No matter the event budget, technology available or planning involved, live streaming events still isn’t a fool-proof process. From faulty local setups to server issues to client-side problems, live streaming has a way to go before it’s as reliable as TV programming.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be really, really great. With technologies like Windows Azure available, budget and planning are often the only obstacles when offering decent live streaming in HD (720p, usually) for those who can’t be there in person.
While we’re not huge fans of live streaming without the aforementioned budget and planning considerations, we have and will continue to promote such as complementary options or value adds for event attendees. We will always believe the true power of events is in the personal contact, but know that live streaming’s convenience is a huge plus. Just remember to set expectations.
Be Honest About Bandwidth
While most residential cable connections can handle live streaming, it’s important to remind viewers that all other network traffic should be kept to a minimum. Downloading large updates, using web-based apps or uploading files should be done sparingly in order to keep your live stream flowing correctly.
Allow For Buffering Delays
Live streams will occasionally freeze. While most techies accept this as part of the deal, non-computer-savvy folks may be annoyed at this. While most live-streaming tech dynamically buffer their streams to allow for interruptions in traffic, letting your viewers know ahead of time will ease much of their worry.
Keep Pricing Reasonable
Seldom are event planners able to recoup live streaming costs via paid viewers alone. While we like charging a fee of some kind to help offset costs, recruiting a sponsor or even showing very short ads is likely to work better. Live streaming, at least for most current events, is far more of a marketing/advertising line item than a true attendee offering.
We’re eager to see how The Rumble 2012, featuring Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart, works out this Saturday. Have you signed up?