If you own an event space, you may already count video production among your menu of services. But are you live streaming yet?
Live streaming has gone beyond just a trend, and is currently experiencing tremendous growth—in fact, the live video streaming market is estimated to grow from $30.29 billion in 2016 to more than $70 billion by 2021! Sporting events, concerts, weddings, conferences, entertainment acts—whatever type of event you host in your space, live streaming extends your reach and audience, providing added value to your clients. It can also help grow your business. By having the capability to live stream you not only gain a competitive edge as a venue, you also develop a robust addition to your business plan that has the potential to bring in more revenue through monetization.
Ready to get started? The steps below will walk you through the process of getting started with live streaming at your venue.
6 Steps To Launch A Live Streaming Program At Your Event Venue
1. Start with your business plan.
Before anything else, you need a road map to direct your live streaming objectives. Think about how you see live streaming fitting into your business. What do you want to accomplish? Will you use live streaming as part of an upsell strategy, offering it to clients as a higher-end package? Or do you plan to offer live streaming as a service to clients for free, using it as a value-add to attract more business? Work out specifically how those options will look and how your decision will impact your company as a whole.
Also, consider it from the opposite angle: As the venue host you may be able to charge viewers to access the live stream (though it depends on your agreements with individual clients). Monetizing your live stream could be an opportunity for performers or host organizations to sell more tickets, which will, in turn, be good for their—and your—business.
2. Choose a live streaming provider.
Before you can start live streaming you need to decide how you plan to broadcast. So the next step is to determine what platform you’ll use to deliver the live stream.
There are two kinds of live streaming platforms: social media networks like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook; and live streaming platform providers. For event venues, we strongly recommend using a platform provider. Many platform providers give you control over branding and messaging, which gives your content a more professional look. That means you can offer your clients the option to customize their live stream portal—for instance, wedding parties can put their name, wedding date, and anything else they want to appear during the live stream. That isn’t possible with social media networks. And depending on which platform provider you choose, you may also get a variety of monetization options, technical support, and guidance on how to improve your live streaming capabilities over time. In other words, if you’re looking for a more “personal touch,” a platform provider might make the most sense.
3. Do an “audit” of your physical space.
Ask your live streaming provider to do an audit of your venue to get an understanding of how live streaming would work best in the space you have. This is yet another reason it’s helpful to have a knowledgeable live streaming partner who can review your floor plan and make recommendations for setup and equipment. (We’ve done this many times for our clients.) Your provider can also help identify the issues you need to consider before moving forward, like:
- Will your live stream be a single-camera production or multi-camera? What makes the most sense for your venue and/or productions? What positioning offers the best view of the action?
- How will you access the Internet? Do you have an ethernet connection or Wi-Fi, or will you need a Wi-Fi hotspot?
- How will you set up your audio? Will you need wireless audio equipment or can you run cabling based on the physical location of your stage and sound board?
- Who will be helping with the production? Will you need additional personnel based on the setup you want?
All of the above affect what the production will look like and how you’ll set it up, so it’s important to have a firm grasp on your workflow and equipment needs as you head into the next step.
4. Determine your live streaming budget.
Regardless of your ideal setup, it all comes down to how much you have available to spend! If your budget isn’t big enough to carry out all your live streaming plans at once, consider prioritizing key pieces of equipment at the outset and building on that little by little. (And remember, the money you make from monetizing your live stream can also help cover future equipment purchases!)
5. Purchase your equipment.
The basics for any live stream production include a camera, a tripod, a computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and an encoding device (that last one is key to live streaming, as it converts your video input into the digital format necessary for playback). As you get more comfortable with live streaming you may want to buy more advanced equipment, like additional cameras or wireless tech, which can help improve your productions.
6. Market your live streaming service.
At this point, you have everything you need to launch your live streaming program! Now it’s time to promote your new service and use it as a sales tool. This means gathering information about live streaming and how it’s being used to drive event attendance and reach. Incorporate this information into your sales pitch to show clients the true value of streaming their events. Also, utilize the power of social media to spread the news, network at event planning conferences, and, once you start doing live streams, create a portfolio of past events to show off to potential clients.
You did it! Now it’s time to get started live streaming.
The beautiful thing about live streaming in a permanent venue is that after the initial setup, the hard work is already behind you. From there, it’s a matter of refining your production workflow, improving your live streaming skills, and, ultimately, reaping the benefits of your investment!