Pay-Per-View Live Streaming: How To Calculate ROI

How To Calculate ROI - Stretch Internet

If your organization has decided to produce a live stream, you already consider it a worthy investment. It’s important to continually measure this investment to ensure it remains a worthwhile endeavor over the long haul.

Businesses that use live streaming experience a number of benefits that contribute to profitability. Your live stream is likely contributing to organizational performance in three ways:

  • It helps build your brand. Since live streamed content happens on-the-fly (to some degree, at least!), it promotes authenticity that’s hard to reproduce using other marketing methods. Anything can happen when you’re live—and it’s not necessarily all good—but it does show a willingness on the part of your organization to be honest and open to the public. Honesty makes your brand more appealing to people, and your live stream content can help them get to know you better.
  • It helps promote your products or services. Statistics prove how much people like watching videos: 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers, and 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best return on investment. Live streamed videos may be the best way to educate the public about how your product or service works, as you could even answer questions about it in real-time with social media integration.
  • It helps build a community around your organization. Social media and live streaming go hand-in-hand. Viewers from around the globe—even those in remote locations—can interact with one another and react to the content as they watch. That kind of social interaction improves the experience for your viewers, making them feel good about supporting your product while also fostering a sense of brand loyalty and ownership. This type of “community” is also hard to duplicate any other way.

All of the above benefits have great value for organizations (what’s sometimes referred to as value on investment, or VOI). But while the benefits of live streaming are somewhat intangible, pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming offers a tangible financial benefit in the form of revenue.

By offering pay-per-view live streaming, you’re giving your organization the best chance at a strong a return on investment (ROI). Positive ROI can be used to justify the existence of your live streaming program, and incoming revenue from your PPV can be used to continually improve your live stream.

Determining The Value Of Pay-Per-View Live Streaming

While the idea of monetizing a live stream is catching on, some organizations are hesitant to start charging for content without knowing the answer to this question: “How much revenue will our live stream generate, exactly?”

It’s hard to answer with any degree of certainty until you start doing PPV… but not starting could mean missing a great opportunity. That catch-22 is why we came up with a pay-per-view live streaming ROI calculator.

Our calculator takes into consideration the three factors that play into profits:

  • Pricing
  • Audience size
  • Sponsorship opportunities

Each of these factors allow room for growth. For instance, there are specific tactics you can use to increase audience size over time, and different types of sponsorship opportunities to take advantage of. To help you get the most out of the ROI calculator, we’ve also created a short guide to accompany it that explains these factors in more detail, and offers tips on how to use them to influence profits.

Find out what your return on investment would be from pay-per-view live streaming with our free ROI calculator. Download it now.


The 7 Most Important Live Streaming Metrics To Track

Once you’ve invested time and resources in creating a product, you naturally want to know what people think of it. You’d also be smart to gather all the information you can about who’s using it and how they’re using it so you can make the product better. (Will someone please tell HubSpot that users need to be able to associate a contact with multiple companies??)

The same theory applies to live streaming.

Now that you’ve invested time and resources into producing a quality live stream, the natural progression is to begin tracking some live streaming metrics that will give you insight into your level of success. Depending on the analysis of your data, you may see opportunities you haven’t previously thought of, identify areas in need of improvement, or (fingers crossed!) get confirmation that you’re on the right track.

To that end, we’ve identified seven live streaming metrics that will give you valuable information about your audience and their viewing habits.

7 Insightful Live Streaming Metrics You Should Be Tracking

1. Device viewership.

Where are people watching? These days, desktop computers are being used less frequently for viewing live streams, while mobile and OTT devices (like ROKU and Apple TV) are becoming more prevalent. Knowing how your viewers are watching helps you know what to focus on in your broadcast.

For example, some supplemental live stream material—like a Twitter feed or a live sports data feed—doesn’t always translate well to mobile devices. So if 80% of your viewers are watching your live stream on a mobile or OTT device, they may be missing out on an important part of your broadcast. Knowing that, you can focus your resources on moving as much of that supplemental information as possible onto the actual video itself, so your mobile and OTT viewers are getting everything they need to fully enjoy the experience. Plus, more mobile viewers means you may want to consider lowering the quality of the stream you send. Users on mobile connections have less bandwidth to work with and have a greater likelihood of experiencing buffering issues. Beyond those practical applications, examining this live streaming metric is simply good practice so you know where your viewers are.

2. Live viewership vs. on-demand viewership.

To better understand the needs of your viewers, it’s important to know how many people are watching your content live and how many are watching it later, on-demand. If your primary audience is watching live, do you even need to offer it on-demand? On the other hand, you may discover that most viewers are watching your content after the fact. If that’s the case, you might consider producing more of what’s working—non-live, on-demand content. Doing so might help draw people to your site more frequently. Looking at the numbers collectively can open your eyes to new business possibilities.

3. Repeat traffic.

Are people returning to your live stream to watch multiple events, or do you see mostly once-and-done traffic? This live streaming metric will tell you if you’re producing compelling content that makes people want to come back. (It’s easier to track if your live stream is on a pay-per-view or registration-based platform.)

