Let’s cut to the chase: You want to choose the right live streaming platform. End of story.
But as you know, that isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Live streaming is a constantly evolving field, and live streaming platform providers are regularly updating their offerings to keep up with these changes. So before you take the plunge and get locked in with a provider, make sure you grill yourself (and your potential providers) with the following nine questions.
9 Important Questions (& 19 Follow-Up Questions) To Ask About Live Streaming Platforms
1. “Will I be getting an actual streaming platform, or will I be getting an embedded player?”
A customized platform is a separate place online that houses your live streaming content aside from your website, while an embedded player can live anywhere on your website. If you’re after a live streaming platform, you’ll want to ensure your provider can accommodate that.
- “Is it important for us to house our live video streams in a different environment?”
- “Does the platform allow us to integrate social media or watch multiple streams at once?”
- “Is it problematic if we take traffic away from our main website by using a separate platform?”
- “How will our branding be affected if we use a separate streaming platform vs. an embedded player?”
2. “What kind of support will be available to me and my end users?
Some time ago, a client called us up and needed help determining why their live stream was black. Everything was hooked up and running just fine, but the video simply wasn’t showing up. Luckily, we were able to identify the culprit—their lens cap was still on the camera! Case and point, a provider can help identify these frustrating (and sometimes funny) details that come along with live streaming.
- ‘“Will someone from the platform’s company help me test my live stream before an event to make sure everything is working?”
- “Will my someone from the platform’s company be proactively monitoring my event during a live stream?”
- “Will my end users have someone to contact at the platform’s company in case they have issues during the live stream?”
3. “What else is the live streaming platform provider involved in?”
Before selecting a platform, you’ll want to find out what else the streaming provider is involved in. Are they also a website hosting provider or a multimedia company? This isn’t a deal breaker, but you should be aware before the selection process begins.
- “Is live streaming a priority at the platform’s organization?”
- “Where does live streaming rank in priority with the organization’s other lines of business?”
4. “Can my end user stream on multiple types of devices?”
Today’s end user isn’t just pulling up a chair to their desktop or laptop computer and watching a live stream—they’re focused more on getting that live stream wherever they’re at, on as many devices as possible.
- “Will my end users be able to pull up our live stream on their phones, tablets, Rokus, Apple TVs, and other devices?”
5. “Is there any ad or self-promotional inventory available to me?”
There is often a trade-off between the cost of a live streaming platform provider and how much control they have over ad inventory. You’ll want to find out the balance of that control before selecting the platform you want.
- “Who has control of the inventory?”
- “What is the revenue split of the inventory?”
- “Do we have an opportunity to promote in our live stream?”
- “How much of the inventory is static (like overlays), and how much is dynamic (like commercials)?”
6. “Is the platform compatible with my current workflow or equipment?”
Some streaming providers have proprietary software and hardware that you can only use with their service. So when you’re in discussions with the provider, make sure you’re clear as to what you have in place and understand if you need to change something.
- “If I purchase a certain hardware or software from the provider and later switch streaming companies, will my equipment still work?”
7. “Is this a ‘white page’ platform?”
“White page” platforms allow for complete control and customization abilities. This is great for those who are set on ensuring that your brand is consistent across your website and on your live streaming platform.
- “Is there any element of the live streaming platform that I cannot change?”
8. “How does the pricing model work?”
While some providers in the collegiate athletics space charge per event or charge a flat annual rate for live streaming, most live streaming platform providers base pricing on hours or users. If this is the case, you’ll want to consider how often you live stream and what your user base is like (and will be like in the future).
- “If I pay by the number of end users who access a given live stream, how does that process work?”
- “If I pay for the number of hours I stream, do I have to pay upfront for a set number of hours at a set price?”
9. And don’t forget about partnership: “Will the provider of the live streaming platform act as a resource to us?”
If you’re having a difficult time determining what kind of live streaming setup you need, or if you have a specific question about your live stream, will the platform provider be there to answer that question? Live streaming is an evolving industry, so you’ll want a knowledgeable consultant in the space to turn to.
- “Will this provider be involved after we purchase the platform?”
If you’re looking for the right partner to guide and assist you through the live streaming process, 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.