Simulcasting: Stream to Facebook Live and YouTube Live at the Same TimeJuly 30, 2018
There are so many platforms for video these days, and broadcasters want to get their message out through any medium possible. The emergence of social media networks and affordable content delivery networks (CDNs) is driving trends in streaming-video production—and with simulcasting technology, you can create content for distribution to multiple online destinations.
Simulcasting is available through the Stream Targets functionality in Wowza Streaming Engine™ software, the Wowza Streaming Cloud™ service, the Wowza ClearCaster™ appliance and the Wowza GoCoder™ SDK. Now, let’s explore what simulcasting is and how it can amplify your streaming strategy.
What Is Simulcasting?
Put simply: Simulcasting is the ability to take one video stream and simultaneously broadcast it to multiple destinations and/or platforms.
Most broadcasters use different platforms for different audiences and purposes. For example:
- Facebook provides access the widest general audience.
- As the second-largest search engine in the world, YouTube can be used to capture global search traffic.
- Twitter or Periscope is a top destination for coverage of major news and events happening now.
Simulcasting enables broadcasters to simplify the encoding workflow and optimize network resources, while effectively streaming to any and all of these destinations at once.
Simulcast Streaming Examples for Any Industry
A few examples of industry-specific streaming use cases include:
- News broadcasting.
- House of worship and church live streams.
- Live events, such as concerts and awards shows.
- Live sports coverage.
For example, a news broadcaster may want to supplement their regular over-the-air (OTA) broadcast schedule by streaming breaking news across multiple social media networks. Consumers can then choose to receive push alerts to their mobile device when relevant and important breaking news happens.
In fact, research has shown that frequent mobile alerts sent through social networks such as Facebook and YouTube—particularly when a large, regional news event breaks—directly increase viewership for conventional OTA news programs.
Churches and houses of worship can build a following on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube that increases the level of participation in their online community and drives new members to the church. No matter how large the congregation, with more exposure comes greater membership and involvement, since live-streamed content can be used to promote events and initiatives for both new and existing members.
For the live event streaming and live sports markets, broadcasting to as many destinations as possible the greatest possible exposure for online content. In turn, this drives more viewers back to traditional OTA programming—resulting in greater ad revenue for the broadcaster.
Live Stream to Multiple Platforms and Maximize Your Impact
An effective approach to simulcasting involves the strategic use of multiple social networks. Before you start streaming, think critically about which platforms you’re using. First of all, make sure you have the resources to manage and monitor the platforms you decide to adopt, so you can stay on top of comments and feedback.
Second, while Wowza has the technology to broadcast anywhere, it’s a good idea to only stream to the platforms where you’re going to have the most impact. In other words, just because you can go anywhere, doesn’t mean you should. Deliver to the destinations that make sense for your audience and your content. It can be counterproductive to broadcast in the wrong context, and can elicit unwanted negative feedback.
The right context for your broadcasts can vary by industry:
- For news and live sports, it makes sense to go to as many destinations as possible, so your content can reach a broad scope of the general population.
- Houses of worship may only want to stream to Facebook and YouTube. Facebook offers access to a huge age range of viewers, which is ideal for services aimed at entire families. Since YouTube is so highly searched, and is fairly identity-agnostic as a platform, broadcasting there will also make your content easier to find.
- For live events, sports and news, platforms such as Twitter and Periscope can be useful for sharing highlights or breaking news, since they revolve around timely, short and sensational bursts of information. However, audiences on these platforms tend to respond in kind—so it might not be the best place for your sermon.
- There are also platforms that focus on particular audiences or industries, and can be used to reach viewers with those same interests. For example, Twitch, which is aimed at game streaming and e-sports audiences, may used for live events and sports broadcasting, since many of the same audiences are interested in that content.
Why Simulcast Streaming Is Important
So, beyond the ability to reach more—and more targeted—audiences, why is simulcast streaming important? There are a few reasons:
1. You can be strategic. Simulcast technology gives you the freedom to pick and choose whatever social media platform and/or CDN you want to use—no more worrying whether your technology will work, buying multiple encoders or having to support a “super-network.”
2. Redundancy protects against streaming failures. Streaming to multiple platforms at once allows you to use these destinations as backups for one another. For example, if your live stream goes down on YouTube, you can simply redirect viewers to Facebook Live—and do so on the fly. By using multiple platforms to easily support failover in your workflow, you won’t necessarily lose viewership for your stream if your website or a social network goes down.
3. Fine-tuned control over your streaming. Simulcasting allows you to control which CDNs and platforms play which parts of your broadcast. Like a simple cloud-based video switcher, you can “toggle” streaming to any site at any time, without interrupting the encoder or supporting network—and your viewers on other platforms will never know.
Some examples of where this comes in handy include:
Selling virtual “tickets.” Many broadcasters monetize their productions by selling “tickets” to live streams. In these scenarios, you can offer a free public preview of your content on social media, then end the broadcast at a time of your choosing and direct viewers to purchase access to the rest. For example, a house of worship may offer the music portion of the service for free, but charge viewers for the sermon.
Regional broadcasting. For regional broadcasters—and particularly for sports networks—it’s common to only have the legal rights to show certain content in certain geographic areas. However, there is typically more freedom in terms of where bonus or supplemental content can be shown.
For example, say you’re streaming a live football game, and you only have the legal rights to show the game in Germany, but you want to show the post-game show in the U.S. After you’ve set up Stream Targets in Wowza Streaming Engine or Wowza Streaming Cloud, with just a click of the mouse, your post-game content is streaming on Facebook Live as well as on premium channels—without compromising your rights and agreements with broadcasters.
Why Use Wowza Technology for Simulcast Streaming?
We’ve seen that there are many benefits of simulcasting. But why is Wowza the best fit for your streaming needs?
- We’re the experts. For over 10 years, Wowza has been the industry leader in streaming anywhere, to any device—and simulcast technology is simply the latest extension of that market leadership. Wowza products and services have perfected multi-destination streaming through Stream Target functionality, so you know it will work the first time and every time.
- Global technical support. Whether you’re streaming with Wowza Streaming Engine, Wowza Streaming Cloud or the Wowza ClearCaster appliance, we’ve got you covered with 24/7 technical support, wherever you are in the world.
- Fully customizable streaming. You can tailor Wowza streaming technology to suit your specific need and use case. In fact, many of our customers depend on Wowza to support their own commercial simulcast offering. Wowza empowers the developer, the broadcaster and the entrepreneur by providing a simulcasting toolset for any use case, large or small.
No matter what your industry or your streaming goals, Wowza can help you deliver to multiple destinations with greater ease and reliability and at less cost—and maximize your impact to the right audiences online.
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