Continuous Streaming: How to Produce a 24/7 Live Stream
Live-streaming has been an online rage for a hot minute now, with more and more brands understanding its potential and jumping on the bandwagon to start their own online channels.
24-hour live streams are the latest variation of the trend, and you can also use them to your advantage. Organizations and businesses of all sizes and industries can use continuous streaming to pique the audience’s interests, improve the brand’s image, and start a new stream of revenue.
Not only is one of the best ways to connect with your audience for businesses and organizations, but it’s also a great way to generate views by creating a sense of urgency among your viewers.
As more people move to watch live online content over traditional television content, the demand for continuous live streams has continued to increase. 24/7 live streaming, also known as linear video production,
Today, we will discuss over-the-top (OTT) live streaming and the necessary steps to launch a successful 24/7 live streaming.
Then, we will explore the difference between 24/7 live streaming on YouTube and a private video streaming platform. After that, we will ensure you have some tips to help create a successful linear 24/7 live streaming experience for your viewers.
What is OTT Streaming?
Before diving into linear live streaming, it is important to understand what OTT streaming is and how it differs from traditional cable.
OTT stands for “over-the-top.” The phrase “over-the-top” describes an OTT stream bypassing traditional cable and satellite technology. Instead, OTT streaming uses wireless internet to share video content instead of a physical, wired cable, or satellite connection.
Traditionally, if you were watching a tv show, you’d turn on a television connected with cable or satellite to a broadcast provider to access the show you wanted to watch. OTT allows you to watch live broadcasts and on-demand content on any internet-enabled device instead of being restricted to a television with a cable or satellite connection.
What makes OTT streaming unique is that you can access an OTT stream on any device with an internet connection, such as:
- Gaming console
There are significantly more devices you can use to access OTT content in comparison to satellite and cable television.
You can only access satellite and cable television if you have a cable box or satellite dish installed and connected to a television.
OTT streaming is more accessible for your viewers since they can access the content on more devices and with less extra equipment. All they need is a device with an internet connection, not a bulky cable box or satellite dish, subscription, and television.
How to Do a 24/7 Live Stream in 6 Steps
Learning how to make a 24/7 live stream is simple if you follow our six steps. Independent networks commonly use linear live streaming via OTT technology. A wide variety of content works well with linear live streaming set-up, such as:
Let’s look at a few of the important steps for setting up 24/7 live streaming. In particular, we’ll review how to bypass common issues and ensure a smooth 24/7 stream for your viewers.
1. Choose the Best Online Video Platform
Broadcasting a continual 24/7 live stream is now easier than ever before thanks to improved technology.
The online-streaming platform you select for live streaming can make or break your entire project. Learning how to do a 24 hour live stream is only the start, to launch successful live-streams, you need a solid and reliable platform to back you up. To launch a 24/7 live stream, you’ll need an online video platform or OVP for short.
An OVP hosts and delivers your content to viewers. Typically, online video hosting services providers also provide tools for:
- API access for customization
These are just a few of the useful tools that a video hosting service can provide you with that you can use to create a quality live streaming experience.
Since not all OVPs support 24/7 live streaming or any live broadcasting you will want to make sure that you choose a plan from a solution that offers this support.
Keep in mind that 24/7 streaming requires a platform that can support you through these long hours and is reliable enough to be trusted throughout your broadcast. As a 24/7 live channel broadcaster, you need support that works around the clock as you do. Many video platforms only offer tech support during business hours in the country they are based in.
That is why you will want to find an OVP with 24/7 support, so if you need help at any hour of the day, you can get the support you need.
2. Consider Bandwidth Costs
Providing a 24/7 streaming service free of cost is kind of expensive. With linear live streaming, you are constantly using bandwidth. These costs can add up when your live stream lasts an entire day. Linear live streaming is one of the most bandwidth-heavy methods of sharing video content that you can choose.
Since linear live streaming is bandwidth-heavy, you will want to choose an online video hosting service with reasonable bandwidth costs and pricing methodologies.
For example, some OVP offer plans with unlimited bandwidth. Others charge per GB of bandwidth you use. Each OVP has a different way of calculating live streaming prices.
You will want to look for an OVP that offers affordable unlimited bandwidth options or a discount for buying bandwidth in bulk to support your continuous live streaming efforts.
3. Explore Equipment Requirements and Redundancy
Being strategic with your live video content is essential when you’re broadcasting linear streams.
