Pay-Per-View Live Streaming: Picture Your Event In Action

Pay-Per-View Large

Want to see what pay-per-view live streaming looks like in action?

Check out a free demo of the pay-per-view video platform here at Stretch.

You’ll see what the PPV experience looks like from two perspectives—yours and your viewers’. Our free demo includes:

  • A walk-through of an actual Stretch PPV portal so you can see what your audience will experience.
  • An overview of our content management system to show you the basics of managing your PPV portal, including how easy it is to schedule your broadcasts, download files, check viewer stats, and more.
  • A look at our high-level support services, like live-stream event monitoring and always-available phone assistance.

We’ll also answer any questions you have about our pay-per-view services, how pay-per-view might work for your organization, and about live streaming in general.

By the end of your demo, you’ll have a good feel for what it’s like to work with Stretch, and an understanding of our philosophy:

Our clients are our partners. Your success with pay-per-view live streaming is as important to us as it is to you.

Schedule a free demo of our PPV platform by filling out the form today!

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Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Services: Your Guide To Hosting & Platforms

Not ready to see our PPV platform just yet? Not a problem. You may still be trying to better understand how it works, determine the benefits of PPV, or see whether it’s a good fit for your organization’s content. In that case, read on to find out a few important points about pay-per-view live streaming you should know before diving in.

Pay-per-view isn’t the only way you can generate revenue with your live stream. Download this free guide to find out more about monetization options.

Not all live streaming platforms are pay-per-view video platforms.

As of now, none of the free live streaming platforms—YouTube, Ustream, Periscope, etc.—are capable of putting video content behind a paywall. And in fact, even many paid live streaming platforms don’t have the infrastructure to support PPV and the activities associated with it. Fans typically pay for events by credit card, which means the platform you use must have some way to handle credit card processing.

So if you’re currently using one of these platforms to live stream your events, you’ll need to switch to a provider with more advanced capabilities.

How Stretch does it: While many live streaming companies use outside vendors for payment processing, we handle it all in-house. When an end user purchases video content, the transaction goes through our own secure processing system. For you, that means superior customer service. As your live streamed event takes place, you can “talk” access our payment system directly and track your revenue in real time. And if our support team receives an email from fan who needs a refund for any reason, we can easily log into our merchant account and provide a refund right away—no back-and-forth necessary.

Pay-per-view services take a cut of the money.

It’s common for live streaming platform providers to take a cut of the revenue generated from PPV. Beyond that, there are two questions you’ll need to ask:

  • What percentage of the revenue from the event will you receive?
  • Who pays the credit card processing fees? These fees usually come to 3%-5% of the transaction amount. Many live streaming providers take those fees out of the total revenue, then split the remaining funds with you.

How Stretch does it: Stretch does a gross revenue split, meaning the total revenue is split with you first, and then credit card processing fees are taken out of our share only. That means more money in your pocket from every event.

Flexible pay-per-view packages can maximize your returns.

Fans are more likely to buy your video content if you offer them a range of purchasing options. Some people want to watch one game, while others know they want to view every game of the season. Still others might want to watch only championship games.

The problem is, not all pay-per-view live streaming providers offer high degrees of flexibility. If the only purchase option fans have available is high-definition (cost) vs. standard definition (free), that’s not enough to provide a great experience for fans. We highly suggest making it easy for people to pay ahead of time for whichever package they prefer.

How Stretch does it: You design your viewing packages, mixing and matching whatever you like, and we make it happen. Our sports clients create packages that include everything from day passes to team passes to playoff packages to second-half-of-the-season packages.

Ease into pay-per-view live streaming the way you want to.

If you’re hesitant about how PPV will be perceived by your fans, take it slow. Start with the minimum price required (this will vary by provider) and work your way up over time. Use the ramping-up time to build a fan base, putting the proceeds back into your equipment to help produce a higher-quality broadcast. It’s a great way to generate some revenue and improve your live stream at the same time.

