The popularity of live streaming has risen considerably in recent years, in large part because of its sheer effectiveness; there’s simply no better method for organizations to share their content with a global audience in real time.
The advantages of video streaming can be enjoyed by everyone, including government organizations, who can use live streaming to increase transparency and accountability, engage with the public, and make politics more inclusive. In other words: used correctly, it can be a powerful tool for good, one that strengthens the foundations of democracy.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at the myriad benefits of live video streaming for government agencies. We’ll also provide some handy, practical tips for streaming public meetings, city council meetings, and other types of government meetings, including guiding you through the best streaming solutions that’ll make streaming your live events a breeze.
Importance of live streaming for government agencies
Government agencies have long been undergoing a digital transformation to bring them in line with the standards of the modern world, allow them to better understand their citizens’ needs, and work more efficiently.
Live streaming is a development of this trend, providing new ways to enhance transparency, boost public engagement, and make politics more accessible. Using a live streaming solution is the modern equivalent of televising local government events but with a host of additional benefits.
Some of the key reasons why government agencies use live streaming include:
Enhanced transparency and accountability
Live streaming allows the public to view government activities in real-time, from wherever they are. All they need is a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. This ability to view government activities live makes the process more transparent, helping to strengthen democracy.
It also enhances trust in the government. Live streaming helps to hold government officials accountable since there’ll be a high-quality digital recording of their actions and statements. Whether citizens watch the video content live or on-demand, they’ll have a clear understanding of who’s said what.
Live streaming can also benefit the inner workings of government, helping to prevent misconduct and corruption. Government officials are much less likely to act in nefarious ways when they know that what they’re saying and doing is freely available to the public.
Public engagement and participation
Societies are healthier when members of the public actively participate in government activities. While live streaming won’t guarantee that individuals tune in, it’ll make it easier for them to do so. The medium allows as many people as possible to participate in government meetings and other events and creates a more direct engagement between the public and government officials, which helps to foster a more engaged citizenry.
Live video streaming works both ways, too. It gives the public greater access to the political realm, but also helps government agencies to reach as many people as possible, including those who otherwise could not attend government events in person, a crucial element when important information must be relayed.
With little more than a camera, internet connection, and streaming software, government agencies can ensure that those all-important meetings, announcements, and other messages can be viewed and received by everyone, regardless of whether they’re in the building or watching the content at home.
Inclusivity and accessibility
Not everyone can attend government activities in person. Live streaming makes these activities available to people who live in remote areas, have disabilities, or just otherwise have such busy lives that they’re unable to attend an event in person. Ultimately, live video streaming goes a long way toward making access to government information and services more equal. It’s a powerful asset in the strive towards inclusivity.
The advanced technology that underpins live video streaming allows for accommodations for historically overlooked citizens, such as those with disabilities. For example, many live streaming platforms include a closed captioning feature, which can be beneficial for the hearing impaired.
All citizens should have equal access to the government. While live streaming doesn’t address all issues, it’s an important step in the right direction.
Examples of government events that benefit from live streaming
There’s no shortage of government meetings and events that can be live-streamed. At a minimum, agencies can – and should – live stream any events that are open to the public. If a citizen can attend the event by walking in off the street, then it’s appropriate for live streaming.
And the list only grows from there. While there will be some instances when meetings can’t be live streamed for security reasons, the majority of low-level government meetings, such as city council meetings, will be suitable for streaming.
Some of the common ways government agencies use live streaming include:
- Public hearings.
- Press conferences.
- City council meetings.
- Training sessions.
- Special events.
It’s clear to see how the live streaming of these types of events would benefit both government agencies and the public. These types of events aren’t held without purpose; they exist to educate and inform the public about things that may affect them. It’s in democracy’s interest for information to reach as many people as possible, and that’s what live streaming allows.
The streaming of such videos also enhances transparency and builds trust. A citizen is more likely to have faith in government agencies if they have access to meetings and public hearings, especially those that shine a light on the goings-on within the agency. They also foster a more direct relationship between the citizen and the government.
We’ve already seen how government agencies utilize live streaming to both the benefit of the agency and citizens. Some examples include:
- COVID-19 briefings: National, state, and local agencies used video streaming to keep people up to date during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Local council meetings: Many local councils, including the City of Seattle’s, live stream their meetings and make them available on-demand for later viewing.
- Webinars and workshops: Various agencies have used live streaming to host webinars and workshops. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency hosts online workshops on the topic of environmental protection.
Top live streaming solutions for government agencies
There’s no shortage of live video streaming solutions available online. However, it’s important for government agencies to select the one that’s right for their needs. As a respected organization, it’s essential that agencies select a professional solution that is highly secure, reliable, allows for full control over appearance and content, and allows for both live and on-demand streaming.
WpStream offers the perfect solution for government agencies looking to broadcast their events and meetings. Some of the key features of the plugin include:
Total control over stream content and appearance
You can stream directly from your WordPress website with WpStream, allowing for maximum control over the content. Other streaming services come with restrictive guidelines or, even worse, advert interruptions, neither of which are suitable for government agencies. Better yet, WpStream is a white-label platform, which means you can customize all aspects of your stream’s appearance.
Content privacy and security
Security is a concern for all video streamers, but especially ones from government agencies, which are more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. With WpStream, you can have peace of mind that your stream is safe and secure from intrusion. The plugin comes complete with a host of built-in security features that include CORS, DRM, encryption, and access control.
