Getting Live Streaming done right will give a massive boost to your online video initiative.
Learning how to do it right from the experts can save you at lot of time and headaches as you try to navigate this new form's many pitfalls.
Having used Jackshoot many times in the past for our events and being well impressed with their work I asked their co-founder Ken Coppel for some tips and tricks on how to bring Live Streaming into your video arsenal. With over 20 years cummilative experience between him and his business partner Simon it would pay to give him a listen:
[Brightcove]: Why Live Stream at all?
[Ken Coppel]: Whether you recognize it as such or not you already have a ʻdigital channelʼ which is not constrained in its reach by country borders or satellite footprints. Your website is your bespoke channel of information to your visitors - worldwide. It makes sense therefore that you engage and interact as directly with them as possible - clearly a scheduled live broadcast is the most effective and quantiﬁable means of achieving this interactivity. In addition when promoting or inviting your audience ahead of the broadcast you can collect demographic data to assist in your programming decisions, further enhancing the demonstration of your creativity to your visitors. If you get it right this promotional circle will drive trafﬁc and build your channel proﬁle, and ultimately help you achieve your goals.
[BC]: What are the top pitfalls a newcomer to live streaming can make?
[KC]: Having been involved with live events on the internet since 1999 I can say without hesitation that the top pitfall is forgetting to tell anyone that you are going to be broadcasting live! Seriously Iʼd be very wealthy if I took a pound for every viewer clients thought they would be getting and didn't because they didn't tell them about it! Just telling people on your website that you are broadcasting is NOT enough - no matter how big you think your reach is - donʼt be scared of integrating an ofﬂine campaign with online to drive the audience. All the eyeballs are going to be yours so its worth a spend to get their attention!
Secondly think hard about your content - there is merit in the old adage that ʻcontent is kingʼ and you need to be fresh, new and exciting.....it all reﬂects on your brand in the end. Donʼt forget to consider your audience - another old adage ʻtiming is everythingʼ - simple but true if you are looking to maximize the potential audience.
Lastly the internet is not a ʻperfectʼ broadcast medium - donʼt get me wrong it is damn good these days, but the ʻlast mileʼ to the end viewer is still a little uncontrollable so not everybody's experience is going to be perfect....the majority will be happy but there will be some complaints; plan for them!
[BC]: What are the top 5 tips and tricks to get the best live streaming experience?
[KC]: When thinking about these they became pretty much a list of how to select a supplier for any service!
Streaming has complex and technical elements and the reality is that you donʼt really need to know all about it - in the same way you donʼt need to understand how your laptop works, but your purchasing decision for that laptop was based on price/trust/recommendation etc..
So - obviously start with a leading video platform like Brightcove to help you get the reach and capacity that your event deserves; and use a professional streaming service partner like Jackshoot, ideally one that comes highly recommended! You'll need to trust this provider, look for evidence of planning and back up plans and listen to their advice. Hereʼs the crunch - if you have briefed them fully i.e. explain the rational for the event, your aims and objectives and your key success factors they will be fully armed to meet your expectations and the demands of your broadcast, and it will be a success.
Remember that there is always more than one way to ʻskin a catʼ so be wary of the salesman offering something for nothing! It never fails to astonish me that people will consider risking their brand on a ʻfreeʼ service. Donʼt get me wrong, Iʼm all for saving on unnecessary costs but Iʼm not into risking everything....and sometimes this is what is on offer for free!
[BC]: What are your most memorable live streaming events?
[KC]: We were approached by an Agency client to help them deliver a large global music event, for one of the worlds largest IT Companies, to span several continents simultaneously. The brief was to stage four music events in Athens, Istanbul, Dubai and Johannesburg, with simultaneous broadcast communications between the 4 shows. This enabled a section of each local show to be broadcast and included into the other three locations shows ..... LIVE! In addition to this four-way live satellite link up, we provided individual live video webcasts in each location, running in parallel with the four music events.
We were able to control the entire broadcast remotely, during the ʻLiveʼ period from a temporary Broadcast Operations Centre, which we created at a Westminster studio facility. From here we could manage the four webcast transmissions and all the feeds out to the stage screens, that we had positioned in each country. This 3 month project stretched us both technically and logistically and was very satisfying to deliver successfully!
The only other one to mention was a little music session for AOL with The Stereophonics. It was just the band and me in a little music recording studio - and I wasnʼt a fan, it was just another job. When Kelly had ﬁnished belting out Maybe Tomorrow I was converted.....now a massive fan!!
[BC]: What equipment do you use?
[KC]: Without being pedantic - we use whatever the most effective broadcast equipment is thatʼs appropriate to the brief and budget! We donʼt use webcams and dial up or 3G internet connections - what we do reﬂects on our clients brands and we do not entertain any risks with those!
[BC]: What was your worst experience and why?
[KC]: I do this because I love the buzz associated with going live. Weʼve always taken the schedule very seriously as the traditional TV broadcasters do - this does leave me sometimes with a ʻcold turkeyʼ effect post event as all the planning and broadcast is over and a void is left! Otherwise I love it!!
Ken Coppel is co-founder of Jackshoot, a Brightcove Technology Alliance member. If you're on the lookout for someone who can help make your next live event a success, or just have some questions around how Live Streaming can make your online video offering even better then head over to Jackshoot.tv to contact Ken.
-- Cameron Church