‘Change’ is an obvious strategy that Brands have to continuously look out for and apply when it comes to the fluctuating behavior of the online audience. Internet now has become an essential part of human lives as we enigmatically depend on it for our basic needs (from communication, entertainment, and information to product and service purchases), and therefore the way we consume the digital content is in an abrupt change. The traditional text-based content gave way to the image content, then the GIFs which in turn paved the path for pre-recorded videos, and now there are live videos. The higher the engagement rate among the audiences is, the more sophisticated the content is expected to be.
Why should you consider starting a video streaming service?
We all very well know that videos are currently the most engaging mode of content online. And now, live videos are starting to take over the digital media, witnessing a year over growth rate of more than 80% since 2015. Here are the reasons for its impeccable growth and why a business should consider investing in a video streaming service.
Giving your audience a sense of personalized interaction: 79% of the marketers say that a live video facilitates an authentic interaction with their audience, and 63% say that it brings a human touch to digital marketing.
Get more attention: Viewers spend 8 times more time with live videos as compared to the on-demand videos, making it the best medium for brands to invest in.
Leverage your content strategy: 61% of marketers say that live videos benefit them in creating content that can be repurposed later. With this, you can make sure that the content you create is consumed by your audience more effectively.
Increased audience engagement: Live videos on Facebook have shown to receive 10 times more comments than other forms of content. This clearly shows how interactive are live videos and its huge potential in boosting your audience engagement.
Choosing a live video hosting platform
If you want to start a video streaming service, you will need a variety of tools and resources. Most important of all is the server that can distribute your content to viewers around the world. It is, of course, possible to create your own server, but your requirements will vary as your audience base increases, leaving you with high expenses and technical overhead (let us elaborately discuss on the challenges faced by hosting your own live streaming platform later in the article). Generally, only large enterprises with ample resources will deploy their own streaming servers, and even with well-established businesses, it is rare.
A video streaming host is linked to a global network of servers called the live streaming CDN (content delivery network). The CDN from top-notch live video hosting solutions like StreamHash can ensure your stream to be free of glitches and buffering. Besides linking you to CDN, a live streaming platform provides a smooth software backend from which you can stream your content. You can be online and start your streaming in no time. You will just have to:
Arrange necessary resources for streaming like video cameras.
Encode the resources to formats that are compatible and streaming friendly.
Connect your encoder to your video streaming host.
Customize it according to your business needs and start streaming.
Things to look out for while considering a video streaming service
There are a wide number of streaming-as-a-service video hosting scripts that can help you instantly start delivering the content to your audience, but you should be aware of their limitations.
Live videos are a valuable tool for your brand in multiple ways, and the main factor to consider while choosing one is to see the extent of customization it offers to make your brand unique among your audience.
Here are the main differences in white-labeled services like StreamHash and the typical streaming-as-a-service providers, and how choosing the right one can have a huge impact on your brand’s growth:
-Give your brand a greater visibility, by giving a personalized feel for your audience. Streaming the video with your brand’s name than that of your service providers’ can obviously give your brand a higher visibility. A White-label solution, unlike the latter, gives you the leniency of streaming your live videos under your brand’s name.
–Higher the customization options, greater is the uniqueness delivered by your brand. One advantage of building your live streaming server from the scratch is that you can customize it in the way your brand’s niche demands. But, the streaming-as-a-service platforms don’t provide fully flexible options to customize and the brands have to choose among a limited set of templates available. In contrast, a white-label solution like StreamHash can give you both advantages of a ready-made solution as well as a fully customizable set of options.
Investing your business content in a free video hosting platform? Here’s why you should rethink
We are all well aware of the recent Facebook-Cambridge analytica scandal, which saw a data leak of more than 87 million Facebook users in the United States. The information from their timeline, newsfeed, and messages was enough for Cambridge analytica to create psychographic profiles of the users and employ it to their advantage. Knowing it, many businesses like UniCredit (an Italian banking giant) who were concerned about their users’ data privacy immediately stopped all kinds of advertising and marketing on Facebook.
It is OK for an individual to start live streaming in free platforms like YouTube or Facebook, but for a business, all their followers’ data are at stake and most consumers won’t be happy with their data getting leaked in wrong hands. Apart from this, these consumer-grade platforms don’t have the necessary features for professional users, with abilities like different monetization features, advanced analytics, white-label custom branding, and API integration.
