Eventstream Review: Profit From Paid Live Online Video Events
Now that you’ve got the URL for the viewing page, return to Eventbrite and add this to the automatic order confirmation sent out by Eventbrite so your registrants will know how to view the event. In addition, Eventbrite automatically sends an email to registrants 48 hours before the event, and you should add viewing information to this email as well. If you don’t take these steps, you’ll have late registrants on event day emailing to ask what they have to do to watch the event, which will just make everyone unhappy.
Not to be pedantic, but you should be as detailed as possible as to what the viewer will have to do to watch the event. I bought a ticket for my event and ran through the entire viewing process just to be sure. During this exercise, I learned that the Eventbrite ticket number comes with a number before the actual ticket number; if you leave that in when you copy and paste the ticket number, you get an error. The ticket number as sent by Eventbrite also includes an extra space at the end of the number, and if you copy and paste the number with the space, you also get an error. I can’t say how many registrants would have encountered these issues, but I made sure that the instructions included in the confirmation and reminder letter mentioned them both.
With this done, you’re ready to go. Nothing left to do except worry about how many registrants you’ll actually get, and to complete your planning and event preparation.
On game day, create the live stream as you would ordinarily with your streaming system. YouTube Live does a nice job with this, with excellent setup and preview capabilities, and, of course, it’s free. Then you open the Eventstream Control Room (Figure 4) to run the event. After going live in your live streaming system, nothing happens in the Eventstream player until you push the Open Event button in the Control Room, which toggles to the Close Event button seen in Figure 4. This starts feeding the live stream to the Eventstream player.
Figure 4. The Eventstream Control Room a few moments before going live
Just be sure the video isn’t available to all comers on the landing page in your live streaming system, since that would irritate the paying customers (and might cost you some revenue). Again, with YouTube Live, I simply had to make the event unlisted, so no one could find it without knowing the specific URL.
After starting the webcast, you can publish a text message to all viewers by typing it into the Publish a Message box in Figure 4 and clicking the Push Live button; these messages appear in the text box on the bottom of the player (Figure 5). Beyond that, the control room lets you manage and answer questions either directly to the viewer or to all viewers. It also displays the total number of viewers, their locations, and the browsers used to view the event, among other data. Multiple users can log in to the Control Room simultaneously, enabling a moderator other than the speaker to answer or prioritize questions and push out messages to the viewers.
Figure 5. The Eventstream player showing webinar content
In the event setup page, you can choose an image to display in the player between the time the viewer logs in and when the stream goes live. During the event, it’s pretty simple, essentially displaying the video from the live streaming system, with the ability to receive broadcasts and ask questions via the fields on the bottom. New features on the Eventstream road map include the ability to add third-party social media and polling widgets into the viewing page. For example, producers who have Twitter walls at their event will then be able to show the wall virtually beneath the webcast.
Once the webcast is complete, press Close Event in the control room to stop the feed to the Eventstream player, and shut down the live stream in your live streaming service. Then you can download simple analytics with the name and email address of all viewers, as well as when they joined and left the webcast, and any questions that they asked. This is complemented by multiple sales related reports from Eventbrite.
Note that you can also use the Eventstream/Eventbrite combination for VOD events, either for live events you just finished producing, or for VOD content that was never live. In Eventbrite, you just have to indicate that the event is VOD, or live then VOD, and leave the system open for registration and ticket purchase rather than closing it after the event.
In Eventstream, copy the embed code from your platform into the player setup, so the player retrieves the video from there instead of your live streaming system. You might be able to use the same embed with your live streaming service provider if it delivers VOD files as well as live, as most do. I uploaded the archived video saved by YouTube to online video platform Wistia and served the VOD video from there, which allowed me to make the webcast available as a pay-per-view asset. On the road map is a playlist feature that would allow you to break a longer video into shorter, bite-sized pieces, which is always useful for long-form content.
Overall, Eventstream is the glue that ties two complementary services together, making both more functional and useful to the event producer. As a bonus, you also get viewer/moderator chat and viewer analytics you can’t get from Eventbrite. Given Eventstream’s ability to work with live and VOD events, the service helps extend the tail of your live events for lead generation and monetization.
This article appears in the April/May 2016 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Eventstream Review."