In June 2012 Internet World Stats estimated there were over 2.4 billion users of the Internet.1 It’s only a relatively short amount of time since the Internet has exploded into a global platform. It went from connecting a few independent government research computers in the early 1960’s to a commercialized complex web of networks encompassing the world and connecting billions of people by the end of the 20th century. Technology advancements continue at a rapid pace that not only increase the capabilities of the Internet, but also continue to expand its reach.
Organisations of all kinds are leveraging the Internet to expand their audiences. This is especially important in the current economic environment where every dollar spent has to be maximized. One of the fastest ways to grow an organisation, a movement or a company is to enlarge the field of prospective customers.
Live streaming is one of the fastest growing tactics and is rapidly gaining the attention of marketers worldwide. It is extremely effective and available at a reasonable cost.
What is Live Streaming?
To put it simply, live streaming is the process of taking content as it happens, compressing and encoding it and sending it over the Internet. The recipient can then view it in near real-time. The data can be sent to a single computer, multiple devices, or a mass audience in a theatre-like environment.
The end user is able to watch the video without waiting for the file to download. It can be interactive so the presenter and viewer can communicate as if they were face to face. The event can also be recorded and watched on demand at a later time. It is not downloaded to the user’s device however so the content is protected for its owner.
How can live streaming extend the reach of a business?
The uses for live streaming are limited only by one’s imagination. Some of the more common uses of live streaming by organisations are:
- Training sessions
- Religious ceremonies
- Live events
- Internet radio
- Internet TV
By using live streaming, organisations can expand their footprint without incurring all the normal costs associated with traditional outreach methods.
Some examples for expanding an organisation’s reach via live streaming include:
- Colleges increasing enrolment by reaching students on their own turf and timeframe
- Concert planners reaching audiences outside the areas where the performance takes place
- Conference streaming to prospects who can’t travel
- Healthcare and associated businesses using streaming to reach other locations to share information and demonstrate procedures
- Organisations formerly restricted from expanding their businesses globally due to prohibitive costs, are now reaching customers in other countries
- Religious organisations extending their message to members outside of their local areas
These are only a few of the ways live streaming has been used to get more people involved in a movement, in getting messages out to a broader community or to extend fundraising efforts.
Evidence that live streaming works?
Case Study 1: Jung Platform2
Jung Platform provides educational programs around the world. The company’s goal was to expand its global presence and audience at a low cost. After deploying a live streaming service they now serve over 40 different countries.
Case Study 2: OR-Live3
“For our organisation, webcasting has been a great way to communicate and educate both consumers and physicians,” says Lindsey Ogle, Marketing Manager for Methodist Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading hospital networks. “You are actually inviting anyone in the world to watch a live surgery being performed in your operating room. That in itself creates a ‘trust’ factor for potential patients to choose your hospital.” 3 The Internet has become a major source of healthcare information for people in the medical field as well as for consumers. It’s a convenient way to learn about the latest medical technologies and treatments. The medical companies who provide the most access along with the best content will help more people, build a reputation and attract more business.
Case Study 3: Deloitte4
Deloitte & Touche GmbH, a German member of the umbrella brand “Deloitte”, recently wanted to reach all 4600 employees located in 17 offices in Germany. They wanted all employees to have the same opportunity to simultaneously experience a corporate event held in Düsseldorf. With live streaming the employees were able to attend the event without travel. Not only were they able to listen to all of the speeches, they could dialogue with the presenters as well. The company also chose to record the conference and allow others to view it at a later time. By using live streaming, they could interact with all of their employees at the same time without the expense of bringing them to a single location.
Case Study 4: National Theatre Live5
The UK’s National Theatre was extremely successful. Their audiences numbered over 1.2 million annually in London. However, their mission was to bring the arts to everyone. With that goal in mind, in 2009 they began a live streaming program to deliver performances to new audiences around the world. After battling several technical and budget related issues, negotiating new rights agreements, and developing a new network of worldwide distributors, they delivered their first streamed production in June 2009. By 2011 they had produced 11 events to greater than 500,000 people in 400
cinemas across 22 countries.