If you’re a sports team, for example, and notice that you don’t have many repeat viewers, it’s likely that many of your viewers are fans of the opposing teams; repeat traffic, on the other hand, shows team loyalty. So if traffic is low your broadcast may need work, or you may need to spend some additional time/money on marketing.

Use your data to do more with your live stream! Check out this free guide on how to monetize your content.

4. Duration of views.

How long are people watching your live stream? Is the average churn for, say, a 2-hour event three minutes, 20 minutes, or more than 60 minutes? Low streaming duration could indicate that the quality of your content needs work, or that you’re not reaching the right viewing audience (which could speak to your marketing efforts).

This live streaming metric is also particularly useful for monetization purposes, especially in advertising. Advertisers will be more interested in placing ads if a good number of people are watching for a good amount of time because their advertising is likely sprinkled in from beginning to end.

5. Unique visitors to your site.

Unique visitors, or views, are different than total views. If the same person visits your site 10 times in one day, all 10 visits would come from the same IP address, assuming that person is using the same computer/network each time. Those are not unique views (which come from different IP addresses).

If you’re doing PPV live streaming, compare the number of unique views to the total number of passes sold (e.g. total views) in order to get insight into your conversion rate. In other words, how many sales opportunities are actually converting to paid customers? It’s a somewhat imperfect measure (for example, IP addresses can be skewed for viewers using virtual private networks or public wi-fi) but the majority of your viewers are likely to be watching from their home or office computers.

6. Geographical breakdown of your viewership.

Where are people watching your live stream from? This live streaming metric is useful in several ways. First, it can help you refine your monetization strategies, including fine-tuning your price point. If the majority of your viewers are local, you may want to raise the price to encourage people to attend the event in person rather than watch online. Second, it can also help with advertising. Businesses located in the same geographical area as your viewers will be more inclined to advertise on your live stream.

7. Viewer engagement.

If your audience interacts with your content, that says a lot about the quality of your live stream! It also means viewers are more likely to come back for more. So if you’re running a social feed with Twitter or Facebook alongside your broadcast, monitor how often people comment, chat, or tweet a link to the content to their friends—“Hey, I’m watching this game; you can tune in here!”

This article has some good tips on how to improve viewer engagement for your live stream. While some of the article’s suggestions may not apply to you directly, a simple practice that most streamers can incorporate is to have your broadcast talent interact with the audience. Ask questions that viewers can respond to using a specific Twitter hashtag, for example. You can respond to user questions on air or directly on Twitter. Whatever approach you choose, the key is to make the audience feel connected to or part of the broadcast. The bottom line is it’s in your best interest to cultivate viewers who not only watch, but also interact with your content.

To get started tracking, check out Google Analytics, a useful data-gathering tool used by many of our clients. And if you have ideas about other metrics fellow live streamers should track, let us know!

Improve Your Live Stream By Improving Your Platform

If the data gathered from your live streaming metrics prompts you to improve your live stream, switching up your live streaming platform can help.

With Stretch, you’ll get a custom-designed viewing portal, advanced live stream viewing features (like monetization options, instant highlights, and live data feeds), and best-in-class technical and viewer support. On top of all that, you’ll get expert advice on how you can improve your live stream to reach your organization’s goals. Interested in learning more? Chat with us!


Northwoods League: Why We Started Pay Per View Live Streaming

Northwoods League - Stretch Internet

Thinking about transitioning from a free-to-view live stream to pay-per-view streaming (PPV)? You’re not the only one—lots of organizations are making the switch.

The Northwoods League, the largest organized baseball league in the world (and a Stretch client) switched to PPV nearly seven years ago. And according to Glen Showalter, VP of Operations, they’ve never looked back. We talked with Glen recently about the League’s PPV experience and why they decided to switch to a paid live streaming model in the first place. (For more background on how the Northwoods League manages its complex live streaming operation, check out this article.)

Northwoods League: The Decision To Switch To PPV Streaming

The Northwoods League has been around for almost 25 years, but didn’t begin live streaming its games until about 10 years ago. At that time, the League started broadcasting on a no-cost platform.

“For that first year or two, I believe the League was trying to understand the live streaming platform and the process, and was doing its best to get personnel on all the teams up to speed,” explains Glen. (The League included about 16 teams at the time.) Back in 2010, he says, getting involved in live streaming was a much bigger challenge than it is today. The cost of equipment was higher, and fewer people knew about live streaming, making it more difficult to get answers when they ran into trouble.

The Northwoods League considered offering PPV in 2010, but Glen says, “I think it was probably something that would have been difficult to do right out of the gate. I believe the League had an internal expectation that it needed to deliver a certain level of quality to our customers before we could start charging for content.”

Pay-per-view isn’t the only way to monetize your live stream. Download this free guide to find out about your options. 

Soon after the live stream launched, it was clear that the broadcast wasn’t attracting the right demographic on the free platform. There were a large number of viewers, but viewing times were short—approximately 20 seconds on average. Most viewers weren’t really interested in watching the whole game (or even a few minutes of a game!), but dipping in and out of free hosted streams on the same platform was easy for casual visitors.

Over the next few years the broadcast improved, but the viewing times didn’t increase significantly. Eventually, the conversation came back around to pay-per-view streaming.