How Stretch does it: To cover our margins we may set a minimum price per event, but if you don’t want to charge that much, we’ll work with you to get to where you’re comfortable. We want you to feel good about your offering, and help you attract as many viewers as possible.

Let viewers access your live content however they want.

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming devices are increasing in popularity—there’s one in four out of every 10 U.S. households. Your fans should be able to access your PPV content on their platform of choice, whether through Apple TV, Roku, or anything else. Some platform providers offer support for OTT, but not all have the ability to put the video content behind a paywall.

How Stretch does it: We can deliver any live broadcast to an OTT device as PPV content. The key is giving viewers a way to prove they’ve paid for the content, which we do through an activation code. To watch, viewers simply log into their Stretch account on a laptop or a phone, get an activation code for their purchase, and plug the code into their OTT device.

Interested in offering pay-per-view live streaming?

We’d love to work with you to get it started. If you have questions about our pay-per-view services or how pay-per-view-live streaming might work for your organization, let’s talk. In a free 30-minute consultation we’ll answer any questions you have about PPV; or, if you’re already using PPV but are looking for a new platform provider, we’ll review your current monetization strategy and see how it can be improved. Monetization is a natural extension of live streaming—take advantage of it!


How To Transition From Free To Pay-Per-View Streaming Service

How To Transition From Free To Pay-Per-View Streaming Service

Change is good, and it can be great if you prepare for it ahead of time. Hopefully you’re here because your organization has made a decision to try pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming, and you’re doing your homework upfront (good for you!). If you’re still on the fence about PPV, you might want to take a look here first. Then head on back because we know you’ll be pumped to get started.

As a pay-per-view live streaming service, we’ve helped lots of clients transition from offering free live streamed events to PPV. If you choose to work with Stretch, don’t worry—you won’t be figuring it all out on your own! In general, though, you should be aware of the steps involved in switching to PPV, because there’s more to it than saying, “Let’s go for it!” I’d suggest putting some thought into the first four steps listed below, then contacting your pay-per-view streaming service of choice to talk through the transition together. Your live stream platform provider should be able to guide you through a seamless switch!

Estimate how much you’ll make through PPV with this live streaming calculator, and get tips on how to boost your earning potential.

6 Steps To Transitioning To Pay-Per-View Live Streaming

1. Determine that it’s the right time to start PPV live streaming.

Your pay-per-view live stream is more likely to be successful if the following are true:

    • Your content has some degree of exclusivity. This doesn’t mean your events have to be unusual; it could simply mean you’re a local baseball league that plays a limited number of games per season with a limited number of seats. If someone can’t make it to the venue, there’s no way they’d be able to see it without the help of your live stream. One of our clients,, is U.S.-based but has members who occasionally attend tournaments in other countries. Most fans won’t be able to attend, but they can still get in on the action thanks to the live stream.

Sport martial arts live event

  • You already have a sizable potential audience. Numbers vary from one organization to the next—but hopefully you already have fans who you know are interested in your content. Look to your social media tools to help here; for instance, how many Facebook “fans” do you have? How many Instagram followers, etc.? All those followers can be counted as potential audience members when you’re ready to start PPV live streaming.
  • You produce high-quality video content consistently. The value of your content plays into pricing, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need to have a professional-level broadcast. The key is that your production level should be of good quality and remain consistent through every broadcast. That can be a challenge if you’re constantly changing venues, so you need to have the logistics of setting up a live stream mastered no matter where the event takes place. Fans are more likely to abandon your live stream if the quality level is unpredictable. (If you need help solidifying your process, check out these tips from the pros.)

If you can check all these boxes comfortably, it’s probably the right time for you. On to step 2.

