In his autobiography, Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen said performing the Superbowl halftime show in 2009 was one of the most stressful shows he ever did. There were only a few minutes to set everything up, and the show was broadcast live to 100 million people.
The Superbowl halftime show is clearly an extreme case, but nevertheless illustrates how stressful live productions can be. With a long list of interdependent systems, each with multiple points of failure, and no chance to go back in time to fix things, streaming live video is a highwire act start to finish.
For these reasons, experience matters when producing and delivering a livestream.
Before we dive into the challenges of live streaming an event, let’s break the endeavor into two parts. The first part, production, is the work of capturing and assembling video into a well told story. The other part, delivery, is everything needed to deliver the video to the viewer. There is no question that quality production is an essential element of a successful live stream. It is not the subject of this post however. This post will dig into everything that happens while delivering the production to the viewer.
Having faced just about every live video delivery hurdle imaginable including bandwidth constraints, hardware failures, software incompatibilities, server issues, and platform failures, we have stood in your shoes and built our platform to enable the delivery of video livestreams with as little stress as possible. We also know that no two projects are the same and having an experienced and capable partner is essential to live streaming success.
In this post we have picked out a few specific challenges that can elude the standard checklist.
As your audience grows in size and geographic diversity, things will get complicated fast. Delivering a livestream to the far reaches of the globe without latency and buffering issues is a complex endeavor and often the viewer’s challenges are not obvious to the streamer. Tested and proven engineering and infrastructure are needed to deliver thousands of streams and wide geographic coverage for large audiences. Proper instrumentation is essential (see “Accelerate the Learning Curve” below), particularly if you aspire to interact with your viewers (see “Communicate Both Directions” below).
Monetize Custom Experiences
It is much easier to dream up custom experiences that your viewers would pay for than to make a paywall seamless or monetize sponsored content. Your delivery platform must enable you to tailor livestreams with branding and take advantage of sponsorship and ad placements. For those considering the next level we have fully developed features that: offer premium content with video blurring, video snippets, and premium (paid) ad-free experiences.
Accelerate the Learning Curve
Sending your content out into the universe is stressful because in many cases you cannot see and measure what is happening on the other end. As traffic spikes, your streaming platform must have a powerful dashboard to track and monitor individual livestreams on every device in real time. It is essential to have comprehensive analytics to investigate issues, debug, and deliver a high quality experience for your viewers.
Communicate Both Directions
Live streaming has been a one way means of communication for too long. Industry leaders are changing the live streaming experience from one way to interactive. Collect feedback and comments, create individual experiences, and even manage transactions – directly from the stream.
Clearly, delivering a successful video livestream requires both experienced people and a proven set of tools. At Native Frame, we have structured our solution to provide our clients with the expertise and technology needed ensure that the time, money, and energy they invest producing an excellent live story is successfully delivered to the screens of their viewers. The Native Frame API driven platform has been built through our real-world experience facing these and many other live streaming challenges.