3 Industries That Have Successfully Monetized Live Streaming

3 Industries

Success means different things to different people. (Though I think we can all safely agree that this NBA team nabbed it recently.)

Organizations have, in our view, hit a homerun with live stream monetization when they have:

  • A carefully thought-out strategy for monetizing their stream.
  • Seen the live streaming process through to the best of their ability.
  • Reinvested monies earned to help cover expenses and/or improve their live stream.

Success with monetization is not about how much money you make; that’s all relative. It’s about realizing the value of your product and taking action to preserve it. Even a small profit can make a big difference in the health and growth of your live streaming program. So if you’re just starting to explore how to make money streaming online, first consider what success means to you, then go from there.

Here are a few of the industries we’ve seen that are experiencing success in this area. If you’re thinking of ways to monetize your live stream, consider taking a page out of their playbook.

Is your organization missing an opportunity to profit from its live stream? Get this free guide to learn more about your monetization options and how to know if monetization is the right move for you.

Three Industries Doing Live Stream Monetization Successfully

1. Sports

We’ve mentioned the Northwoods League before in this blog—the largest organized baseball league in the world. Its pay-per-view (PPV) games draw an audience of roughly a million people, and the money earned is mostly reinvested in its live streaming program. Over time, the PPV live stream has enabled the league to purchase new video equipment for all of its ballparks, which continues to boost the quality of each broadcast.

In my experience, sports organizations at all levels have great potential for generating a profit from their live streaming. Aside from having a product surrounded by a sense of urgency (most people prefer watching a live streamed game—soccer fans, check out NBCUniversal’s new premiere league pass), there are numerous ways to add value to their product and engage with fans, including:

  • Producing pre- and post-game shows and interviews with players and coaches.
  • Offering multiple ways for fans to pay for content (i.e. season passes or single-event passes).
  • Recruiting local businesses to sponsor events and run commercial advertising.
  • Tweeting highlight clips, game stats, and other items of interest to fans.

2. Racing

Dirt car racing, horse racing, sailboat racing, bike racing… fans love to watch high action events in real time. As a result, many of our racing clients have seen a great deal of success with their live stream monetization efforts.

There’s a lot racing organizations can do to encourage and promote their live stream, with social media being at the top of the list. For example, you could use Twitter or Facebook for pre-race promotion and to share post-race highlights; you can also attract new viewers with add-ons, like Q & A sessions with participants and fans, demonstration videos, or contests or giveaways. Social media ads and sponsorships can help generate even more revenue alongside each PPV event.

3. Pageants

Pageant organizations have also done well with live stream monetization this year. Like the other industries mentioned, promotion of PPV events also has a lot to do with their success. Pageant organizations sometimes market to previous pageant viewers by emailing them directly about upcoming events (assuming the viewer voluntarily registered with their email address and opted in to marketing emails). This targeted approach engages customers who have already shown interest in the product, and are more likely to tune in for the next event.

Interested in learning more about how to make money streaming online?

If you’d like to know more about how your organization can get started with live stream monetization, get in touch! We’d like to partner with you to help you grow. As your partner, we’ll help solidify your live streaming goals, strategize about how best to reach them, recommend PPV pricing, and suggest a reasonable timeline in which to make it all happen. Set up a free 30-minute consultation call today to discuss your monetization options—no commitment necessary.

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17 Proven Church Fundraising Ideas: Online, Events, & Traditional With A Twist

Proven Church Fundraising Ideas: Online Edition

For many people, the idea of fundraising is about as appealing as chewing on thumbtacks. Unfortunately for most churches, however, fundraising is a necessity as much as it is a moving target. The same fundraiser done year after year might be a roaring success for a while—until the year it isn’t. Then it’s back to the drawing board once again.

If you’re still searching for the perfect fundraising idea for your church, or if you’d like to try something new, take a look at the ideas below. We’re betting there’s something you haven’t yet thought of or something you haven’t already tried. Good luck—and let us know how it works out!

1. Cast a wider net with crowdfunding.

If you have a specific plan for the funds, give crowdfunding a try. But beware—it’s more difficult than you’d expect. You might have heard stories about people raising incredible amounts of money on sites like Kickstarter, but in reality, only about 36% of all Kickstarter campaigns are actually successful (it also doesn’t accept most projects designed to raise money for a charity or a cause). That doesn’t mean the concept won’t work—it simply means you need to know what you’re doing. FaithLauncher is one example of a good crowdfunding site for churches; other good options are WeRaise.us and GoFundMe.