Live Stream Pay-Per-View: Benefits For The Northwoods League

The benefits of pay-per-view streaming became clear pretty quickly: The overall number of viewers dropped, but the ones that remained were watching for a longer period of time—more than 20 minutes. This indicated that the PPV broadcast was hitting the right demographic, and was keeping audiences engaged.

The goal of PPV, according to Glen, was to provide a better product in the long run. “Unlike most organizations, for us, [live streaming] is not a moneymaking venture. The cost of our live streaming operation is significant—with 20 teams, 4 cameras per team, 20 switchers, etc.—and the numbers get pretty big. By going to PPV, we can recoup some of those costs and put money back into the program, making [the broadcast] better for future seasons.” This strategy has worked well, as witnessed by the League’s continuously improving quality of their live stream.

The professional-quality live stream is also an important marketing and branding tool for the League. It’s helped to improve name recognition well beyond the Midwest. The Northwoods League is viewed as the premier baseball league for all summer college players, drawing approximately 800 players each year from around the U.S. Odds are good, Glen says, that anyone interested in collegiate baseball has heard of them, and their live stream only helps boost that profile.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, the live stream is extremely valuable to fans of the League. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to offer to players, their parents, their family members, and friends. Players come from all over the country—from schools in every state. For parents in California to be able to watch their son play in a league in the Midwest is terrific, especially when it’s a high-quality broadcast they can watch with Apple or Android TV, or another home streaming device. They can really see what’s going on and hear the action.” When parents found out that the games were being live streamed, most were thrilled that they could watch their kids play without having to drive for hours or take a flight out to see a single game.

The Northwoods League’s Live Streaming Program Today

Today, the Northwoods League uses Stretch as its live streaming platform provider to stream more than 750 games, for 20 teams, every 3-month summer season. Its viewer numbers continue to rise.

Glen says that moving to pay-per-view streaming was the right decision for the League, made at the right time. Part of the reason they’re able to continue pulling in so many viewers is their flexible subscription model, powered by Stretch. Fans can choose to watch as many games as they want—from a single game, to a half-season, a whole season, championship games only, and more. Giving people choices makes them more willing to buy.

And with such a huge live streaming operation, Glen notes what a relief it is to have Stretch for help with both production issues and fan support. “We found that, with some platforms, the support isn’t there. It’s hard to get in touch with an actual person. Stretch customer support is great.”

Are you interested in trying pay-per-view streaming?

Consider the benefits your own organization or sports league might get out of live stream pay-per-view; is it time to stop giving away your valuable content for free?

If you’d like to learn more about the Stretch live streaming platform and our monetization options, give us a shout or schedule a free demo. We’d love to help you make the most of your live stream!


How Production Companies Price Live Streaming Services

Production Companies Price Live Streaming Services - Stretch

As the owner of a production company, you already have the necessary skills to produce a live stream. So it makes sense to take advantage of the popularity of live streaming and add video streaming services to your current offerings. But you might be wondering how much to charge for live video production.

We asked some live streaming production company owners for their thoughts in hopes of getting you some valuable information on pricing your live stream that you can apply to your own business today. By combining their input with knowledge of your company and your market, you should be able to come up with a solid pricing strategy.

Pricing Live Streaming Production Services

Slavik Boyechko, owner of the Emmy award-winning production company Video Dads, summed up his thought process behind pricing by explaining one fundamental difference between video production services and live streaming: Video production involves a long process of postproduction activities, while live streaming does not. “The only real way to price live streaming in a way that is profitable is to consider the planning costs, gear rental expenses, and crew for the day, rather than hourly services.”

His thoughts echoed those of other live streaming production company owners: Live streaming adds complexity to the video recording process. So the best way to price your live streaming services is to consider the cost of the variables involved in delivering the product, and the level of complexity you plan to offer.

Need a better way to manage your live streaming process? Get this free live streaming checklist and never miss a beat. 

You already have the basics required to produce a good video—including a camera operator, a video camera, and lighting and audio equipment. But you will need some additional resources to live stream, including a live production switcher and video signal transmission. It also takes practice to capture what’s needed for a good, high-quality live broadcast, which requires a slightly different skill set than filming video that will be edited. Beyond those necessities, there are some additional variables to consider budgeting for that will impact the price. Rob Chipman of Big Video Network divides those variables into two categories—production and delivery.

Production variables:

  • Additional camera operators. Unless you plan on a single-camera production, you’ll need one or two more people to work the cameras. Michael Mason of Perfect Chaos Films notes that, for a usual live stream setup, he uses a crew of three people and two cameras.
  • Internet access. An internet connection is necessary for your live stream, and some venues may not have reliable internet access. For an additional cost you could provide your own internet connection using a portable internet hotspot like LiveU. (LiveU units aren’t cheap, so this would be a fairly large addition to your budget!)
  • Travel expenses. But keep in mind that if live video production is an add-on to an event you already planned to shoot, travel won’t add any additional cost.

