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SME 2016: Take Your Live Streaming to Where Your Customers Are

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Live streaming is where it’s at. Not only is live video growing in popularity much faster than on-demand video, but the average viewer will watch a live feed for 20 minutes—as opposed to 2 to 3 minutes of pre-recorded video. Why is this relatively long-form content so popular?

"We have been feeding people snack bite media for so long that people are now wanting to digest stuff that is a little bit longer," said Mario Armstrong, NBC TODAY Show digital lifestyle contributor at Streaming Media East in New York. He added that brands have the ability to set themselves "above the clutter" by creating more substantive content. So it's no surprise that options for livestreaming your video are growing rapidly—especially on social channels—and Armstrong set out to help conference attendees evaluate the different platforms.


While there are some key differences among the major streaming platforms, Armstrong advised content creators not to get too focused on the technology. Instead, he said, figure out where your content is already being consumed and "double-down." So if you have a big Facebook following, Facebook Live might be right for you. But if your audience is more active on Twitter, think about using Periscope.

In an effort to really illustrate the differences between the platforms, Armstrong experimented with each while on stage. Facebook Live got the most thorough treatment. While he pointed out that there is still a slight delay between what he's saying and what viewers are hearing, that didn't seem to be much of a problem. Facebook viewers quickly started chiming in with comments, Likes, and emoji—and a few people in the audience even logged on to the video.

When the live stream was over, Armstrong demonstrated the replay capabilities—including the real-time replay of comments and other viewer engagement. He also showed the Facebook Live Map, which allows viewers to find livestreams happening by location.

After brief discussions of YouTube Live and Periscope, Armstrong introduced the audience to one of the newest entrants into the livestreaming arena: Busker. The new app has many of the same features as the other streaming apps, but with one major distinction—it allows viewers to "tip" content creators. You simply put in your credit card information when you sign up, and then click to tip the creators of content you love. Armstrong even managed to make a dollar on the stream of his session.

Busker takes a 15% cut of the money earned by content creators, and pays users once a month—as long as they reach $50.

No matter what platform you are on, Armstrong advised against overinvestment. He relayed the story of the time he spent time building his following to over a million followers on one platform, only to have that app sold to another company and eventually killed. So, he recommends using any of these platforms not as your final destination, but as a way to drive traffic back to your home base.

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