2. Tell your church’s story with YouTube.

Another church fundraising idea that will broaden your reach involves distributing content via YouTube’s Nonprofit Program. If you’re willing to put in the work required to make a video content strategy and a few videos (think youth volunteers here!), YouTube is a great way to get your message to a larger audience. Create a dynamic video that tells the story of your church and your mission, and ask for help. The program allows you to add interactive donation cards to any videos your church produces; you can also partner with other creators to have them add donation cards for you as well. Donations are distributed via Network For Good.

3. Create an online giving portal.

Physical attendance at weekly masses shouldn’t dictate your congregants’ ability to give, nor should fundraising be limited to people in your immediate area. (Plus, who carries cash anymore?) Encourage donations anytime, from anywhere, with online church fundraising tools that utilize text, email, and web pages. A PayPal donation page is easy to set up and accepts debit cards, credit cards and PayPal; other options, like easyTithe, allow donors to set up recurring payments and track their donations throughout the year.

4. Host a marathon special event and live stream it.

Host a weekend-long event related to the program you’re raising money for—for example:

  • A series of DIY presentations for a church renovation fundraiser.
  • Youth talent performances for a youth group trip.
  • A concert to raise money for the music group.

You could invite audiences to watch in person in addition to live streaming the entire event and request a small fee from viewers to tune in. If you can’t make a direct connection between the marathon event and the program in need, simply provide an interesting mix of speakers and performers who would be appreciated by a good portion of your congregation.

Interested in live streaming but have no idea how it’s done? Download this free guide on how to get started, even without a tech-savvy staff.

5. Harness the power of your congregation’s online activities.

Believe it or not, a great fundraising idea for churches comes from daily activities like internet searching and online shopping—all you have to do is sign up and then spread the word. On Welzoo, for instance, ask your congregants to designate your church as their favorite charity, and you’ll receive up to six cents daily each time they go online using Welzoo as their start page. Another website, Goodshop, optimizes online shopping. Again, congregants simply designate your church as their chosen cause on Goodshop, and your church will receive a donation whenever they make a purchase using the coupons offered on-site.

Events

1. Host a “Battle of the Bands.”

Most people enjoy a night out that involves music, which makes this church fundraising event an easy sell. There are multiple twists you can take with a “Battle of the Bands” theme, including a variety of local bands, worship bands, or even a joint event featuring bands from multiple religious organizations in the area. Capitalize on the event by selling merchandise (CDs, T-shirts, etc.) and food, the latter of which could be donated by community organizations in exchange for some free publicity. To extend your audience, live stream the event and ask viewers for a small fee to cast a vote for the winner.

2. Organize a carnival.

Everyone loves a carnival. Turn your church property into a fairground for a week and either charge an admission fee or ask for donations. Food, games, rides, live music, pony rides, photo booths—you name it, you can add it. For a more hometown flavor, ask congregants to create original games and provide entertainment. You could also join forces with other nonprofit organizations within the community and allow them to contribute (and profit) as well. It will increase turnout and bring the community together at the same time.

3. Stage a cook-off or tasting event.

A chili cook-off, a soup-off, a barbeque-off, a wing-off (hmmm, did we make those last two up?)—it doesn’t matter what you cook or what you call it, tasting events like these are evergreen. Open it to the entire community, publicize it in advance, and organize a panel of judges. Charge an admission fee for attendees to participate in the taste test, and, in addition to the official judges’ results, have tasters vote on their favorites as well.

4. Offer “how to” classes with experts.

Is someone in your congregation a professional chef? A carpenter? A computer programmer? No matter what talents your members have collectively, you can build a church fundraising activity around them. There’s no doubt you’ll have experts in areas that others would be interested in learning more about, especially if it means helping the church at the same time. DIY projects, cooking classes, computer instruction, party planning, video production—the possibilities are endless. Poll your congregation to find out about viable areas of expertise and learner levels of interest, then go from there.