Delivery variables:

  • Live stream hosting. Will you offer clients a portal for viewing your live stream? The easiest way to accomplish that is to partner up with a live streaming platform provider, which will involve a service fee. If you don’t choose to go this route, you can either stream on a free platform such as Facebook Live or YouTube, or host the live stream on an infrastructure you’ve built yourself.
  • Audience size. The more people that watch your live stream, the more bandwidth you’ll use. The cost associated with bandwidth may be less of a factor depending on the live streaming provider you’re working with. But if you’re hosting the live stream yourself, the estimated audience size is definitely something to consider.
  • Broadcast page design. If your live stream will be viewed somewhere other than on a free social media platform, you may need to design a website to house it. (If you’re using a platform provider, they may already have this piece taken care of.)
  • Pay-per-view (PPV). Your production company has an opportunity to earn more revenue if the organization you’re working with plans to charge for access to its content. (Take a look at StreamByte’s pricing page for an example of a live streaming production company PPV policy and a description of other variables involved.)

Some of the above variables can be organized into “tiers” of live streaming services. For example, your basic live streaming package could consist of a single stationary camera connected to an encoder, with Internet access already provided on-site. That would be a very inexpensive production, especially if you’re filming the event already as part of your usual services.

On the higher end, you could offer a live streaming production with the works: a producer, video switcher, multiple cameras, replays, and play-by-play audio. Hooking your clients up with a professional-grade live stream with all the bells and whistles is a valuable service that many organizations would be willing to pay extra for.

Now that you know the factors of a live stream that impact price and have some ideas about service levels, you’ll want to consider what you’re willing and able to offer and the market you’re in to start determining the price of your video streaming services.

Need a live streaming partner for your video streaming services?

We can help! We stream more than 65,000 events every year and work with all types of organizations, including live stream production companies like yours. If you’d like to talk more about what a partnership might look like and take a look at our live streaming platform, give us a shout. We can also consult on pricing and offer advice about equipment and production issues. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to generate more revenue with live streaming—get started today!

Special thanks to:

Slavik Boyechko, Gear Dads
Rob Chipman, Big Video Network
Michael Mason, Perfect Chaos Films
Samuel Sparhawk, StreamByte TV


What Is The Cost Of Live Streaming An Event?


This article is for all you potential live streamers out there who have questions about the cost of live streaming an event, in particular: “Does live streaming cost money?” and/or “How much does live streaming cost?”

While we can’t speak for all providers, we can offer insight on how the live streaming industry works. We can also share information about how we price live streaming here at Stretch, and which pricing structure works best for most of our clients.

“Does live streaming cost money?”

We’ve heard this question many times—and the short answer is sometimes.

There are free social media platforms, like YouTube Live and Facebook Live, that allow you to live stream an event for free (other than the cost of any equipment you may have purchased for production).

The best live streams are also the most carefully planned. Download our complete list of must-have equipment and detailed task lists to make your next production flawless.

These no-cost live streaming options probably sound great—and they may even be great for a short while—but beware: You don’t get what you don’t pay for. The platforms are free, which means you’ll have no operational support, and no one to turn to for advice on how to maximize your use of the platform or put together a first-rate broadcast. You’re entirely on your own.

If you’d like to provide a better experience for your viewers by producing a high-quality, professional broadcast, you’ll want to choose to pay a live streaming platform provider instead.

Learn more about the advantages of using a paid platform provider—and how you can combine free and paid platforms for maximum effect—before you decide.

Live Streaming Costs: What You’re Paying For When You Choose A Provider

If you decide to go with a platform provider, you’ll be paying for two things: people and technology. But these services will vary depending on which provider you choose.

Some providers actually offer very little in the way of support—despite the fact that you’re paying for it. In some cases you’ll get email support only, and it’s your responsibility to monitor your own broadcast and catch problems as they arise.

On top of that, many providers turn bandwidth usage into a guessing game by arriving at a rough monthly or event cost by way of a live streaming cost calculator. (The more people that watch a live stream the more bandwidth it consumes, so bandwidth is one of the biggest factors in the cost of live streaming an event.) These providers price your live streaming on the following variables:

  • The number of events you expect to live stream
  • The size of your expected audience
  • The bitrate you plan to use

The problem with this method is that your actual live streaming costs are up in the air until after the broadcast is complete. And if you go over the amount you estimated—for instance, your audience is larger than you thought it would be, or you want to stream an extra event or two—you’ll have to pay overage charges to make up the difference. (And frankly, we don’t see how getting penalized for producing a popular broadcast is a solid path to success.)

Stretch Live Streaming Costs: What You’re Paying For When You Choose Us

At Stretch, you’ll always get what you pay for, straight up, without any guesstimating. There are two huge benefits to going with Stretch:

  • Superior customer support. When we sign on a new client we factor in the cost of our excellent support. Our “freakishly good support” goes beyond that of most live streaming providers: We’ll monitor your broadcasts to ensure they go smoothly (we notify you if something goes wrong!), and we have a team of people working behind the scenes to help resolve any troubleshooting or viewer issues.
  • A “no surprises” pricing model. At Stretch, you’ll always know exactly what you’ll pay and what you’ll get. Depending on the partner and type of industry, we can offer the following models:
    • A yearly flat rate for unlimited live streaming. This option comes at a discount because we’re able to secure lower bandwidth pricing in advance. Plus, you can stream as many events as you want and eat as much bandwidth as you want without having to worry about too many viewers – or bandwidth rates going up six months down the line. (A long-term, discounted payment plan is most likely the best choice at any provider—as long as you’ve done your homework and feel confident that you’ve found the right live streaming partner for the long haul.)
    • A monthly plan for unlimited streaming. This plan ensures you’re not locked into a full year contract if you think your live streaming plans could change. It’s a bit more expensive than the yearly rate, but for some clients the flexibility may be worth the cost—and you still don’t have to worry about bandwidth.
    • Pay-per-event. If you have just a few events to live stream or you won’t be live streaming consistently, this plan might be right for you. You still pay a single rate, regardless of number of viewers (we want you to be successful!).