Reliable global broadcasting
Need to broadcast globally? WpStream offers a multi-CDN solution that allows broadcasters to stream all over the world. The plugin utilizes a variety of different streaming protocols, providing low-latency, reliable streaming to viewers no matter what continent they’re on.
Support for live and video-on-demand (VOD) content
You can maximize the number of viewers for your video by making your content available for viewing after the stream has finished. With WpStream, you can broadcast your content live and make it available on-demand, ensuring no one has to miss your all-important video. WpStream’s integration with popular streaming software, including StreamYard, even allows the live broadcast of pre-recorded videos.
Subscriptions for WpStream begin from just $19/month, and you can easily scale should your requirements expand. And with no long-term contracts, the plugin is even suitable for government agencies that only stream infrequently or on an ad-hoc basis. Whatever your streaming requirements are, you can have peace of mind that WpStream is the right solution for your agency.
While WpStream is our top pick for government live streaming, there are a variety of other professional solutions available, too. Three alternative options for government agencies looking to branch out into live streaming include:
BoxCast is a versatile streaming platform that offers solutions for a range of use cases, including government agencies, religious institutions, sporting events, and other businesses. Some of the platform’s key features that relate to government live streaming include:
- Broadcast scheduling, to ensure constituents are always aware of when the next stream will go live.
- Integrated Viewer Chat, ensuring that members of the community can voice concerns and share opinions during meetings.
- Detailed analytics to help track viewer engagement and determine which types of broadcasts resonate best with the local community.
- User Management features to ensure that your broadcasts remain secure.
- Built-in support for multistreaming, enabling you to boost your reach by streaming to a variety of platforms simultaneously.
While BoxCast offers an impressive range of features, this versatility comes at a price. With plans starting at $109/month, BoxCast is one of the more expensive government live streaming solutions on our list.
Vimeo Livestream is a streaming solution offered by the video hosting website Vimeo. The platform allows streamers to broadcast directly to YouTube, Facebook Live, and other streaming services. Some of the key features of Vimeo Livestream that make it a good choice of streaming service for government agencies include:
- Offers unlimited viewership with no additional costs.
- Built-in analytics to enable you to track metrics like viewer count, viewer location, and more.
- Security options, including password protection and geo-block streams, to give you full control over stream viewership and privacy.
- Interactive features like live Q&A, polls, audience chat, and more.
Prices for Vimeo Livestream begin at $108/month (or $65/month if you commit to an annual subscription), with more expensive plans offering a wealth of additional features.
Dacast provides a comprehensive solution for government agencies looking to connect with their constituents via live video streaming. The platform allows agencies to stream to multiple platforms at once and provides access to advanced analytics that can give insights into video stream performance. Some other key features of Dacast include:
- Similar to WpStream, Dacast offers a customizable, white-label video player, enabling agencies to create a professional, distraction-free viewing experience with no third-party logos or adverts.
- Dacast also offers the same support for both live and on-demand video content that WpStream does, maximizing viewership and ensuring members of the community that can’t attend live don’t miss out.
- Like WpStream, which enables you to start streaming with nothing more than a computer or mobile device and an internet connection, Dacast has minimal setup requirements and a shallow learning curve, helping agencies to start streaming easily.
Like the other options on this list, Dacast offers a range of pricing plans to suit different needs. These plans start at $39/month (billed annually; the cheapest month-to-month plan starts from $250/month), but you’ll need to upgrade to access some of the more advanced features.
How to implement live streaming for government meetings and events
Live streaming government meetings and events is relatively straightforward, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you get started to ensure that your live video streaming journey is nothing but successful.
Choosing the right equipment and streaming platform
The right equipment and streaming platform go hand in hand to create a seamless live video streaming experience for both you and your audience. We’ve already outlined the best streaming platforms, but the equipment you’ll use is just as important
Testing your streaming setup
It’s better to know your stream is working correctly before you go live, rather than after. Before you stream your first event, be sure to test your streaming setup to ensure everything is working correctly. If there are any issues with your internet connection, equipment, or software, you’ll have a chance to set things right before you go live.
Streaming your first government event
While the setup for your first government event live stream is half the battle, the hard work doesn’t stop when you click “Go live”. It’s very important to ensure that you keep your stream audience engaged and provide the best possible viewing experience. For tips on maximizing engagement and ensuring your stream runs smoothly, check out our complete guide on virtual event hosting.
After your first event
After your first event is over, take some time to gather feedback from viewers to see what you could improve. It’s also important to analyze viewer data and archive the stream for on-demand viewing. Choosing a streaming platform that supports analytics will be crucial in maximizing the effectiveness of your live content over time, but the importance of following up with attendees to get specific feedback can also not be overstated.
Stream your next government event with WpStream
Anything that allows government agencies to better connect with citizens, boosts transparency, and all-around fosters trust should be welcome. And that’s just what video live streaming offers government agencies. With more and more people getting their information online, now’s the perfect time for agencies to take full advantage of the many benefits of live video streaming.
WpStream is the perfect solution for agencies wishing to stream their meetings and announcements or provide any other live or on-demand video content to their community. The plugin offers a wide range of functionality that makes it a perfect choice for government live streaming, including:
- Built-in security and privacy features.
- Reliable worldwide broadcasting leveraging a multi-CDN solution.
- Total control over stream content and appearance.
- Complete flexibility in your streaming setup.
Better yet, WpStream offers competitive pricing options that make it an accessible solution, regardless of your agency’s budget. Get started with WpStream with a free trial to experience the benefits of government live streaming today!
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