Broadcasting live events online can be an interesting strategy for keeping customers loyalty. In this article I will compare the free plans of some of the major live streaming video platforms so we can choose the one that suits our company best.

More and more companies, with the aim of providing a better experience to their customers, perform networking or training events. However, not all customers can enjoy these live activities because they cannot travel to the event location.

There are several solutions to this problem:

  1. Recording the events. In this case, various complications might arise: Should we edit the video? Can it be public or only our customers can watch it? How to restrict access to videos?
  2. Hiring the services of a company to broadcast, record, and publish the event. In this case, the main complication is the price. Are the events so important for our business to make this investment?
  3. Using free live streaming video platforms.

In this article I will discuss the third option. I’ll compare the most relevant features of the free plans of seven major live broadcast platforms.

To decide which platform is the best for our company we should evaluate at least the following five features:

  1. How many people can view the broadcast?
  2. Can we restrict access?
  3. Can we share our screen?
  4. Do we need to download software?
  5. How difficult is access for viewers?

There we go (at the end of the article you will find a comparative table).


Livestream

new.livestream.com

  1. Unlimited viewers.
  2. The ability to restrict viewership is not yet available using the New Livestream.
  3. The screen can be shared.
  4. The broadcaster needs to download a desktop application.
  5. Free plans require viewers to sign up for Livestream.

Ustream

www.ustream.tv

  1. Unlimited viewers.
  2. You can restrict viewership via password protection.
  3. The screen can be shared, although is not very agile.
  4. The broadcaster needs to download two desktop applications.
  5. Viewers need neither register nor download software.

Justin.tv

www.justin.tv

  1. Unlimited viewers.
  2. You can restrict viewership via password protection.
  3. Only 10 free broadcasts with screen sharing.
  4. The broadcaster needs to download a screen sharing application.
  5. Viewers need neither register nor download software.

Vivo

www.vivolive.com

  1. Unlimited viewers.
  2. You can restrict viewership via password protection.
  3. The broadcaster only can show a presentation below the video.
  4. All broadcasters must be approved by Vivo to activate their account.
  5. Viewers need neither register nor download software.

Google+ (“Hangout”)

plus.google.com

  1. There is a limit of 10 viewers.
  2. Viewership is restricted to those people who have been invited.
  3. The screen can be shared.
  4. The broadcaster could need to download a plugin and using Google Chrome is advisable.
  5. Viewers need a Google+ account. They also could need to download a plugin and using Chrome is advisable.

YouTube (Google+)

www.youtube.com

  1. Unlimited viewers.
  2. Only YouTube Partners can restrict viewership.
  3. The screen can be shared.
  4. The broadcaster needs to download a plugin and using Google Chrome is advisable.
  5. Viewers need neither register nor download software.

Skype

www.skype.com
(In fact, this isn’t really a “platform”, but we couldn’t speak about streaming without mentioning Skype).

  1. The free plan only allows one to one video calls.
  2. Viewership is restricted to those people who have been invited.
  3. The screen can be shared.
  4. The broadcaster needs to download a desktop application.
  5. Viewers need a Skype account and download a desktop application.

To summarize the content of the preceding paragraphs, I include a comparative table.

Comparison of free live streaming platforms

Once we have chosen the most convenient platform we must consider some additional aspects, such as the webcam, the microphone, the quality of our Internet connection, and lighting.

Finally, one last tip: Broadcasting our activities can be very useful and many of our customers will thank us. However, an online event NEVER replaces a real event. It is important that our customers understand that it is worth making the effort to come and see us and, to this end, we must offer added value.