5. Present an open-mic night.

Your members who are musicians, comedians, storytellers, and poets will appreciate the chance to share their talents with an audience during open-mic night. Even artists can get in on the fun by decorating the space with their artwork. Another option is to combine open-mic entries with a performance by a featured, established artist, which could potentially draw a bigger crowd. Ask for donations for entry, or charge for refreshments and snacks. An event like this is family-friendly—one that welcomes the entire community.

6. Organize a dodgeball tournament.

This is a great church fundraising event, especially for youth groups. Both high-energy and high-interest, a dodgeball tournament (or any kind of sports tournament) invites friendly competition. Build excitement before the event with promotional teasers on social media, encouraging community members to mobilize their “dream team” and get involved. Reach out to local businesses for a donation or a discount on a product or service as a prize for top-scoring teams.

7. Host a gala.

Staged on your church campus, a gala extravaganza can be a huge moneymaker. Find out if a local restaurant will give you a discount for catering, invite a few members of the school youth orchestra to provide music for a small fee, gather items from local businesses and congregants for a silent and/or live auction, and ask young adult members of your congregation (along with an overseeing adult!) to handle valet parking. Give attendees the option to buy single tickets or, to encourage a full house, offer discounts for purchasing an entire table.

Traditional With A Twist

1. Make lunch on you.

The idea of picking up lunch after a Sunday service appeals to a lot of people, which is probably why a sub sandwich fundraiser was one of the most successful fundraising ideas for her church that Carrie Seibert can remember. At her church, volunteers gave members an order form for a customized sub a few weeks prior to the designated pick-up date, and collected the forms along with payment a week before the lunch. On the designated Sunday, youth group volunteers made the subs and packaged them in bags with napkins. After the service, those who placed orders had a ready-made, customized lunch to go.

2. Think outside the (collection) box.

Laura Buchanan of United Methodist Communications credits the pastor of a local church for an untraditional idea that could double the amount of funds you normally collect during a fundraiser. He gave each of his congregants $1 along with a challenge to multiply that dollar in any way they wished to support the cause at hand. This fundraising method works because it unites the congregation in a common goal, and relies on everything from creativity to individual talents to available resources. When the congregation from the aforementioned church came together with their dollars—raised through everything from garden vegetable sales to home repair services—they raised $6,621.60, twice the usual amount raised from their more traditional events.

3. Hold an annual bazaar, with extra toppings.

Another church fundraising idea that works well is an annual bazaar, and for good reason: it’s fun for both seller and buyer. The need for handmade items brings out the craftiness in many people, and the possibility of discovering something special appeals to everyone else. Heidi Hecht’s previous church had the usual bazaar—but with the unusual addition of a baked potato bar. Twenty-five topping choices and lots of baked potatoes turned into several hundred dollars, on top of what was earned from the bazaar. And the best thing she remembers about the event? Everyone had fun.

4. Try a new kind of collection envelope.

Annie Tiberg, Director of Christian Education at Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran Church, spearheaded an easy church fundraising idea: She taped plain business envelopes to a rolling whiteboard and numbered them from one to 150, then placed the board in a strategic spot for people to see between Sunday services. Congregants were encouraged to take whatever numbered envelope they wanted and return it to the church with that amount of money inside. Tiberg found that after leaving the board in place for four weeks, many envelopes were returned with more than the allotted amount inside.

5. Appeal to friends and family.

When Tiberg planned her youth group’s mission trip to New Orleans, she asked each teen to write a sponsorship letter and send it to friends and family. For this to be effective, the writers must be able to articulate how and why the event will be impactful to them. They should also have a strong connection with the recipients. Fundraisers like this one extend your pool of donors beyond the church body, and have the added benefit of cultivating relationships between the teens and others in their social circle.

If you’ve tried any of these—or have other fundraising ideas for churches—tweet us! We’d love to hear from you.


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Breaking Down The Latest Video Streaming Technology

Breaking Down The Latest Video Streaming Technology

Even though live streaming is a fairly new technological advancement, the market is changing in tremendous ways every year.

Consider these facts:

  • Five or so years ago, most live streams (we’d estimate around 80%) were standard definition. Today, high definition video streaming is the norm!
  • A few years ago, the easiest way to stream was to connect your camera directly to your computer with a firewire output. Today, firewire technology is dead—it’s been replaced by HDMI and SDI capture devices that utilize the latest USB and Thunderbolt technology.