Keep in mind that we’re discussing models for partners who want to make their content available to users for free. We also offer pay-per-view options, which can eliminate out-of-pocket costs altogether and provide a substantial revenue stream back to you.

Plus, with Stretch as a partner, you’ll always have access to the latest live streaming tools and features—like a universal HTML5 video player and automatic archiving of every event—and have a trusted source of technical advice at all times, both of which will help make your broadcast the best it can possibly be.

Need more information about live streaming costs?

Let us help! Whether you have questions about Stretch or about the cost of live streaming an event in general, get in touch and we’ll help you find the answers.


Sports Leagues: Should You Offer Free Or Pay-Per-View Live Streaming?

Sports Leagues PPV Live Streaming - Stretch Internet

When we talk to our sports league clients about whether or not they should consider pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming, no two discussions are ever the same. That’s because everyone thinks about their live streaming program in a different way—they have different goals, content, audiences, and experience levels. It’s not a cut-and-dried decision but closer to a classic fourth-and-two, where you have to look at time on the clock, field position, game flow, personnel on both sides, and more—in other words, a number of factors are involved. Or, you can just take the riverboat gambler approach and go for it!

We wholeheartedly support PPV and see it as an awesome opportunity to get more out of your live streaming. Beyond that, we’ve seen many of our sports-league clients benefit from it, but we know it’s not always right—or the right timing—for every organization to “go for it.” If you’re currently considering pay-per-view live streaming for your own league, below is a list of some of the things we discuss with our clients that might be helpful for you.

Need more information about how to monetize your live streaming productions before you take the leap? Download our free guide to assess your options.

Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Will Work Well For You If…

  • You’re comfortable with your live-streaming experience level. If you’re new to live streaming, it’s natural to be hesitant to charge. (Not to mention the fact that producing content to sell might be more stress than it’s worth for someone who’s never done it before.) But if you’ve been doing live streaming for a while and feel confident in your production workflow, you’re in a great position to start pay-per-view live streaming.
  • You produce high-quality video content consistently. We’ve talked before about how the value of your content plays into pricing. A professional broadcast naturally justifies a higher price point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do PPV if you’re not at that level! We often see clients hesitate to charge for their live stream because they think they need a three- or four-camera production and professional graphics, but production complexity isn’t as necessary as you think. We’ve seen PPV live streams with a single camera set up around a track do well at every event. The key is consistency: If your production level remains consistent through every broadcast (so viewers know what to expect), and you’re producing content regularly, then it’s a fine time to dip your toe in the PPV pool.
  • Your content has some degree of exclusivity. There’s a reason why “limited time offers” usually do well—when you’re giving people only one chance to do or see something, many will take it. Exclusivity drives demand. Other than attending the event in person, is your live stream the only way people can see the game/race/tournament? Is a portion of the audience located outside the immediate geographical area? In either case, viewers will be more willing to pay in exchange for content they consider valuable.
  • Your live streaming goals include building your digital network, improving your product, and/or generating a positive revenue stream. Think about where your live streaming program is headed. If you want to grow and improve your live streaming product, or generate a positive revenue stream, then it’s time to consider pay-per-view. Boosting production quality with better equipment and more complex production elements will ultimately attract more viewers, and the money earned can be reinvested back into your equipment, giving you an avenue for growth. Even if you don’t reinvest your PPV earnings, you could cover part or all of your live streaming costs or turn a profit. If your organization is more concerned with attracting as many viewers as possible to drive more brand awareness and eventually increase sales, then free live streaming is the better choice for you.

Could your organization benefit from pay-per-view live streaming?

In addition to those we listed above, we know there are plenty of other considerations when deciding whether to do PPV.  For example, some clients have less of a need to do PPV thanks to local sponsors who back their live streaming program. It’s all part of the “different situations, different needs” conversation.

If you think pay-per-view live streaming might be right for your organization—or even if you’re still on the fence—let’s talk! We can answer any questions you have about pay-per-view live streaming in general, and let you know how our own PPV platform works. Either way, our discussion will help you make a more informed decision.


5 Examples Of Unique Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Events

Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Events

When you understand that there are endless types of events people would like to watch in person but simply can’t, it becomes clear that pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming is a smart way to do business.

In fact, we’re seeing an increasing number of organizations (not just sports organizations) realize the value of their live stream content. Where companies once offered live streaming for free they now charge for access, and many are either covering their costs or turning a profit.

