You know what’s better than reaching a live audience over YouTube? Reaching a live audience over YouTube, YouNow, Facebook Live, Twitch, and Periscope all at the same time. It sounds ambitious, but that’s where we’re headed as live streaming technology develops enough sophistication to make us all multimedia masters.
Live streaming has given everyone with a webcam the ability to broadcast themselves all over the internet. That means none of us have to be tied down with exclusive deals of loyalty to any particular platform like some celebrity chef on TV. Online broadcast rights are evolving, but they don’t extend to your home studio just yet.
The technology necessary to live stream to multiple platforms isn’t prohibitively complex, either. As software has come to displace hardware as the key ingredient to sending video over the web, providers have been going out of their way to make things as user-friendly as possible. So, there’s no reason to hold your audience to a platform ransom or restrict your exposure to whatever source happens to be flavor of the month. You can reach them all, so do it.
Who Can Make Your Live Stream Multiply?
Of course, the platforms themselves aren’t going to help you access their competitors. User-produced content is a cheap and potentially valuable source of material that is in such demand that sites like Facebook Live will pay you for live streaming your digital opinions and performances if you can hold an audience of 300 people.
This means that you’ll have to use a third-party app to spread your message across multiple virtual venues. Be careful though, some apps are closely tied to a specific platform and prohibit transmission to rival services. There are plenty, however, that let you send your signal to multiple sites simultaneously. These include, but are by no means restricted to:
These services cater to various types of clients, from amateurs to big corporations, so they range in quality, complexity, and price. That means you’ll want to do some homework before you settle on one that’s right for your needs.
Once you’ve got a third-party supplier on board, it’s time to get yourself some air time.
How to Live Stream to Multiple Platforms
As we mentioned earlier, software today is all about keeping things simple. In that spirit, most of the providers on the above list have taken the complexity of computing and transmission and hidden it behind a user-friendly interface. Once you choose your preferred destinations–and keep in mind that not every app will broadcast to every platform–it’s just a matter of checking boxes to make the process work.
Restream will perform the task for free, which is nice, but while it can access dozens of platforms, the only big names are YouTube and Twitch, which is a little disappointing. But it’s easy to use, as you basically just copy and paste destinations into your home streaming account, as can be seen in the video below:
By home streaming account, we mean the underlying software that does all the recording and digital converting. The multi-platform apps above and the sites they reach are just dissemination points, so you’ll need a streaming provider like XSplit or OBS to do the heavy technical lifting–although bigger sites like Facebook Live and YouTube will automatically install those services for you if you use them exclusively, and some webcams such as the Logitech C922 ship with free membership access to a streaming provider.
That brings us to why you’d bother to go through this process and stream to multiple platforms at once.
Why Live Stream to Multiple Sites Simultaneously?
The simple answer is, of course, to reach as many people as possible. It’s important to realize that the live stream market has grown to resemble all the choices and niches the social media industry has developed over the past decade. Just as certain messaging services and platforms are preferred by certain groups, so, too, is the live stream crowd split. There is the broad, cable TV feel of YouTube, with its thousands and thousands of channels, the gamer-centric meeting places like Twitch, and the news and live event core of Periscope. VC Daily has previously discussed the specifics of live streaming over the various leading sites; looking at the venue’s audience is a good way to get a sense of what niche it caters to.
But the bottom line is that all this choice has splintered the live stream scene. Online viewers have their favorites, and rather than chase your desired audience through a specific channel, you’re better off just sending your stream out over them all.
More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube alone each day and more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major TV networks have created in the past 30 years. Everyone is watching, and they’re doing it in all kinds of places around the internet. Live streaming to multiple platforms simultaneously lets you get your message in front of as many of those people as possible.