2. Figure out your goals for PPV.

There are two types of goals to consider:

  • Goals for what you want to get out of your live stream. Knowing why you’re doing it will help focus your efforts. Some organizations want to make additional profit that helps their bottom line; others want to use the money to improve and/or expand the live streaming program (like the Northwoods League, which has been doing PPV live streaming successfully for seven years). Still others want to use live streaming to increase their brand awareness or find out more about their target audience. All of these are great reasons to do PPV—but you need to know which goal you’re shooting for.
  • Goals for your broadcasts. Because consistency is so important to a successful PPV strategy, it’s a good idea to set some parameters around your streaming from the start. How many broadcasts will you try to live stream? How often will you offer them? For individual broadcasts, how many cameras will you have at each event? How many production members per event? Answers will vary based on your content and your venue(s).

3. Determine your pay-per-view pricing.

Setting a price point that maximizes customer satisfaction and engagement yet brings in enough money to make it all worthwhile can be tricky, but it is possible. (At Stretch we work closely with all our clients to help determine fair prices.) Before consulting with your pay-per-view streaming service, consider the following:

  • Who is your target audience? If your event will attract mostly locals, your pricing should be equal to or cheaper than the actual event. If your event has national appeal, price it as low as possible to encourage a greater number of viewers.
  • What are your viewers willing to pay? There will always be people who object to paying for content, so try to determine what a majority of viewers would consider to be a reasonable price.
  • What is the value of your content? If your content is particularly impressive from a production standpoint, you can charge more than you would for a very basic live stream. You can always work your way up.
  • What are your goals? If you’re hoping the revenue from PPV will cover the cost of production, for example, start by figuring out what you would need to make in order for that to happen.

Also, consider packaging your content to make it more appealing to viewers (and to maximize revenue). Not all pay-per-view live streaming services have the ability to do this, but at Stretch, we’ve created day passes, single-event passes, full-season (full-access) passes, tournament-specific packages, and more. Whatever works for you, we can make it happen. Organizations just starting out with pay-per-view may also want to work in discounts—like offering a 10-event pass for the price of eight regular events.

4. Devise a marketing strategy.

A big part of making your pay-per-view live stream successful is drumming up interest—and therefore viewers—through marketing. (Check out the clever marketing ideas employed by the WCHA for inspiration.) Although a marketing strategy will probably unfold over time, it’s good to have an initial plan about the following:

  • How do you plan to let people know about your PPV live stream events? Social media? Email blasts? Instagram?
  • Will you create a teaser of some sort?
  • Where will people access it from—your website? Social media links?

*Tip: Stick to a regular streaming schedule if possible, so viewers always know when something’s happening.

5. Roll it out!

Put action to words and get streaming! A nice way to transition into PPV live streaming is to start slow: Continue to provide some content for free, as a “teaser” into wanting more, paid content., which made the transition to PPV recently, continued to show a portion of some matches for free on its Facebook page, but also provided the link to its Stretch portal alongside, where viewers could catch the action happening simultaneously in eight different rings. It’s a great strategy to draw viewers into PPV gradually.

Sport martial arts facebook

6. Assess how it’s going…

… but be patient. You may be tempted to make price or other changes after a single event if you didn’t get the audience you hoped, but it’s definitely too early to tell. If you’ve been consistent about your broadcasts, you’ll have a better idea of how things are going after several events. (Remember, there’s a learning curve for viewers, too, who have to get used to accessing your content through a portal and making payments.) After that you’ll have a better way to gauge what might need to be changed, whether it’s a new marketing strategy or adjusted prices or packages.

Do you have a pay-per-view live streaming service that can help with the transition?

A good pay-per-view streaming service can set the stage for PPV success, and help you all the way through the transition process. (Check out these four reasons you should consider choosing Stretch!) If you’re looking for a live streaming partner who can help maximize your revenue, why not talk to us? Or, schedule a free demo of our live streaming portal to see the experience we provide for both you and your viewers. Good luck with the transition—we hope we can help!

Should Churches Live Stream Their Christmas Service?