You could say PPV is breaking out of the box—both in terms of the boxing ring (traditionally associated with pay-per-view) and in terms of the types of events that are now being streamed at a price.

Below are some of the more interesting instances we’ve seen of pay-per-view live streaming, some of which may be well on their way to becoming commonplace. How might your content play into the mix?

5 Examples Of Unique Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Events

1. Yoga classes and events.

Kundalini yoga exercise classes, Q & A sessions, in-depth discussions—you can get access to all of this via pay-per-view live stream at RA MA TV (courtesy of the RA MA Institute). Not all of its content is PPV; some is offered for free. Their special pay-per-view-events are considered premium content, and include things like workshops and courses with master teachers (the New Moon Total Solar Eclipse event, for instance). They also offer bundles of live-streamed workshops at package prices, and give discounts for pre-registering to virtually attend an event. Their PPV strategy encourages participation and expands their global “RA MA Community,” and makes money at the same time.

Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Events - 1

Get our free guide to learn about options for generating revenue with your live stream.

2.  Funeral services.

According to the Telegraph, 50% of all funeral homes and crematoria can now broadcast funeral services online—but we’re not sure that nearly that percentage of the general population knows about it. People seem to be divided on the trend, though the younger generation seems more accepting of it overall. For faraway family members who can’t attend the event in person, live streaming offers a chance to “connect with the collective emotion of the event.” Many funeral homes are doing all they can to limit viewing to family members and friends of the deceased, including password protecting the broadcast. Although the majority of funeral live streams are offered for free, some charge for access, like the U.K.’s Coychurch Crematorium (which also sells audio and video recordings of services).

Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Events - 2

3. Battle rap.

Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg vs. Luke, Common vs. Ice Cube, and LL Cool J vs. Canibus—they’re some of the most memorable battle raps on the books. But even if you missed those, you can still see some of today’s all-star rappers compete thanks to Watch Battle Live’s HD PPV. Acknowledging that not nearly enough fans will have the opportunity to attend most events live, Watch Battle Live hopes that viewers will get a “firsthand experience, like you are in the building, feeling all the energy in the crowd.” From a peek at one of the previews, we’d say that’s a good assessment of what viewers can expect.

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4. Intimate concerts and events.

A pay-per-view live streamed musical event might not sound so unusual, but here we’re talking about limited admission to a virtual concert filmed in the artist’s living room. Oh, and did we mention that the artists take requests from their viewing audience and stop periodically to chat with viewers? Website Stageit pulls off these types of events regularly, featuring not only musicians but also comedians, chefs, and magicians. Shows are not archived (which only makes the live event even more valuable) and performers can collect tips in addition to the money earned from ticket sales. This is a new way of thinking about live streaming when it comes to events and so far, it seems to be working. (Anyone else up for a Jimmy Buffett concert?)

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5. Every sport imaginable (almost).

Move over, boxing. We found pay-per-view live streaming opportunities for a multitude of sporting events, even some of the more unusual ones:

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What did we miss? If you know of other unique pay-per-view live streaming events then tweet us @stretchinternet—we’re always interested to hear other creative ideas!


How To Price Pay-Per-View Live Stream Events

How To Price Pay-Per-View Live Stream Events

You’ve decided that pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming is a good strategy for your organization, and that’s great—it means you have confidence in the value of your content and its ability to contribute to the bottom line. But pulling your PPV off successfully depends in large part on one thing: your price point.

How do you set event prices that maximize customer satisfaction and engagement, yet bring in enough money to make it all worthwhile? From experience I can tell you it’s not always easy, but it is absolutely possible.

4 Considerations For Accurately Pricing Your Pay-Per-View Live Stream   

To set an appropriate price for your live stream content you need to consider the following:

1. Who is your target audience?

Will those watching your PPV primarily be locals (i.e. people who would attend in person but can’t for a specific reason), or will your event have national appeal? Your anticipated audience plays into the amount you can charge.

  • If your event will attract mostly locals, your pricing should be equal to or cheaper than the actual event. You can’t reasonably charge more to watch a live stream than it costs to attend the event in person, or people simply won’t watch. Your PPV should be offered at somewhat of a discount to make it worthwhile for people to stay home vs. going. If your event is free, however, there will always be people who want to attend but can’t; in that case, a fair price—usually erring on the lower side—will attract viewers. Some college sports, regional events of all kinds, or small entertainment events featuring local performers are all examples of live stream events that have local appeal.
  • If your event has national appeal you’ll want to price it as low as possible to encourage a greater number of viewers. Having a low price point has an added benefit: it helps avoid any potentially negative backlash on social media that naturally takes place if people think something is too expensive. Too-high pricing is also more likely to dissuade people from viewing any of your organization’s future live streaming events.

Do you know your other options for generating revenue besides pay-per-view? Download this free guide to learn more ways to maximize your monetization efforts.

2. What are your viewers willing to pay?

There will always be people who object to paying for content, and some audiences may be tougher than others. For instance, parents of collegiate athletes who are already paying tuition tend to be more resistant to paying for live-streamed sporting events. You won’t be able to please everyone, so the best strategy is charge what the majority of viewers would consider to be a reasonable price at the start. Remember, for many people your live stream is the only way they can get access to an event, so they will be willing to pay.