Case Study 5: World Book Day6
World Book Day is a worldwide event whose purpose is to teach as many children as possible around the world about the value of reading. By using video streaming to hundreds of schools around the globe, World Book Day 2012 was an enormous success and was able to reach over 750,000 primary and nursery school children.
These are just a few of the thousands of organisations that have used live streaming to extend their reach and connect with new clients throughout the world. The more creative the imagination, the more live streaming solutions will be generated.
7 Things to look for when choosing a streaming provider
When choosing a provider, these are key things to look for:
1. Do they offer a wide selection of current technology?
Technology is becoming more about ease of use and accessibility to the appropriate audiences than the latest high tech specs. According to Streaming Media Magazine, Nicol Verheem, CEO of Teradek, says this is due to the fact that live streaming technology is now addressing the needs of not only big broadcast, corporate and government but is evolving to meet the needs of the smaller organisations like education firms, religious groups, small businesses and other independent producers.7 Technology continues to change and it’s important to choose a provider that offers hardware and platform choices that can be custom fit to your needs.
2. Is customer service a high priority?
Working with a company that has your needs in mind and is available to you at any time is key. It can be very frustrating to have to wait on a response from a provider when you’ve encountered an issue. Choose a company that works with you and not against you. You want a company that listens to you, keeps it’s promises, is helpful, has trained employees that know what they are doing, and will go the extra step for you. It will make the experience a much more positive one.
3. Are they creative and will they think outside of the box?
Choose a provider that has new ideas. You don’t want a one-size-fits-all solution to your video needs. You want one that will fit your specific requirements and reaches your specific audience. The size and scope of your production should dictate the technology
and lay out of the project.
4. Will they provide the people and equipment necessary to get the job done right?
Depending on the size of the production, you may need the support of only one person or a whole team of experts. Be sure the provider you choose has access to the appropriate people that you will need to complete your production satisfactorily.
5. Will they test the system before the event takes place or offer a free trial?
The last thing you want is to run into technical difficulties once the production is underway. Be sure your provider runs tests and trials well ahead of the broadcast date so all of the issues are resolved ahead of time. This will ensure a smooth production.
6. Do they offer flexible packages that custom fit the client’s needs?
Look for a company that not only has a variety of technology packages but also pricing packages. Better still, look for a company that is willing to customize a technology package at a reasonable price that has been specifically designed for your needs. Flexibility is key to getting what you want at a price that is affordable.
7. Are they competitive in price?
Shop around and be sure you are getting the best price available. With so many technology changes and the wide variety of companies competing in the video services arena, the prices are continuing to drop. There are many providers out there. A company needs to do a significant amount of due
diligence to determine which one is right for them.
Live streaming is a powerful technology and can be used in many ways to extend the reach of an organisation.
The beauty of using live streaming is the ability to reach and engage significantly more people without them ever having to leave their home location.
Organisations can go global and present their material to audiences that just a few years ago were unreachable without large investments. The cost savings of live streaming are enormous.
This technology can extend an organisation’s reach internally as well. Having the capability to include remotely located employees in an event all at the same time creates loyalty, trust and enthusiasm. Personnel who sometimes feel isolated can now feel like a full-fledged part of the team.
Whether it’s being used to reach new clients, existing clients in their own surroundings or remotely located employees, live streaming is a flexible, valuable tool for any organisation.
- Internet World Stats. “Internet Users in the World – 2012 Q2.” Internet World Stats. MiniWatts Marketing Group, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.
- DaCast, LLC. “DaCast Helps Jung Platform Make Knowledge Accessible.” Case Study – Jung Platform. DaCast, LLC, 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.
- Real. “OR-Live Case Study, Surgery on the Web – Doctors, Hospitals, and Medical Device Makers Turn to Webcasting for Education and Marketing.” Real. RealNetworks, Inc., 29 June 2005. Web. 22 Mar. 2013
- Axinom. “Axinom Empowers Live-Streaming for Deloitte Event.” Axinom! Inpired By Net Case Study. Axinom Holding OÜ, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.
- Schutt, Becky. “Case Study: National Theatre Live.” Financial Times Ft.com/management. The Financial Times LTD 2013, 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.
- StreamUK. “World Book Day, the Biggest Book Show on Earth.” StreamUK. StreamUK, Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.