For many people, Christmas and Christmas Eve church services are high on the list of meaningful traditions of the season. Even though most churchgoers would like to be able to attend their own church’s holiday service, sometimes it’s just not possible to be there physically. But that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the occasion.

Churches that are willing to live stream their Christmas services not only ensure that all their congregants can enjoy the sermon and festivities, but also invite others outside the congregation to join in, expanding the church community. If live streaming could be wrapped up in a bow, we’d say it’s an excellent Christmas gift, for churches, congregants, and community members.

If your church is considering live streaming their Christmas service, we recommend carefully considering the questions below to make sure you’re fully prepared:

Christmas Live Streaming For Churches: Things To Consider

  • Do you have access to the necessary equipment? You don’t need much to get started with live streaming, but you will need some basic audio and video equipment. If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at this equipment checklist and this camera guide we created specifically for churches. Much of this equipment is available in varying price ranges, so you don’t have to break the bank.

    Keep in mind that live streaming for churches is becoming more commonplace year-round. In fact, 30,000 Google searches each month relate to finding church services online, and churches that live stream consistently are seeing major benefits. The equipment you buy should be considered an investment in your church’s future that will continue on well after your initial Christmas service live stream.

  • How will the logistics of your Christmas service impact your live stream? Sometimes Christmas services are more complex than regular church services because they may include caroling groups, short plays depicting the birth of Christ, candlelight musical performances, etc. Elements like these may require more thought to ensure good camera and microphone placement; you may also need additional microphones to capture the best sound possible. Work through these logistics well ahead of time to be sure you have all contingencies covered before services begin. There may even be dress rehearsals of these performances which would be a great opportunity to do a test run of your live stream as well.

Beyond buying equipment, do you need help getting your live stream up and running? Download this free guide for seven detailed, easy steps to follow.

  • Can you find the right people to help? No tech department at your church? That’s not unusual—and it’s no reason to forego Christmas service live streaming! Most churches rely on tech-savvy volunteers who care about the ministry to help run the live stream—even if they don’t have much experience in the area. Plus, many churches have discovered that once they started live streaming, a number of young people stepped up to the plate to pitch in. All you need is one knowledgeable person who’s willing to get the ball rolling; from there, they can recruit others. (You might find it helpful to read how one live production director views recruiting at his church.) Additional outside help can also be found with the right live streaming platform provider (see below!).
  • Do you have a platform to share your live stream? Before you can start live streaming, you need to decide how you plan to broadcast. In other words, what online platform will you use to share your live stream with the world? There are two kinds of live streaming platforms: social media networks like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook; and live streaming platform providers like Stretch (and many others).

    Social media networks are no-cost platforms, but you’ll need to be confident in your own technical expertise since they provide little to no support. On the other hand, a good live streaming platform provider will add to the budget, but in return you’ll receive technical support, guidance on equipment and production techniques, and a custom portal designed specifically for your church—all of which will dramatically improve the quality of your live stream. Do your research before you choose, so you can make a more informed decision (and better allocate your resources!).

  • Think about ways you can use the live stream to promote your church. More than half of all Americans plan to go to church at some point during the Christmas holiday. That’s a big jump from the 20% who attend church regularly, so it’s safe to assume your live stream might also be accessed by some folks who aren’t regulars. Plan opportunities during the live stream (prior to or after the service) to point first-timers to your website, talk about your mission statement and/or beliefs, and instruct people how they can get more information about your church, or connect with your church via a digital “connection card” on your website.

Want more information about live streaming for churches? We’d love to help!

Whether you’re only considering Christmas service live streaming or researching the idea of a longer-term streaming program, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about setup, equipment, or live streaming in general. Contact us anytime!



A Pageant Planning Checklist (Specifically For Live Streaming)


As a pageant director, you have something of incredible value—the ability to create original video content associated with an in-demand, one-time-only live event.

In the world of live streaming, that’s considered an ace in the hole.

