Livestream provides all the tools – hardware, software, and mobile – that allows clients to produce and stream ad-free live video content anywhere on the Web. Features include the ability to broadcast from a mobile phone, create branded channel pages that incorporate interactive chat, real-time DVR, live photo and text updates, and mix multiple live cameras.
Ranges from $42 per month to $399 per month. A free option is also available.
Scott DeYager, social media and strategic communications manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, has been using Livestream since March 2012.
How do you use it?
We set up a conference call with our team at Livestream when we know we have an event or reveal that we want to do live. This is basically a logistics call to ensure that we plug in and go when everyone is on the ground. Then I work with our in-house teams to get the assets ready.
I upload all the assets we create into Livestream's website when we set up an event. I log on and create a poster image that announces the event, and schedule the date and time it will go live, which triggers a countdown at the top.
Then I set up a curated feed that leads up to the event. You can put photos, videos, or any other content into your curated feed. We usually put in a teaser video when we have a new vehicle launch so we can build buzz up to the live event. Our social media followers can share anything we put in the curated feed.
When we are onsite at the event, our Livestream crew meets with our production crew ahead of time to make sure all the logistics are set up. When it's time to broadcast, the Livestream crew has a HD photographer who shoots Wi-Fi and photos of the event that are posted to our curated feed in real time so our audiences who aren't at the event can see what's happening. It's the best way to get the gist of an event as it's happening.
We haven't run into any major problems. On the initial logistics call, we make sure everything is in place, including the dedicated bandwidth and the hardline so the Livestream crew can get the feed out.
You can broadcast with your own crews, but we've only worked with Livestream teams. If I were to get a message during an event that something wasn't working, everyone who would be responsible is on site.
Livestream crews do this all the time with very high profile events. They know their roles, and they're very good about asking appropriate questions and checking all the boxes.
How does it serve your business needs?
We're always looking at ways to extend beyond the walls of the actual press conference or reveal event. We can do that using our social channels, but nothing has allowed our audiences to feel like they're part of an event more than what we've done with Livestream.
We're also always looking at how we can communicate in a real-time way. When a new vehicle goes out on the stage and media are seeing it for the first time, Livestream allows consumers to also see it for the first time.
Livestream has really become part of our 360-degree view of getting our people and our products out there. It allows us to incorporate the live aspect into our other channels because we use our other channels to promote it and deliver it. For example, when we do a countdown on Twitter to a Livestream event, and then go live, the event actually plays in line in the Twitter feed. So our Twitter audience doesn't have to leave the channel – we can serve it up right there.
We've done seven or eight Livestream events. The first one was at the 2012 New York Auto Show for the global reveal of the new Toyota Avalon. We branded that event Design Live, and we included the interior and exterior designers of the car, who answered questions from our Facebook and Twitter audiences in real time. A host kept the conversation going so there was no down time between questions. It extended the story beyond the product launch because we were able to tell the story of the product and of the people behind it.
How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
Right now it hasn't led to any additional investment internally because it's all done externally. We are looking at ways we can pull some of that in-house to broadcast on our own. Let's say there's a crisis situation, we could be up and running very quickly with Livestream. We're still in discussion about how we would do that.
The only issues we've had have been our own internal bandwidth issues when we send all our employees to watch a Livestream event at the same time. We're also in discussion about how to work around that. We can download the full video almost immediately after a Livestream event is over, so within hours we could get it uploaded to our internal network.
What are the main benefits?
It allows us to get a bigger bang for the buck when we do large-scale events that have traditionally involved only credentialed media and bloggers because we can knock down virtual walls and include all our followers.
It's changed the way we think about these events. It's making us think like a broadcaster. Normally you would do a press conference when a vehicle comes out. The media takes photos and then moves onto the next press conference. Livestream's capability has us thinking about what else we can broadcast after the initial press conference to extend the message and the story. It's a great way to garner additional content for your other assets.
What are the main drawbacks?
We want to find a more elegant solution for including our Livestream events in our Facebook feed. The Livestream Facebook tab doesn't carry over to mobile so we have to create a post with a link to the event. We'd like to keep all Livestream action directly in Facebook. We're figuring out a solution now.
This isn't necessarily a drawback of the service as much as it is a drawback of how Livestream is working within Facebook.
What would you like to see improved / added?
I'd like to see more robust metrics that focus all the way down to individual pieces of content. Right now the only metrics we get are from our Google Analytics account, which is attached to the entire Livestream account. We'd have to have separate Google Analytics accounts to measure individual events.
I want to work closer with Livestream to determine what they've seen in terms of best practices since they moved to the curated feed platform.
Ustream: offers a live streaming platform with features that include the ability to syndicate streams and assemble linear sequences of recorded videos to loop “as live” at specified times.
YouTube Live: allows YouTube channels that are in good standing with more than 1,000 subscribers to stream live content. The service includes options to insert ads, closed captions, and display multiple camera angles.