What Is Live Streaming? How It Works and Its Benefits

Live streaming is the latest secret weapon for the forward-thinking marketer. Right now, live streaming is bigger than ever - and it could be the perfect tool to reach a wider audience for your business. But that’s not its only benefit.

Want to understand what live streaming actually is, and why you need to know about it? We’ve got it all covered here.

What is live streaming?

Live streaming is the process of broadcasting audio and video content in real-time over the internet. Unlike traditional broadcasting or video production, which uses pre-recorded content that is then edited, live streaming delivers immediate content to audiences anywhere in the world.

How live streaming works

Live streaming and the technologies involved have revolutionised how we consume media, interact online, and share events as they happen. How live streaming works is relatively simple and straightforward, though. Live streaming involves capturing audio and video with a camera and mic, and then transmits it via an online streaming platform.

There are several key steps you’ll usually go through during a live stream:

Capturing the video and sound using camera and audio equipment.

Encoding the inputs. Basically, the video and audio data needs to be compressed to ensure it can be transmitted over the internet efficiently.

Segmenting the encoded content into smaller chunks – this makes it easier to manage and deliver.

Distribution of those segments via a Content Delivery Network or CDN – which is basically a network of servers that store and deliver web content.

Playback of the video content on the viewer’s device via any platform that can be used to display the live stream – for example, YouTube or Facebook.

Where is live streaming used?

Is this starting to get a bit too technical? Don’t worry, here are some applications for live stream video production that might help explain in further.

  • Education: Live streaming is often used for webinars, virtual classrooms and online courses. It enables remote learning – a tutor can be in one location, and students could literally be anywhere in the world.
  • Product launches or corporate communications: businesses use live streaming to engage with potential customers – or their own staff – globally.
  • Social media: If you’ve seen Facebook Live or Instagram Live when you’ve been scrolling through social media – that’s live streaming! Creating a live video link and sharing it across social media platforms is live streaming.
  • Entertainment: Live events can be live streamed across social media platforms. YouTube, for example, is often used by gamers, musicians and influencers to connect with their audiences in real-time.

In the video below, we’ve also included some examples of WOWVI Video’s livestream video production back catalogue.

So what are the advantages of live streaming?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, live streaming is bigger than ever. So what are its advantages – the reasons why it has become so popular?

  • Live streaming provides immediate engagement. How great would it be to have real-time interaction between the broadcaster and the audience? That is exactly what you get with live streaming. It helps connect broadcaster and community – or, if you’re a business, your team with potential customers.
  • Viewers can access a live stream from anywhere in the world. Provided they have an internet connection, your audience can watch your live stream anywhere. This makes live streaming a perfect way to reach a global audience.
  • A live stream can be cost-effective – compared to traditional broadcasting, or other video production alternatives, that is. A live stream doesn’t need so much infrastructure, or resources; and, compared to other forms of video production, there’s far less post-production to drain your marketing budget.
  • There are few marketing activities that are so interactive. Modern live streaming platforms offer features like live chats, polls, and Q&A sessions, enhancing the experience for the viewer and encouraging engagement.

What are the challenges of live streaming?

So live streaming has plenty of advantages. But it doesn’t come without challenges.

  • Live-streamed events can sometimes experience ‘lag’. Or latency, as it’s known in the industry. A delay between the live event and its broadcast can affect viewer experience. However, technologies like Low-Latency HLS (LL-HLS) are being developed to minimise this delay.
  • Buffering connection and reduced quality. This can be caused by lack of bandwidth: high-quality streams need plenty of bandwidth (the capacity of the connection to the internet). The required bandwidth may not be available in all locations… Which then causes the buffering, and reduced quality for the viewer.
  • And… Good old technical issues! Ensuring a stable and high-quality stream involves overcoming technical challenges related to encoding, network stability and hardware performance. Not to mention, of course – because it’s live – ensuring everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing what they should be doing.

An example of live streaming

What better way to explain what live streaming is and how it works than by providing an actual example of live stream video production?

The example we have is a live streamed event that WOWVI Video covered several years ago: Gala Bingo were holding a charity event to raise money for an animal sanctuary.

Gala Bingo wanted the event to be broadcast – but rather than using traditional broadcast media, they wanted to stream the event on social media. This meant that viewers could tune in, and see money being raised in real-time as presenter for the event Pete Wicks chatted to staff, dogs and reacted to donations and comments from viewers.

The event needed plenty of planning – in order to ensure the full six hours of the event were filled with content that kept viewers engaged – and that no one ever found themselves wondering what to do next!

WOWVI took care of the planning and technical aspects – and the live stream charity event was a success, raising thousands for charity and providing considerable exposure for both Gala Bingo and the animal sanctuary.

What is the future of live streaming?

As technology advances, live streaming is expected to become even more integrated into daily life.

It’s cost effective, allows you to interact with your audience (and potential customers) in real time – and can reach parts many other forms of marketing cannot.

Improvements in internet speeds, encoding technologies and streaming protocols will only enhance the quality of live streamed events. Plus, the rise of interactive and immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, will open new possibilities for live streaming, making it an even more dynamic and engaging medium.

Let’s get planning your first live stream!

Want to know more about live streaming video production, and whether it’s worth your time and marketing budget? 

Speak to WOWVI Video. We can give you examples of our previous work, including the return on investment for the client, and the number of customers and potential customers they reached.

Plus, if you have an idea for a live stream event in mind, we can provide you with a cost estimate, or quote. Contact us today to discuss your ideas and let’s elevate your business with the unrivalled power of live streaming!

P.S Still asking ‘what is live streaming?’ Or, have other video production related questions you need to ask? Click the Get InTouch button below to send them over, and we’ll answer them!

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