Not only is your pageant one-of-a-kind, but you also have an interested audience ready and waiting. Sure, many of them will attend the pageant in person, but many of them won’t be able to make it—which is where your live stream comes in.

We’d like to help you take advantage of this opportunity to get a wider audience for your event , raise your pageant’s profile, and maybe even make a little more money. If you’re new to live streaming (trust us—it’s easier than you think!), take a look at this article first. Then come back here for a pageant planning checklist that will help you get organized before you get going.

A Pageant Director’s Checklist For Live Streaming

Preparation is everything when it comes to live streaming. The more information you have about the event, the contestants, and the venue ahead of time, the better off you’ll be. And while you’ll never be able to predict everything that could happen during a live stream, we strongly recommend being as prepared as possible—which is where this pageant planning checklist comes in:

𝩊 Determine the best locations for cameras based on the action and the audience.

If you haven’t planned the stage blocking for the pageant yourself, talk to the person in charge of it to get as much detail as you can about important areas of activity. For example, is there a place where pageant contestants will be positioned for judging? Where will contestants be lining up? Where will the stage microphone be, and where will the awards be presented? Strategize your camera positioning around those areas so your viewers can see as much as possible. But keep in mind you’ll have a live audience as well, so be sure your cameras don’t impede the view from any location.

Not sure what cameras or other equipment you need? Download our extensive live streaming checklist for a complete list of equipment—plus a lot more tasks to check off in preparation for the big event.

𝩊 Prepare graphics for each contestant ahead of time.

Viewers enjoy seeing biographical information about each contestant on-screen along with their close-up camera shot. If you have a detailed list of participants handy, start working on graphics that include each person’s name, age, hometown, and any other information you’d like to share, and put them in the correct order of appearance.

𝩊 Prepare the content you’ll use to fill break times.

Live pageants take breaks—but if you shut off your live stream during breaks it’s possible you’ll lose some viewers who think they’ve tuned in to the wrong place or that the event is over. Instead, create something like the image below—including the time that you expect to resume the live feed—to keep your viewers in the loop. Or you may choose to fill the time with pre-produced interest pieces on contestants or the pageant, or with commercials. Another option is to stream some live interviews with participants or judges during the break. Whatever option you choose is fine, but make the decision well ahead of time so you can prepare for it.


𝩊 Prepare for individual contestant interviews.

Viewers are usually interested in finding out more about contestants, so short interviews are a popular component of most pageant live streams. But you’ll need to figure out the logistics of those interviews well before the pageant begins. When and how will you connect with the contestants you choose? Do you have the necessary A/V equipment to make it happen?

𝩊 Plan how you’ll incorporate master sound from the venue into your live stream.

Whether it’s the music being played or the emcee or contestants talking, you’ll want to bring the sounds from the pageant directly into your production rather than relying on your equipment to pick it up. How you interface with the master sound will vary depending on your live stream setup, but you may be able to pull an output from the main soundboard into your own workflow. Coordinate with the on-site sound crew to see how you might be able to pull audio out of their main board and what cabling you’ll need to accomplish that. This creates a much cleaner video feed, and will sound better for your viewers.

𝩊 Plan how you’ll record the live stream.

The demand for your original content won’t necessarily end just because the pageant itself is over! You may be able to sell DVDs of the event, or make it available on your live stream portal for streaming on-demand. We always recommend recording your event two ways—through your streaming provider and locally, on your computer’s hard drive or on your production unit—so you have a safety net in case one method fails.

Want a live streaming checklist to complement your pageant planning checklist?

We can help! We may not be experts in how to direct a pageant, but we are live streaming experts who have assisted many pageant directors in broadcasting their events. If you’d like to know more about the equipment you’ll need for live streaming and a complete list of the steps involved in preparing for a broadcast, check out our extensive live streaming checklist.