24-hour live streaming introduces new challenges in terms of equipment. Equipment can heat up or malfunction for a number of reasons or no reason at all. You need to make sure that you invest in a video encoder, HD cameras, and other hardware that is able to handle 24/7 streaming.
A proactive approach toward maintaining and checking your equipment can help ensure your constant view streaming goes off without any glitches. You also want to make sure your computer and all of the required live broadcasting software are up to date before starting a stream. A computer crashing or requiring a shutdown for software updates is generally unacceptable in a 24/7 production environment.
Given these requirements, 24/7 linear broadcasters should plan on purchasing professional-grade equipment, including hardware encoders. This type of equipment is designed specifically for 24/7 streaming Invest in gear that’s manufactured with higher tolerances and is suited for continuous streaming.
We also recommend that you consider implementing redundancy within your system.
For example, if a camera or encoder fails, you should have a backup already configured and ready to go. This will enable your tech team to quickly make any necessary changes (swapping cables, etc.). The goal here is to ensure minimal disruption to your live stream.
You can learn more about this in our guide to live streaming equipment.
4. Plan and Produce 24/7 Stream Content for Linear Live Streaming
Providing 24/7 stream free of cost is kind of like running a television channel. The difference is that live streams only have a fraction of the resources and supporting staff available to make them into a reality.
When you first decide to start a 24/7 stream channel, you quickly learn that 24 hours is a lot of time to fill. Every minute must be accounted for so that your viewers can tune in at any time and always access content.
Planning your content is an important step. You’ll need to figure out exactly what you’ll be broadcasting at each specific time. Create a plan to transition and flow gracefully from one program or segment to the next.
Traditionally, television networks run programs in half-hour and one-hour increments. Although you can use this format, you are not restricted to these same time blocks as traditional television networks are. You have more flexibility with an OTT platform.
There are two approaches to content for linear live streaming.
1. Broadcast live video from a studio or other location (e.g., live TV news, talk shows, or sports)
2. Broadcast previously recorded video on your linear live channel (e.g., most entertainment, reruns, etc.)
Either of these approaches is great. Live content can be engaging, but it also requires more upfront work and planning. Previously recorded content is easier to broadcast. Modern live streaming allows you to just queue up an MP4 file and let it play.
You don’t need to strictly pick one of these two approaches for your live stream. Make the best of both worlds by merging pre-recorded content with live video. In reality, most broadcasters choose a mixture of these two approaches. They’ll broadcast live from important events and during “prime time” hours. Then, they’ll fill the remaining time with pre-recorded content, re-runs, etc.
Additionally, you are going to want to have a structured plan and schedule for your content so you can share a schedule for your channel in advance with your viewers. That way, viewers will know when to tune into your channel to catch the content they want to watch.
5. Monetize Your 24 Hour Live Stream Linear Channel
Pay close attention to the features and capabilities that you’d need for 24/7 streaming when choosing and OVP.
Live streaming costs resources, planning, and investment. Consider all the high-tech gear, time, platform fee, and staff you need to produce a continuous 24-hour stream. You want to ensure you are maximizing the returns by monetizing your live streams.
In terms of video monetization, there are several ways to generate revenue from your 24/7 stream.
Method #1: Advertising
The best way to monetize your 24/7 stream would be with an ad-based video on demand. Advertising is driving major revenue for various streaming media publishers. This is the least complicated route to go.
Method #2: Pay-Per-View
You can also pay-per-view, where viewers only pay to access specific events or content. Pay-per-view is used more for one-off live events and content and isn’t typically used for 24/7 continuous streaming.
Pay-per-view is often used for popular live events such as:
- Live sport events
- Live concerts
- Live conferences
- Live webinars
Method #3: Subscription
Another popular monetization method for linear live streams is subscriptions. You can charge for access to your content weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Many people don’t like sitting through commercials, and subscription models that allow one to access commercial-free content are very popular.
Both pay-per-view and subscriptions involve adding a video monetization paywall to your stream. If you want to monetize your content this way, look for an OVP that offers an integrated video paywall that accepts many popular worldwide currencies and payment methods.
6. Adapt with 24/7 Streaming Real-time Analytics
With 24/7 streaming, it is vitally important that you understand your audience and their viewing habits. The more information you have about what’s resonating with your viewers, the better you can optimize your content. With real-time analytics, you will get feedback as your stream as it happens, allowing you to adjust your programming in real-time.
