By Dan Pisarski, VP of Engineering at LiveU
Podcasts have become the go-to destination for news, entertainment, education, and advice. The sound of the host’s voice exudes confidence and gives listeners a sense of trust and authority to provide guidance they can use. Live video takes that a step further.
As live video dominates the social algorithms and commands the attention of growing mobile viewers, it is something podcasters can no longer ignore as a viable method for growing an audience, expanding advertising/revenue streams, and creating a two-way conversation in real-time.
Adding live to your promotion strategy is a great way to raise your visibility. All the major platforms promote live streams above other types of content, so a live stream to present your next episode is a great way to get noticed. Get your listeners excited about the next episode, the special guest, new segment, or promotion you are running.
Producing a live show gives your audience the opportunity to experience an unedited (and sometimes unscripted) program. This provides an element of surprise and unpredictability that makes it more crucial for viewers to tune in live. Plus, they will get notified that you are live.
When going live from your home studio or a venue you use for your show, some challenges only need to be solved once. How much bandwidth do you have? Are you doing a multi camera setup? How is the lighting? Some of these, you might have already solved even for your on-demand files.
Using a webcam to stream your production is a simple way to get started without being tech savvy or spending a lot of money. But, when you want to bring in guests or multiple cameras, it’s time for a dedicated video camera. This will not only increase video picture quality, but also allow you to further improve the stream with better audio inputs and have HDMI output that will allow you to send your live video/audio feed through a video encoder for robust transmission even when you don’t have a hard line internet connection.
Reliability of the stream is always key to viewers, and it’s more challenging than you might think – even when using LAN or Wi-Fi. Another benefit is that this now frees up your laptop for other uses.
A great example is a podcast you already do in front of an audience (see Kevin Smith’s Hollywood Babble-on as one sample) – but every now and then you like to get out to a new city or venue, or maybe you do a special episode from a big event. San Diego Comic Con here we come!
Even if you have mastered going live from your venue of choice, how do you go live from a new venue you are only going to visit once? This can be even more challenging.
Portable bonded encoding makes your set-up super portable, so you can live stream from any location regardless of the internet situation. Plus, you never want to rely on just one connection. Congestion, network fluctuations, or not ENOUGH bandwidth can all spell disaster for your stream. Take the fear out of the mix so you can literally set this up anywhere and go live knowing that your stream will always be the highest quality. The LiveU Solo portable cellular bonded encoder has become an essential piece of gear for live productions.
Debuting your next episode as a live stream first is a way to recruit new viewers that will then follow you to your VOD files. You’ll be able to expand the brand of your podcast using an engaging, interactive approach. LiveU Solo and a few decisions on other gear like lights and cameras can make going live easy – either from a familiar venue (which might be your home!) or from the road. Happy streaming!
What is your podcast distribution platform of choice? It may or may not have a live video option. For instance, if you distribute on iTunes, you can’t go live to that same platform. But, you can go live to YouTube, and then still make the VOD file available on iTunes later. Same with Facebook.
Some platforms gaining ground with podcasters do have a live video option – such as Patreon. Not only can you go live to Patreon, you can also choose that a live broadcast only be available to specific tiers on the platform, making it a reward for some of your more loyal patrons. Patreon supports both YouTube and Crowdcast.io as live platforms to underpin a Patreon post – and LiveU Solo supports both!
If you’re used to all the gear required to make a great sounding podcast for download, you might feel the leap to live is not your expertise. Even trickier – what if you occasionally (or always!) travel with your podcast?