Or, if you’d like to chat with us about your specific event, set up a free consultation. Whether you’re experienced in live streaming or have never done it before, the goal is the same—to produce a top-notch live stream of your pageant. We can help you get there.


Benefits Of Pay Per View Live Streaming (Beyond ROI)


For those of you still standing on the sidelines when it comes to pay-per-view streaming (PPV), what’s holding you back?

You may think PPV is out of reach for your live streaming program. Maybe you’ve tried out our ROI calculator and decided you won’t turn a big profit, so why bother?

We understand your hesitation—but there are plenty of good reasons to start PPV live streaming, none of which involve lining your organization’s theoretical pockets with cash. Lots of our clients currently doing PPV are benefitting from even small amounts of revenue, and from non-monetary perks as well. Below are some of the real motivations behind their various pay-per-view live streaming strategies; maybe one of them applies to you.

Money from the pay-per-view live stream can be used to improve and/or expand the program.

Not surprisingly, in most organizations, live streaming doesn’t often show up as a line item in the budget. Sometimes it’s a boot-strapped effort, pulled together from a few extra bucks saved here and there.

You may not think you’ll draw a lot of viewers—and therefore revenue—but even if you can generate a nominal amount from your live stream, you’ll have that much more to put back into the program. Small investments in new equipment add up over time, resulting in a better product and the ability to stream more content.

Take the Northwoods League, for example, which has been doing pay-per-view live streaming for seven years. The cost of their live streaming operation is significant (with 20 teams and four cameras per team), and PPV live streaming gives them a chance to recoup some of those costs.

Pay-per-view isn’t the only way to monetize your content—
download this free guide to find out more!

We’ve written on this blog before about the importance of incremental improvement, and that’s where PPV comes in. Whether it involves more or better equipment, more personnel, better marketing, or expanding your programming, a little extra cash flow (over time) goes a long way.

Pay-per-view streaming provides deeper insight into your target audience.

This Entrepreneur article points out that, “with live streaming, you no longer have to sit around and wonder what your audience is thinking.” Free content is useful, but people who are watching it just because it’s there and it’s free may not be as likely to engage with you or become a customer. Even if you offer free access to your content, live streaming gives you more chances to interact with your audience, using things like live Q & A sessions and social media interaction to ask about their problems and ideal solutions.

A pay-per-view live stream, however, presents a better opportunity to define (and refine) your target audience. Those willing to pay for content are the ones who see the most value in it, and are also more likely to invest in your product. Subscriptions, in particular, provide valuable data about your viewers, such as demographics, geographical locations, and devices used to watch the live stream. All of that information can help focus your future activities, not only for the broadcast (like providing a better mobile experience, if most of your viewers are watching there) but also for the organization as a whole (doing more targeted marketing).

Using a pay-per-view live stream strategy helps get your foot in the door with content owners.

If you’d like to live stream but you’re not a content producer or someone who owns content rights, you can still get in the game with PPV.

If you are a production company, you could use this strategy quite successfully. Your team wouldn’t be able to stream a high-school sporting event on their own because you don’t own rights to the content—but you could strike a deal with the school to broadcast the games and put them behind a paywall for viewing, splitting the proceeds between your company and the s school. The same tactic could be used with a community center, local government, or any organization that owns content.

Without PPV, you would have to pay out of pocket to acquire the rights to streaming content. With PPV, you’re not paying anything to any organization for streaming rights—just splitting the proceeds. Plus, it’s a great way to demonstrate your value to outside organizations even if you don’t have access to original content.

Want to find out more about how pay-per-view streaming works?

You can find out more about PPV—and other live stream monetization options—by setting up a free consultation call with us. We can talk about your live streaming goals, suggest some strategies for getting the most out of your stream, and provide guidance on pricing your PPV. No commitment to Stretch necessary!


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.”

Wondering how much revenue you could be generating with your live stream? Here’s your chance to find out. 

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.

Wondering how much revenue you could be generating with your live stream? Here’s your chance to find out. 

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.