Three common real-time analytics you can monitor include:
- Concurrent viewers by time – The total number of people viewing your 24/7 stream at a time.
- Plays by time – The total number of new viewers who start watching your content at a set time.
- Plays by location– The locations of the people watching your 24/7 stream all over the world.
- Average watch time: Average watch time lets you know on average, how long people stay and watch your content. This is a great way to measure engagement with your content.
Monitoring these metrics can allow you to see how many people are watching, where they are watching from, and how long they watch. This can allow you to adjust your programming in the moment and create plans for future content.
Comparing YouTube With A Streaming Service
One of the most popular live streaming platforms is YouTube. However, depending on what benefits you’re looking to gain from live streaming, YouTube may not be the best live streaming solution for many businesses and organizations. There are some benefits of using YouTube to host your live streams and some strong drawbacks you should consider as well.
Pros of 24 Hour Live Streaming on YouTube
There’s a reason that so many people are using YouTube to live stream. Three of the biggest reasons are that it’s free, easy to use, and already popular.
- Free: This is a major motivating factor for many of the content creators on YouTube. You can provide content to your audience without any added costs. A good place to start if you’re new to live-streaming.
- Easy to use: YouTube has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to get started without a lot of fanfare. Plus, there are lots of tutorials and templates to guide first-timers, making your job that much easier. New broadcasters can easily navigate the platform and start sharing content in no time.
- Popular – The main advantage YouTube offers is the massive audience the platform attracts. You only need to focus on creating exceptional content since the audience is already built-in and YouTube will help great content get more exposure. This can be a support to your existing marketing efforts. YouTube is a platform with worldwide visibility. YouTube has a huge built-in audience, which can help your content get more exposure right away.
- Informational resources: There are numerous articles and videos about how to create live streams 24/7 on YouTube, mostly created by other content creators.
A platform as popular and widely used as YouTube also means there are tons of tips and information available online to help you accomplish your goals. There are so many resources to learn how to create 24/7 live streams on YouTube, so you are likely to find support any time you run into a problem.
Cons of 24/7 Live Streaming on YouTube
YouTube might not be the best choice for your organization, although many do use it for live streaming. The biggest drawback of using a free, mainstream platform like YouTube is the general lack of control the platform gives you. Here are some specific issues that might be important to your company:
- Restrictive advertising monetization: The only direct monetization method on YouTube is through advertisements.To qualify to earn money through advertisements, you have to meet YouTube’s eligibility criteria, including having 1,000 subscribers and 400 watch hours per month. You have limited control over how advertisements appear on your content.
- Who owns the content? – Maybe people learning how to open 24 hours streaming channels on YouTube for free aren’t aware that they are actually paying to use the service. They pay with their content, which Youtube will use as they see fit. This creates a complicated issue of who actually owns the content hosted on their website.
- Uninvested marketing– It’s a “pro” that YouTube will help direct traffic to your website, but they aren’t actually invested in your marketing strategy. Just as quickly as they bring people to your content, they will take them away and show them other people’s content.
- Few customization options– Overall, broadcasters and content creators simply don’t have a lot of possibilities for what their viewers’ experiences will look like. You can’t customize the video player experience or add your own branding.
- Too mainstream – Unlike other streaming platforms, YouTube has a massive viewership. Your live stream won’t be exclusively broadcasted to an audience interested in your field. Catering to these diverse preferences can present both challenges and opportunities for content-creators live-streaming.
It makes sense that you don’t want to commit to paying for a service before you test it out. But if it sounds like a streaming service would be a better fit for your company than YouTube, using a private video streaming service.
Launching a 24 hour streaming channel can change how your audience views your company or organization. The good news is that live-streaming is now easier than ever before. With modern streaming technologies, it’s possible to launch a professional-grade 24/7 stream within a reasonable budget.
Anyone with a bit of technical knowledge or willingness to learn can begin broadcasting in no time. Since this industry is still on the rise, the opportunities are huge, whether in education, entertainment, sports, politics, news, and beyond.
To ensure your continuous streaming experience is smooth, onboard the right streaming forum so you can focus solely on creating engaging content for your viewers. If you’re ready for a professional-grade online video hosting platform for your 24/7 stream, Mslive is a great option to get started. Our hosting platform includes all of the features you need for a professional broadcasting experience.
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