Doing your own video hosting? Here are it’s challenging.
Another obvious alternative that appeals to business apart from the free streaming service is to start their own streaming video hosting. It is completely advisable to start one of your own if your business is having adequate time and capital investments. But, with 80% of the total online audience base already preferring live videos over other content modes, they expect a lot more unique content from brands other than those in the free hosting services. Notably, 45% are even ready to pay to watch videos that are unique and closely engaging them.
For those who can understand this hustling demand from the audience and the existing limited supply, they will know the extent of competition the market will face in a few years and how crucial is “now” to gain an upper hand.
Hence, when you consider hosting your own video streaming service, there are some significant drawbacks that you should consider in terms of development, penetration, time and profitability.
CDN, servers and another equipment setup
From the servers themselves, routers, firewalls, power supplies, cooling equipment, and a sophisticated environment to mount all these in and keep running, the costs can be significantly high. As streaming platforms are the type of businesses that will have a continuous increase in the number of users, it would require multiple cores of servers and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) implementation.
Scaling and automation for streaming
When the videos are hosted in static web pages, the video also loads each time you load the webpage. For instance, consider one such webpage hosting a 10-minute live video, and there are 100 users who are accessing the video real-time. The server requests are generated in the span of milliseconds (as the live videos demand real-time access), and therefore can overload the server leading to the website crash.
To scale and optimize this process, your infrastructure requires video hosting and website hosting in separate servers, considerably increasing your costs and responsibilities.
Download and piracy protection
If you are self-hosting your videos, you are most likely to provide a direct URL from your video hosting server to the website. This can make your video vulnerable to easy downloads through numerous options available in the web like free downloaders and browser plugins.
Video player controls, their adaptation, and customization
Even when you use third party plugin or inbuilt WordPress plugin, you will need to write a coding on the video file formats.
Varying video quality across browsers
As you know the video files need to be converted in different formats and sizes and this work is done by software apps. Each app does the process in a slightly different way which results in the varying quality of videos appearing in the browsers.
Also, each web browsers handles playback differently which means the same video file will look different in each browser.
Slow-Loading or Freezing Video
If your video files are located in a server which has a limited bandwidth, then people who try to watch the video would experience buffering during playback until your PC downloads the video files.
Varying video formats
Now even HTML5 does not specify browser which format to support. As a result, the major web browsers are diversified in this option and so browser supports different formats. For example, Internet Explorer and Safari support H.264 (MP4) videos, and not WebM or Ogg. Firefox will support Ogg or WebM videos, and not H.264. Unlike other web browsers, Chrome will support all the major video formats. It’s always better than your videos should be supported by all web browsers without opposing bandwidth cap.
The flexibility of encoding the codecs to multiple devices
The video codecs and compatibility segment currently are highly fragmented. Among the web browsers, none of them support all the majorly used codecs like H.264, Ogg and WebM except Chrome (for instance, Safari and IE don’t support WebM or Ogg, and Firefox doesn’t support H.264). When you are self-hosting videos, you need to transcode specifically in each of the codecs which are again a Server-CPU intensive process.
When you have multiple servers and other sophisticated equipment to handle, maintenance is a big pain-point. You need trained and qualified staff to run them and require sufficient resources to manage them as well.
Time and development costs
If you are planning to set up your video hosting infrastructure in-house, it is important that you look at the bottom-line of costs and time development. With the live streaming market set to face a stiff competition in forthcoming years, looking for an instant and affordable solution will help you to efficiently utilize your resources and save them for your future expansion strategies.
What are my best options that help me start a video streaming service?
When you work with a video hosting service, they offer diverse streaming solutions to help you kick-start your business instantly without much capital and time investments. Also, choosing a prominent video hosting script can help you to handle any amount of users to your website, giving them a seamless streaming experience. These services can also safeguard your content from online piracy, preventing you from losing your original content.
Adapting, controlling and customizing the video players are the main challenge, requiring to code as per the changing requirements and interests of your users. Opting for a video streaming solution will have well-tested features that will give your audience the best impression on your streaming service.
To maximize your user experience, you can give your users a personalized feel by opting for services that give you the flexibility of customizing as per your business needs and preferences, like white-label streaming solutions. Another main advantage of these white-label streaming solutions is that they give you the much needed initial brand visibility, helping you to exponentially expand your user base and profitability. With a video streaming solution, video production, editing, and uploading are just your responsibility.