Online broadcasting explained: why it's a great idea, and how you can do it

May 19, 2020

Video streaming is the hot topic of the moment and has become an integral part of day-to-day life. Unsurprisingly, it's a phenomenon that's set to expand even more in the immediate future. With the current physical distancing measures in place, many organizations are taking advantage of the technology they already have available to reach audiences at home, while others are wondering if it’s something they, too, should invest in.

We’ve been integrating streaming into our designs for a few years now, so we thought we’d share some info on why it makes sense to broadcast online and what you need to be able to do it.

The nice thing about video streaming is that everyone can do it. And for free too! But first, let’s look into the reasons why you’d want to do it.

Firstly, it promotes diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility. How? Well, it’s all about who your audience is. When you’re performing live in a venue, the people who get to enjoy it are the people who are physically able to be in the venue, at a specific time and on a particular date. But what if members of your community have health or sensory issues that prevent them from sitting comfortably in an auditorium? What if a regular patron has young children and can’t always get a babysitter—or they’ve relocated to a different city and can no longer attend performances, even though they’d still love to support your work? What if some of your community regularly travel for work—or they live in a rural area—and physically travelling to be with you for a performance is impossible? There are all kinds of reasons why someone can’t attend performances in person, and offering online streaming is an easy and efficient way to keep those members of your community entertained and engaged.

Interestingly, a recent study by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) found that 70% of people watch at least 1 online video or event per day, and, according to livestream.com, a large majority of those people are more likely to buy tickets in the future if they enjoyed the online event. So, another benefit of online streaming is that it doesn’t just maintain your existing audience relationships, but it also helps to build new audiences too. It means that someone thousands of miles away, who wouldn’t normally have access to your work, can discover it and regularly enjoy it from the comfort of their own home. And online exposure can open up your art form to people from all walks of life that may not have had access to it within their own community.

And, just because you’re showing your work online, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be monetized—you can consider both advertising and paywalls as options. But you might be wondering “What are the other costs to us, as an organization, if we decide to invest in online streaming for the first time? Will we need to hire someone to do it? Do we need to buy expensive equipment to make it happen?” The answer to both of these questions is “No. Not necessarily.”

It all depends on what you want to achieve. The video below explains your options in more detail. But, in a nutshell, you can potentially reach a huge online audience using just your smartphone and the tools that many popular social media platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) already offer for free. You can also find new ways to use other technology you may already own—your venue’s existing sound console, for example. Or you might decide to invest in a couple of new items, such as a camera or two. The costs involved really are scale-able to meet your budget and your goals.

We know the idea of adding online broadcast capabilities to showcase your work can be daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. We’ve put together this video to help you:

  • make sure the technology (hardware, software, and the streaming platform) you invest in is future-proofed, expandable, and easy to use.
  • understand technical terms like “compression codecs” and “encoders”. We break those terms down to make them more understandable, using everyday examples and words you’re more familiar with.
  • use popular social media sites to publish your videos for free.
  • understand when it’s appropriate to use a simple plug-and-play system (when a camera and microphone is plugged into your computer) and when you’ll really need to upgrade to a more sophisticated system for a much better result.
  • produce a high quality recording of a live performance using technology you most likely already have available to you (sound console and lighting equipment) and how to improve the viewing experience by adding a few extra cameras—allowing viewers to see the performance from multiple angles, but also letting them see how the rest of the audience is reacting to the event.

We know it can be overwhelming, especially if this is all new to you. So, if you still have questions or don’t know what solution might be best for you, feel free to call or email us. Our experts will ask you about your goals and work with you to find a solution that fits your needs—and your budget.



The sample banner ad in this video includes a photograph of Chase Center. The image was taken by Brett Murray for Metallica.

Online broadcasting explained: why it's a great idea, and how you can do it