YouTube Live. Facebook live. Instagram Live Stories. Periscope. Live.ly. The options are many for today’s smartphone uses to live streaming their everyday life.
But, a standalone live streaming software is simply inadequate to take on the needs of dynamic live streaming. The need of the hour is a flawless video on demand solution with high-end security and utility features.
But, what distinguishes a video on demand solution from a software? A software usually works as a standalone program. The facilities are largely limited compared to the extensive and expandable feature list of a live streaming solution.
Let’s take a look at a perfect live video solution from a broader perspective. On the outset, it should be able to cater to three different purposes:
1. The Viewer Side
2. The Technical side
3. The Business Side
The Viewer Side
The viewer or the end-user is the individual who will pay to watch your live video streams. Apart from the content quality, they will have certain expectations from the live video streaming platform. Some of them include:
From Camera to Any Device Playback
IT infrastructure to source RAW feeds from camera or cloud video database to viewer screen. An intricate process of encoding and transcoding happens before the live video reaches the user screen as vivid visuals.
The RAW video feed from event as captured by camera reaches the video encoder where it is processed, compressed and made fit for live streaming in adaptive bit rate to end user screen. The video distribution could be to any device in any platform including website, mobile app, video streaming websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc.
HTML5 Support High Definition Playback
With RTMP and HTML5 support you can stream live videos to devices ranging from wall-size LED screens to pocket-size smartphones. And video rendering can be controlled in order provide video playback irrespective of a user’s network conditions.
A state-of-the-art live video streaming solution will come with adaptive bitrate live streaming which ensures your audience get a smooth experience besides getting to watch high quality video.
CDN – For Swift Buffer-Free Streaming
Live videos attract users from all corners of the world. Streaming videos with perfect picture quality and in real-time can be quite a challenge. To ensure that your audience get a glitch-free live video experience across all distances, you need to have a distributed network of servers.
CDNs help achieve super-fast video streaming by tracing the IP location of the user and streaming the live video from the nearest server possible. This form of CDN based live streaming is something that only a live video streaming platform can provide and never a standalone software.
The Technical Side
The nitty gritty that runs behind the scenes of a live video streaming solution is hard to guess. Nevertheless, it is the heart and soul that will give long life to your live streaming business. Here is what a solution offers better than a software.
Cloud Hosting on Amazon, Azure, Akamai
Live streaming needs reliable cloud hosting. Cloud enables content to be delivered as well as parallely stored for future download or playback. Amazon Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Akamai Server are some of the popular offerings that video live streaming services rely on.
Depending on your traffic estimate and also scalability demands, you can opt for cloud computing tools and host data with high security. Cloud hosting ensures that even during peak traffic, the infrastructure is flexibly upsized or downsized to ensure delivery consistency.
RTMP & HLS – For Multiple Device Compatibility
Any live streaming platform provider will want to Stream live videos to all devices that viewers watch videos on. A live streaming video platform with RTMP and HLS compatibility will facilitate catering videos all audience who use Android. iOS or Windows tablets and smartphones, iPhone, iPad, Smart TVs, PCs, laptops and much more for their video consumption.
Media Asset Security (DRM)
The recent Mayweather – McGregor fight was watched by an approximate 2.9 Million viewers through pirated live streams. Pirated livestreams cost media houses and sponsored events millions of money every year.
To prevent such security issues from cropping during live streaming, live streaming services should be equipped with media security measures like Digital Rights Management; AES Encryption; IP, location and similar parameter based access controls.
The Business Side
Extracting maximum revenue, securing brand identity and ensuring viewer needs are met with end-to-end customization. Here is how live streaming location trumps ordinary software products with high-end features:
Multiple Revenue Models – SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, PPV
Extract maximum financial returns from your live streams with multi-format revenue models consisting of pre, mid and post-roll Ads, sponsorship, subscriptions, pay per view model and many others. But, leveraging all these revenue models is not possible unless your live streaming platform is built with paywall integrations.
SVOD – Subscription Video On demand that charges subscribers a periodic fee to access selective programs
TVOD – Transactional video on demand where viewers pay for each piece of content
AVOD – Advertising VOD, basically VOD which is free for viewers but comes with mandatory ad insertions
Pay Per View – Viewers can purchase access to view specific individual content pieces of private telecast
Paywall Integrated Video Player Optimized for Best UI/UX
If you are planning to be a live video streaming service provider who charges viewers on a pay per view basis or a periodic basis it is better to have an exclusive paywall integrated video player.
An exclusive video player that lets you have full control over managing videos and can be personalized for visual aesthetics as well. DVR support lets users shuffle back and forth to various parts of live streaming or record it completely for a future watch.
Reports and Analytics to Know Viewer Preferences in and out
Live video streaming services should be measurable. The platform must be able to tell you accurate metrics like:
Number of viewers
The insights so gathered should also be available for a comparative study or to create a consolidated report that helps you analyze user behaviour, quality of your service and be proactive for future demands.
Branding & Video Ownership
A live streaming software, or for the matter any live streaming software is rigid. It cannot be customized to meet the unique and evolving business needs of the live streaming platform provider.
On the other hand, a live streaming solution is like a turnkey solution that can improvised, downsized to accommodate the personalization needs of the provider. CDN configuration, video player, cloud setup, integrations and anything that the business demands can be perfectly bolted in.
Furthermore, a solution also helps brand the video with the publisher/distributor’s logo or watermarks to prevent it from being redistributed or pirated by other users.
Live video streaming services are booming. Facebook is said to have signed up live streaming contracts to the tune of $40 Million. There is still more coming for sure! Are you geared up the ride the wave of live streaming.