3. What is the value of your content?

Having said the above, people will be willing to pay if they see value in your content. Think about it this way: If you compare your production to one taking place in a multi-level theatre, is yours the one with low audio, where the camera sits in the balcony seat not zoomed in all the way? Or is it the one that switches between three cameras to get up close and personal with the action? In other words, if your production is really impressive, some viewers may appreciate watching a well-done live stream more than watching the event in person. It takes time to work your way up to this kind of high-quality production, but before you start charging, be sure your product will at least leave viewers satisfied.

4. What are your PPV live streaming goals?

Some organizations charge for their live streaming content to generate revenue; others do it to cover the costs of production and equipment. Many Stretch clients reinvest the money they earn back into their programs, buying new equipment little by little to increase both the quality and quantity of their productions. Over time, those small investments will make their live stream content even more valuable in the future.

With this in mind, consider what your own organization’s goal is for pay-per-view live streaming. If the revenue from PPV is intended to cover the costs of your production, you can set lower a lower price than if you’re looking to make enough to buy new equipment. But if you’re just starting out with monetization, it’s always a good idea to start with a lower price, see how things go, and work your way up to a more sophisticated broadcast.

Want some help finding your pricing sweet spot?

Pricing a pay-per-view live stream can be a challenge, which is why we work closely with all our clients to help determine fair prices and assess how their monetization strategy is progressing. We can also help you create monetization packages, which give your viewers the flexibility to watch as much or as little as they want—and maximize your revenue potential.

Are you ready to hit the ground running with the right live streaming partner? Schedule a free demo of our platform today! We’re also happy to answer any questions you have about pay-per-view live streaming—just drop us a line.


4 Live Streaming Mistakes To Learn From

Live Streaming Mistakes

You rarely hear the word boring in relation to live streaming.

Most live streamers could probably throw together a blooper reel in the space of a few minutes, made up solely of production blunders and unexpected incidents from past live events. And it’s not just the homegrown productions that face the perils of a live broadcast. Remember Joe Namath’s irrepressible urge for a kiss during an ESPN interview? Or how about the time the Super Bowl feed was disrupted by a power outage? And don’t forget about this infamous live BBC interview.

Whether it’s a local or a national production, life goes on, strange things happen, and live video captures it all. The key is learning from these mistakes. Below are a few common live streaming mishaps we’ve seen over the years that we think can be avoided, so listen up to ensure they don’t happen to you.

Live Streaming Mistakes (And Tips For Avoiding Them)

Balls Going Rogue

Picture this: You’re watching a live streamed soccer game at home and it’s a critical moment in the game; the striker is lining up to attempt what could be a game-changing free kick. He approaches the ball, swings, and kicks, and… your screen goes dark. In this true story, the live stream came to an abrupt end when the ball hit the camera squarely and destroyed it. We’ve seen the same thing happen with a foul ball during a softball game (see the video clip below—thanks St. Scholastica Saints!). If the live stream setup was dependent on a single camera to capture the action, you and a whole lot of other fans are left hanging. And for those on the production end, well, it’s time for a new camera.

TIP: Think through your camera placement before the game starts. A camera placed too close to the action or in the direct path of gameplay is at risk of getting hit by the ball, or even by players. Also, if you’re doing a single-camera production, it’s a good idea to have a backup camera nearby just in case. Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them—until it does.

Live Streaming Mistakes

Weather Wreaking Havoc

The weather is great fodder for small talk, but it’s not always given enough attention when planning for a live stream. Weather conditions can have a swift and negative impact on the success of your broadcast. We’ve called clients in the past wondering why their live feed stopped only to discover that their equipment was damaged in the rain. We’ve also seen sudden storms cause panic on camera, with everyone rushing to get the cameras under cover. And we can’t forget about gusts of wind knocking over cameras. One second your fans are watching the game and the next they’re getting a good view of the bleachers or clouds in the sky. Bad weather can easily take down your live stream if you’re going in unprepared.

TIP: Listen to weather reports on the day of the event and plan accordingly. If it’s a windy day, make sure your tripod is sturdy and well-rooted to the ground. If there’s any chance of rain, arrange your live stream setup under a pop-up tent, or even indoors if possible. Have whatever equipment you need at the ready, so you’re prepared rain or shine.

Wondering what else you should be prepared for? Download this free checklist to find out the steps you should take before, during, and after every live stream event.

Unintended Eavesdropping

We’ve occasionally gotten emails from fans who’ve heard more on a live stream than they bargained for, thanks to conversations taking place too close to hot mics. Foul language, personal rants, and even pleasant banter between friends have all been caught on tape and streamed out to fans inadvertently. Your viewers just want to watch the game—and while some may be amused, some will most certainly not.

TIP: Advise your camera operators to be mindful of nearby sound anytime mics are on. Operators should also pay attention to loud noises and/or conversations that could be caught on mic due to its positioning. If you’d rather be safe than sorry, most camera mics can also be completely disabled. While a total lack of ambient sound on your broadcast is a less desirable experience for your audience, sometimes this is the best course of action.

