May 15, 2020

Choosing a live streaming provider

By jfbethlehem
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There are many apps and websites which allow you to live stream to various platforms. Some of these platforms allow you to stream for hours on end using just your mobile phone while others are more limited in the duration you can live stream. It also depends on where your audience is and what kind of audience you want to reach with your video’s.

This is a list of some major live streaming platforms:

  • Twitch
  • YouTube Live
  • Facebook Live
  • Ustream
  • Younow
  • etc..

I will be focussing on the top 3 of these: Twitch, YouTube Live and Facebook Live.

Twitch is the largest platform for live streaming. It’s most popular with gamers and people who want to watch other people play games. Some key facts are:

  • It is an interactive live streaming service which offers quite good services.
  • The basic account is free and can be created using your Facebook account.
  • Mostly for gamers.

YouTube Live has impressive analytics, chat and tools for live streamers. It is the largest general-use video platform in the world and the most well known. Some key features are:

  • It has a huge amount of video produced every second.
  • It has the biggest audience for regular video’s.
  • People watch both live video’s and old video’s that have been uploaded months or years ago.
  • To go live on Youtube mobile, you’ll need 1000 subscribers.
  • Allows embedding into websites.

Facebook Live is fairly new on the block but it has some very distinguishing features which can be a good reason to choose Facebook Live:

  • It is possible to share video’s while they are live and to start so-called ‘Watch parties’. This allows you to invite others to join in watching the live stream
  • Many people use Facebook the whole day and they can easily jump into a live stream if invited.
  • People don’t often re-watch video’s posted a long time ago.
  • You can choose to limit the audience and audience comments using various ways.

Make a choice

So, you know which services are out there. Now you need to choose one that matches your target audience best. 

PlatformTwitchYouTubeFacebook
TargetGamersGeneralFriends
MobileYes> 1000 subscribersYes
WindowsYesYesYes
MacYesYesYes
ConfigurabilityYesYesYes
Live commentYesYesYes
RecordingYesYesYes
Ease of useEasyEasyEasy
Easy of setupModerateModerateModerate
Max resolution1080p8K720p
Content exclusivityYesNoNo

My choice for churches:++++++

My choice goes to Facebook Live for streaming church services. The reason for this is quite simple: Due to the social nature of Facebook, it is easier to invite people to watch the Sunday service. People can start a so-called ‘Watch Party’ where they can invite friends to watch the live stream. People can ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ the live stream onto their profile. All this allows your viewers to increase the people watching the service, thereby spreading the Word even further, features that the other platforms do not have.

Twitch has the advantage of being the largest platform with the largest amount of streamers and viewers. Youtube has the advantage of being the most well known with many people watching recorded videos and it has the highest resolution (up to 4K). But for immediate sharing and being able to spread the live stream, Facebook wins hands-down.