April 7, 2020

Live Streaming

I’ve been experimenting with live streaming on YouTube during the Corona Virus pandemic. I’ve released 2 live streams so far. Live streams are a very different beast from delivering content via edited videos. For one there’s no editing in a live stream (although you can do some light editing once the live stream has finished).

I feel that live streaming does have a place in a channel’s output, but the most important aspect of using live streaming is to work out what role live streaming will play in your channel.

A live stream will have lower video quality than a traditionally uploaded video. You also won’t be able to seamlessly cut out mistakes or edit it into a succinct video.

With this in mind, why would you opt to do a live stream? I can see the merit in live streaming if you want to get something out quickly or have some breaking new. With no editing it will be much quicker to produce and the lower quality (compared to your edited videos) will be forgiven by the audience as a consequence of delivering by live streaming.

The use of live streaming as a tool for a channel could lie in its immediacy. Reasons for streaming content immediately could be:

  • You have an important announcements like who won a contest or the drawing of a result
  • Putting out news that just cannot wait for an edited video
  • Doing a quick report from a trade show rather than delaying the content while it is edited and rendered

In each case the quicker delivery of content or the higher level of transparency benefits the audience.

An audience will, at some level, know that what they see in a live stream cannot be edited. Live streaming will increase an audience’s trust and allow the creator to have a higher level of transparency. This benefits content where a high level of audience trust is required. For example, a prize draw would be trusted more by an audience when it is delivered as a live event rather than any other posting method.

There is also a section of an audience who will appreciate the ability to have early access or are keen to see a bit more of how your production works.

I think live streaming is also applicable to giving your audience the ability to see a raw version of a production if they want. A good example would be recording a podcast. The podcast could be streamed live, as it is recorded, allowing your audience to get an early viewing of it before the edited and polished version is released. Some of the channel’s audience may be keen to see how things are done or to gleam other insights from from watching a raw unedited stream.

To try live streaming out, I streamed two videos that normally I would have either not created or would have output the content as an edited video.

I now have the technical understanding and experience of doing live streaming, but I’m yet to find a good rationale to produce content as a live stream rather than an edited video (I’m not running a competition nor have any breaking news).

You can see my live streams below:

If you are considering a live stream consider:

  • What benefits live streaming would bring over an edited video
  • How you would make the live stream as polished as possible
  • Is there an option to give your audience early access via a live stream without significantly increasing your workload

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