Technology Traps

Troubleshooting technological issues can be an irritant and a time suck. Every second counts in a live streaming situation, and the last thing you want to be doing is spending precious minutes (sometimes even hours) working out a technical snafu. We’ve seen operators frantically checking camera manuals, consulting internet forums, asking anyone and everyone for advice, and basically running around in circles, when the solution was simple: the camera was unplugged.

TIP: When troubleshooting tech problems, check the obvious first. Taking a second to do this simple step could save you loads of time. It’s not uncommon for cords placed in high-foot-traffic areas to come unplugged. Make the outlet your first stop should a problem arise and go from there.

Want more live streaming advice?

I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t avoid every mishap—nor do I think you’d want to. In those cases (Joe, I’m looking at you), score one for a thoroughly entertaining and definitively unboring live stream.

But for the most part, we know you want to have an issue-free live stream—and that’s where we come in. We can’t promise that every broadcast will go off without a hitch if you work with us here at Stretch, but I can promise that we’ll do everything we can to make all your live event streaming as pain-free and simple as possible. We’ll do for you what we do for all our clients—offer guidance and advice on everything from what kind of equipment to buy to improving your production workflow to creating a top-notch experience for your viewers. If you want to hear more about what it’s like to partner with us, let’s chat.


Pay-Per-View Streaming Service: 4 Reasons To Choose Stretch

4 Reasons To Choose Stretch

So, you’ve decided to invest in your live streaming future through monetization (congrats!), but where do you go from here? The number one way to generate revenue from your live stream is pay-per-view, so we recommend starting with a little investigative work to find out more about how pay-per-view works and things to consider as you get started.

After that, it’s all about choosing the provider that’s right for you. Your needs—and your goals for your live stream—should inform the comparison process, setting the stage for success. Below are some of the standout features of Stretch’s pay-per-view live streaming service; if it seems like we’re a good match for your organization, let’s talk!

Stretch Pay-Per-View Streaming Service

When you choose Stretch for your pay-per-view needs, you’re getting a lot more than just a live streaming provider—you’re getting a partner who will actively help your program grow. We’ll work closely with you to help you achieve your goals, and guide you through the monetization process to maximize the impact of your efforts. Other benefits to choosing Stretch as your pay-per-view-streaming provider are:

1. You have full control of your live stream portal.

That’s important if you want your live stream to play a role in your organization’s growth strategy. You put time and effort into creating your content—the next step is making sure it’s delivered in a way that’s consistent with the rest of your organization’s branding. At Stretch, we’ll design a custom portal for your live stream, with a clean, professional look and feel. Within the portal, you also have control over the ads that viewers see. Plus, you’re free to utilize the framework around your live stream as yet another monetization opportunity, using it for local business advertisements or to thank sponsors of the content. The portal is clearly yours—which is not the case for many other platforms. So if you want toreinforce your branding, control what appears around your content, and optimize your revenue potential, Stretch can give you what you need.

2. You have plenty of flexibility in pay-per-view packages and viewing options.

Viewers are more likely to buy your video content if you can offer them a range of purchasing options. They may want to watch one event, several events of a similar type, or an entire season of offerings from your organization. That level of package customization isn’t commonly offered among pay-per-view-streaming services, but at Stretch we’re happy to accommodate whatever options you think will be most attractive to viewers. We’ve created day passes, single-event passes, full season (full access) passes, tournament-specific packages, and more, and we can do the same for you. Plus, we offer pay-per-view support for over-the-top devices like Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire, giving your clients an even greater degree of flexibility in how they prefer to watch. So if you’re looking for flexibility with regard to pay-per-view package creation and viewing options, Stretch is a good match.

3. You can offer viewers top-notch customer service—without handling it yourself.

Having multiple viewers means handling multiple issues, all while the live stream is taking place. Inevitably, some fans will experience technical problems; others may have questions about payments or refunds. If you have the manpower to manage it all, customer support may not be an issue for you. But if you don’t, Stretch can help. We handle all viewer inquiries during live streaming events for our clients, and on average, respond in less than five minutes. We also handle all refunds if there’s an issue with an event or a specific user. Great customer service reflects well on your organization, and boosts the level of professionalism. So if you’re looking for someone to handle viewer customer service, Stretch is the perfect choice.

4. You can maximize your revenue.

It’s common for providers that offer pay-per-view streaming services to take a cut of the revenue generated and to split credit card processing fees with their clients. It’s also fairly common for those credit card fees—usually 3%-5% of the transaction amount—to come out of your portion of the profits, not the provider’s. At Stretch, we do things differently. We offer aggressive revenue splits with our clients, and take out all credit card processing fees from our side of the split. That means more money goes into your pocket from every event. Plus, you’ll have easy access to real-time revenue data—the number of purchases, as well as your split—so you’ll always know how much you’re making off each event, even down to details like how many purchases were made while the event was live and how many were made on-demand. So if you’re interested in maximizing your revenue, Stretch is the ideal partner for you.

Want to partner up with Stretch?

Are we your ideal pay-per-view streaming partner? We hope so! If you’d like to learn more about working with us, here are two options for next steps: either schedule a free consultation to talk with us about your live streaming program and goals for monetization, or, schedule a free demo of our live streaming platform. Either way—ask us anything! We’re here to help.