In most cases when we are sharing live videos on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, or even our own website, it will only last for a few minutes up to a couple of hours or slightly more. In short, the live streaming session has a start and an end.
However, there is another version of a live streaming session available: the 24/7 live stream, or also called linear live stream.
A continuous 24/7 live stream has a lot in common with a traditional TV broadcast that most of us are familiar with, especially in the fact that the content is distributed simultaneously and continually to all viewers that are watching the channel. The only difference between 24/7 linear streaming and traditional TV is the technology used to deliver the content to the viewers.
Nowadays, many broadcasting giants like ABC and CBS are offering 24/7 live stream options for their viewers, and even tech players like Amazon are reportedly considering linear streaming. Live linear streaming is rising in popularity, and if you are planning to start a 24/7 live stream on your own, there has never been a better time.
In this guide, we will show you how.
Starting a 24/7 Live Stream: Key Tips To Get You Started
- Planning Is Key
Planning your 24/7 live stream is actually very important: doing a linear stream without any scheduling in advance will virtually guarantee messy content that is going to be unenjoyable to your viewers.
While this might vary depending on the objective of your content, you should at least plan:
- The schedule/programming. Also, consider proper break times for all that are involved in the live stream
- Your content, whether you are going to produce them all from scratch or whether you are going to purchase ready-made ones
- Chat moderators and/or moderator bots, if you are going to have a live chat/comment section on the live stream
- Promotion. No matter how good your content is, people won’t automatically come to your channel. You should schedule social media posts during the broadcast, for example.
- How you are going to evaluate and test the live stream
- Investing In The Right Equipment and Platform
While live streaming can be a very complex business and might involve a lot of different pieces of equipment, in general, you’ll need four core elements in any live streams:
- Video/Audio Source: cameras are the most common video source in a live stream, as well as microphones for audio sources. However, there are also other possibilities like computer screens, music files for playback, and so on.
- Encoder: can be either a software or hardware encoder, responsible for converting and compressing the audio/video signal into a web-friendly, streamable format.
- A video hosting platform: can be a free platform like YouTube or Twitch, or a professional video hosting platform if you want more versatility and more control over your content and monetization. We will discuss more of this below.
- Internet connection: pretty self-explanatory, in a live streaming a stable and fast enough internet connection is a must to avoid stutters and other issues.
For each of these, there are now a wide variety of options with various price points. Our advice is to first decide on a budget depending on the objective of your 24/7 linear channel and how you are planning to monetize it and invest in the right equipment accordingly.
Choosing the right online video platform is actually very important to ensure your 24/7 live streaming success. If you want to stream on your website or on various different platforms simultaneously, then you’ll need a professional live streaming platform like Viloud that offers the most freedom and control over your content, branding, and monetization.
A very important consideration when choosing between different video hosting platforms is customer support. Since you are running a 24/7 live stream, reliable customer support is very important so that you can get help right away when a problem occurs.
3. Considering Bandwidth Costs
In a 24/7 live linear streaming, you can use up a massive amount of bandwidth quickly if you are not careful.
So, if you are serious about monetizing your live linear channel, it’s vital to carefully calculate the video bandwidth cost both for your internet provider and video hosting solutions.
Some streaming solutions offer limited bandwidth and might charge very high overcharges, while others might offer unlimited bandwidth at a very high price.
Carefully consider your options, and choose the one most suited to your needs. Use specialized players like m3u8 player that will help you reduce the bandwidth cost due to the high-performance factors.
4. Equipment Redundancy
In a 24/7 live linear streaming, there is a unique and significant challenge in terms of equipment. Not only you’d need to invest in the right hardware that can handle 24/7 streaming, but redundancy is also very important.
Imagine a scenario where your camera suddenly breaks down during a 24/7 stream, if you don’t have a spare camera in place, then you’ll need to stop your stream abruptly. Obviously, this is not ideal and might hurt your customer satisfaction and trust in the long-run.
So, when planning your equipment budget, you might want to consider getting at least two for each of the crucial equipment like cameras, microphones, encoders, and capture cards.
Another important thing is to make sure all software solutions that are going to be involved in the continuous stream are updated before the stream. You’d want to avoid issues like a sudden restart or your computer needing a software update in the middle of a stream.
To summarize, your whole live streaming system should be ready to meet the uptime requirements of a 24/7 live stream.
5. Monetizing Your 24/7 Live Stream Channel
In terms of monetization, there are several ways you can use to generate revenue, but typically there are three main methods:
- Subscription-based: only subscribers can watch your 24/7 channel, and you can charge a subscription fee on a monthly or annual basis.
- Transactional-based: similar to the pay-per-view model of traditional television, for example, you charge a certain price for a certain show.
- Ad-supported model: you stream your content for free, but you show ads to your viewers.
You can obviously combine more than one of these methods in your monetization efforts, and we’d recommend choosing a model (or more) based on your target audience’s behavior and preferences and the content you offer.
For example, if you are broadcasting a high-demand series with a lot of episodes, then a subscription-based monetization can be a good fit. On the other hand, if you stream sporting events or other one-time shows, then a transactional model is probably the better idea.
As you can see, starting your own 24/7 linear live stream is now easier and more affordable than ever. There is now a wide range of equipment choices available in the market, a lot of them with very affordable price tags. There are also platforms like Viloud that offer a very affordable way to start a 24/7 live streaming service.
Linear live streaming can be a great opportunity to start a content-based business at the moment, especially considering the fact that many tech and broadcasting giants are now launching their version of 24/7 streaming to capitalize on this trend.