These are just two examples of how much the market has changed. But instead of focusing on the small-scale changes to the live streaming industry, we want to recognize the huge advancements the latest video streaming technology has made and give some pieces of technology the accolades they deserve.

Newtek’s NDI software and the new JVC cameras are pushing the boundaries of live streaming as we know them—and we’re pumped about it! Below, we’ll walk through what each of these are, how they’re used, and what sets them apart from the competition.

Network Device Interface (NDI)

Overview

NDI is a new video streaming production software created by Newtek, and is completely changing video streaming architecture. We’re not alone in thinking of NDI as a game changer; it earned “TV Technology Best In Show” at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in April 2016.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s back up and talk through what NDI actually is. On an elementary level, the idea behind NDI is that any video camera, capture device, or web cam that is available on your local network can be drawn in as a video source for your live stream.

If you wanted to do something similar without NDI, you’d have to route all of your video directly from the camera through hardwired fiber cabling directly into your production environment. NDI, on the other hand, creates a direct link to any camera across your shared Wi-Fi network, even though it isn’t hardwired. This is a big improvement in live streaming!

Use Case

Let’s say you’re in charge of video production at a university, and you want to show off how beautiful the campus is in the fall. Previously, you had to wire together your cameras and bring those cables back to a central location for your live streaming—a pain to do!

With NDI technology, you have immediate and easy access to video cameras all across campus. You can then use those cameras however you’d like for the production. (And you can even have the university president sign in from his laptop and live stream a message midway through!)

What else should I know?

  • NDI is available right now.
  • It is proprietary to Newtek (but can be used outside of Newtek products in some instances).
  • There are both free and paid implementations available. With the free version of NDI, you can have as many as 16 video sources (eight machines with two sources per machine).

JVC’s All-In-One Camera

Overview

JVC is a large electronics company and is well-known for their high-quality video cameras. But this year, they introduced something completely new: A camera you can live stream directly from. That means you don’t need a capture device or a hardware or software encoder—just your JVC camera. (Yeah, it’s pretty cool—you can see why it earned “TV Technology Best In Show” at NAB 2016)

It’s important to note that JVC isn’t the only company that has done this. In the past, there have been other streaming cameras—but most are tied to specific services. Live streams from JVC cameras don’t have a list of preset providers. This means you have to do a little leg work when you get the camera set up, but you can select any streaming provider you’d like.

Additionally, they’ve created an iPhone app that pairs with the camera that allows you to add graphics directly into your broadcast. All you have to do is pair your smartphone with the same Wi-Fi network the camera is on.

Use Cases

Sports

Far and away, the biggest use case for this camera is live streaming sporting events. Why? Because JVC has partnered with SportzCast—so it integrates with their products to create an ESPN-style, professional-quality experience for fans. (If you’re not familiar, SportzCast makes products that tie into scoreboards directly, making it easy for timing and score to be added into your live stream.)

Business

If your business makes regular announcements or holds short-notice press conferences and wants to live stream them, this JVC camera could be a great choice.

Churches

If your church service takes place in an elementary school cafeteria or a neighborhood park, you need to have a quick and simple tear-down process. Having a single camera for your entire production environment is helpful for this!

What else should I know?

  • This camera runs about $2,600. That’s why we won’t tell you to hop online and buy one right away! That being said, we do recommend that anyone getting started with live streaming buy pieces of video streaming technology that will grow with them—and this camera could qualify.
  • If you want to expand your live stream in the future—say, purchase a second camera—you’ll have to start from scratch with the infrastructure and buy all the “regular” equipment that goes along with that!

What’s next for video streaming technology?

If you’re holding your breath for me to say that 4K streaming is right around the corner, you’re going to be a little sad. Right now, that’s still a pipe dream. In fact, the first-ever 4K live streamed event (UFC 200) happened just a couple months ago! And with an enormous budget, even NBC couldn’t figure out how to live stream in 4K at the Olympics. (They resorted to next-day 4K streams of basketball and gymnastics.) But don’t lose hope—with as quickly as technology in the live streaming world is changing, you can expect this in the next five or so years. 

If you would love to live stream your events but want a partner to guide and assist you through the process and walk you through how to use the video streaming technology, let’s talk! At Stretch Internet, we stream more than 60,000 live events every year with an emphasis on providing outstanding support and memorable experiences.  

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