Most of the time when you’re doing a live stream for your video website, the broadcasting session lasts for a couple of hours. Regardless if it’s a sports event you’re streaming or a concert, the session has a beginning and an end. This article will focus on continuous live streaming or 24/7 streams.
Linear live streaming, commonly known as a continuous 24/7 stream has a lot in common with broadcast television – the media is distributed continuously to all viewers willing to watch. The only difference between 24/7 streams and broadcast television is the technology used to distribute video to the viewer.
As online content is rising in popularity and surpassing traditional broadcasting technologies such as television, live linear streaming will also become more accessible and common. Broadcasting giants are also moving to live linear streaming, with innovators like CBS and ABC offering 24/7 stream options for their content.
New Distribution Models
In the last few years, more and more viewers are switching from cable to online video, with over 30 million households taking this step in the US alone. Although video on demand content has several advantages over cable content, many people still want to enjoy linear 24/7 content. The reason being, people don’t want to have to look through and select the content they want to watch each time they turn on their TV, laptop or phone.
With the development of Smart TVs which are connected to the internet, it’s becoming increasingly easier for content producers to offer linear video content alongside their VOD products. Not only that but the viewing patterns are also changing – the amount of people enjoying video content on devices such as mobile phones or tablets is increasing drastically.
Due to this new distribution model, it’s perfectly feasible for a company to start broadcasting 24/7 streams within a reasonable budget and with a small supporting staff.
Building a 24/7 Stream Channel
Building your own linear streaming channel may present a challenge for some website owners, but overall it’s not that tricky if you know which steps you need to take and the equipment you will need.
Online Video Platforms & 24/7 Streaming
Before you can launch your linear live stream, you will need an online video platform to host and distribute your content to viewers.
WpStream allows website owners to host 24/7 live streams, along with plenty of security and monetization options. Since WpStream works with WordPress, you will be able to build your website and have it up and running in no time. Monetization options are available through the use of different payment processing plugins such as WooCommerce. If you plan to have several streams or VODs on your website, you can use WpBakery to create custom pages and give your website a unique look.
In short, WpStream features include:
- WordPress Streaming Theme available for FREE
- Two easy to import demos – GoLive & Hollywood
- WpStream Plugin available for FREE – if you want to use your own theme
- Total control over your linear stream
- The ability to record and create products from your 24/7 live stream
- Easy monetization of your content
- User friendly interface & documentation available
- Free streaming apps such as OBS Studio supported
- Fully encrypted streams
To create your first 24/7 live streaming channel you will have to first open up an account on WpStream.net. Once you register and select the package you would like to use, head on over to your WordPress website and install the WpStream Plugin – the WpStream Theme is optional. If you’re having any trouble at this point, feel free to check our guide on how to install the WpStream platform.
Once you have your website set up and everything ready to go, it’s time to create your first 24/7 streaming channel.
- If you want to create a free channel, simply refer to our article on how to broadcast a free channel with OBS studio.
- If you want to create a pay per view channel, check our article on broadcasting pay per view events.
- If you plan on running a subscription based website, take a look at our guide on how to create subscription products.
You will have to keep in mind that 24/7 live streaming will use up a lot of bandwidth, and that’s normal. So it’s important to calculate your viewer hours and estimate how much you’re going to get from each plan WpStream has to offer. You will also have to estimate your total number of viewers and bandwidth consumption. If you want to opt for a continuous 24/7 stream, you can check our article on setting your FPS, bitrate and resolution to ensure you don’t waste any bandwidth.
Linear live streaming does present some new challenges, as opposed to regular streaming. Your equipment needs to be able to handle 24/7 streaming – your camera, computer and your encoder must all work perfectly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If your computer is crashing often or your internet connection is unreliable, you won’t have a reliable stream and visitors will start avoiding your channel. Ideally, you should have a dedicated computer for the task and disable automatic updates or any other events which may trigger a restart.
With these aspects in mind, you may want to set up a separate budget for professional streaming equipment, including hardware encoders. Professional streaming equipment is well suited for linear streaming, with minimal errors and downtime.
Even with top notch streaming equipment, problems may still arise. So it’s a good idea to implement redundancy within your streaming setup. If your encoder or camera fails, you should have a backup configured and ready to go in just a few minutes. This will also help your team fix problems faster.
The most important aspect of any video project is the content itself. You have two main approaches to choose from when starting a 24/7 live stream:
- Broadcasting live video from a certain place, like a studio – here we can include talk shows, live news, etc.
- Broadcasting videos which were recorded previously – streaming pre-recorded talk shows, movies, documentaries, reruns, etc.
Since having a linear channel is in itself a challenge, you should strongly consider going for both approaches at the same time. Live content is more engaging for the viewers but it’s also more labour intensive and requires a lot of planning. Pre-recorded video content is easier to broadcast but less engaging for your viewers.
Most linear streaming channels will opt for a mixture of these two types of content: Broadcasting live events during prime time hours and for the rest of the day just stream pre-recorded videos. In the simplest form, broadcasting on a linear streaming channel can be done with only pre-recorded content. All you need to do is use a live streaming app like OBS studio to queue your videos and the WpStream platform.
There are several ways to monetize your linear live stream. With the WpStream platform and WooCommerce you have a lot of flexibility regarding different revenue options. For example, you can charge a regular subscription fee for your live stream. You can also create different subscription packages – weekly, monthly or yearly for your content. Once your viewer selects a certain package, they will have full unlimited access to your content for a designated period of time.
Another option would be to charge a one-fee for access to your content. Certain live events such as sports are more suited to this option. If neither of these options seem appealing to you, you can opt for advertising as a means of revenue generation.
Launching your very own 24/7 live streaming channel with WpStream is easier than ever before. Modern technology allows small website owners to run professional live channels within a budget. The best part about WpStream is that it’s very user friendly and almost anyone can use it, even without prior technical experience or knowledge.