms. Rather than using YouTube Live, we recommend having a YouTube channel as a backup platform for all your pre-recorded content. This is a much better way to utilize the platform, though be warned that YouTube will mute or remove content that contains copyrighted material.
Get cracking! It’s time to get out there and make some great content. Just because the world is mostly staying home these days doesn’t mean you have to limit your creativity. If anything this is just a new opportunity for you to create exciting new content that you might not have otherwise tried!
Have any opinions on the above streaming platforms? Let us know in the comments.
WRITTEN BYRicardo Glencasa
I'm an expat from Canada living in Vietnam.
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