Live streaming has taken the world by storm, providing an incredible way to connect with audiences and share content in real time. Whether it’s for entertainment, education, or business purposes, live streaming offers countless opportunities for content creators and organizations alike.
However, there are instances where you may want to restrict who can view your live video content, especially when the information being shared is sensitive, confidential, or intended for a specific group of people.
In these situations, private streams are the ideal solution. They cater to a wide range of applications, from ticketed events and corporate meetings to personal gatherings and more.
With the growing number of streaming solutions available in the market, it can be challenging to determine which platform best meets your private streaming needs.
In this post, we will delve into the advantages of private live streaming, explore the essential features to look for in a top-notch private streaming platform, and present our top 6 picks for the best private live streaming services for 2023.
Discover the perfect platform that aligns with your requirements and helps you deliver a secure and exclusive streaming experience to your audience!
Why would you host a private live stream?
As live streaming continues to grow in popularity, offering a private and secure streaming option becomes increasingly important for both businesses and individuals. Let’s delve into some of the main reasons why people might prefer to run private live streams:
Private live streams ensure that sensitive information or exclusive content is only accessible to the intended audience. This is crucial for protecting personal privacy, trade secrets, or proprietary information.
By hosting a private live stream, content creators can share their content with a select group of viewers, ensuring that their valuable information remains confidential and exclusive.
With the growing risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches, secure live streaming options help businesses and individuals safeguard their content and the privacy of their viewers. Secure live streaming platforms often employ advanced encryption and authentication methods to protect the stream from unauthorized access.
A platform with robust security features enables content creators to have peace of mind knowing that their live streams are well-protected against potential threats.
Private live streaming allows content creators to have control over their audience and the distribution of their content. This can be beneficial for monetizing content, maintaining brand integrity, or protecting intellectual property.
A private live stream allows content creators to decide who has access to their content, enabling them to manage their audience effectively and prevent unauthorized sharing or distribution.
For businesses in regulated industries or those handling sensitive information, private live streaming can help maintain compliance with data protection and privacy regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA.
By using a secure live streaming platform, businesses can ensure that their streams are compliant with industry standards and legal requirements, reducing the risk of fines or penalties.
Customization and personalization
Private live streaming often enables businesses or individuals to create a more personalized experience for their viewers, tailoring the content and presentation to a specific audience. This can improve audience engagement and satisfaction.
A private live stream can help streamers customize the look and feel of their streams, add interactive features, and provide targeted content that resonates with their viewers, leading to a more engaging and memorable experience.
Customization options may include branded video players, customized registration forms, in-stream polls or surveys, or targeted content that speaks directly to the interests and needs of your viewers.
Use cases for private live streams
Let’s take a more practical look at the benefits of private streaming. There are numerous real-world scenarios where private live streams have helped businesses, educational institutions, and individuals successfully share confidential information online.
Here are some common use cases for hosting private live streams:
Corporate events and meetings
Companies can use private live streams to broadcast internal meetings, product launches, or training sessions to employees located in different offices or working remotely. This allows for real-time communication and collaboration while ensuring that sensitive information remains within the company.
Private live streaming also helps maintain a professional environment and encourages employee engagement.
Schools and universities can use private live streaming for online classes, lectures, or workshops, enabling students to access course material remotely and securely.
This approach helps institutions cater to a diverse student population, including those who cannot attend in-person classes due to geographical constraints or other commitments.
Webinars and workshops
Many new businesses or one-person startups host private webinars or workshops, inviting only registered or paying attendees. This allows them to monetize their content and maintain a controlled environment for their audience.
Private live streams also provide an opportunity for hosts to interact with their audience, answer questions, and receive feedback in real time.
Entertainment and performances
Artists, musicians, or other performers can offer private live streams of performances, giving access only to patrons who have purchased tickets. This allows them to generate revenue and maintain an exclusive experience for their supporters.
Private live streaming also enables performers to connect with their audience on a more personal level, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.
Family gatherings, weddings, or other personal events can be live-streamed privately to friends and family who are unable to attend in person. This enables them to be part of the experience without making the event public.
Private live streaming of such events can help maintain the privacy and intimacy of the occasion while allowing loved ones to participate from afar.
What makes a good private live streaming platform?
Now that you know the various scenarios in which a private live streaming platform can be handy, the next question is, how do you identify a good one?
When choosing a private live streaming platform, it’s essential to consider several key features that will ensure a secure, customizable, and profitable streaming experience.
Here are some of the main features that users should expect from a good private live streaming platform:
Robust security options
Private live streaming platforms should offer a range of security and privacy features to protect your content and ensure that it’s accessible only to the intended audience. Some essential security options to look for include:
- Access control options, such as password protection, domain restrictions, or private sharing links, to limit access to your live streams.
- End-to-end encryption to ensure the secure transmission of video data, safeguarding your content from potential breaches or unauthorized access.
- Monetization paywalls for pay-per-view private streams and events, allowing you to generate revenue from your content while maintaining a secure environment for your viewers.
The best private live streaming platforms enable streamers to retain control of their stream’s appearance through customizable, white-label video players. This feature allows you to maintain your brand identity and create a unique, professional look for your live streams.
Customizability also extends to the ability to modify the layout, colors, and interactive elements of your video player, ensuring a seamless experience for your viewers that aligns with your brand’s aesthetic.
To cater to the most common use cases of private live streams, private streaming platforms should support the most popular monetization models, including:
- Pay-per-view streams
By offering a variety of monetization options, streaming platforms can help you generate revenue from your content in a way that suits your business model and audience preferences.
Additionally, eCommerce integration to facilitate merchandise sales can be an added bonus, providing another revenue stream and enhancing your brand’s presence.
Integrations and extensions
In addition to stellar self-hosted features, great private streaming platforms support integration with external platforms and services for the purpose of customization, the addition of features, and more. This can greatly enhance your live streaming experience and allow you to tailor your streams to your specific needs.
Some integrations and extensions to consider include:
- Multistreaming capabilities, enabling you to broadcast your content simultaneously on multiple platforms, such as Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitch, to reach a wider audience.
- Integrated chat functionality, allowing your viewers to interact with you and each other during the live stream, fostering engagement and community building.
- Interactive elements, such as polls, quizzes, or Q&A sessions, to create a more engaging and dynamic experience for your viewers.
These are some of the most essential elements that make a great live streaming platform. You may need more or less, depending on your individual requirements, but as a rule of thumb, it’s good to have these features built into your streaming solution.
Professional vs. free streaming services
When starting out as a content creator, it’s common to think of free platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitch for live streaming.
While these platforms work well for casual streaming, hosting private live streams requires more advanced features and control.
Professional streaming platforms offer numerous advantages over free streaming services, especially when it comes to privacy, security, customization, monetization, and integrations.
Here are some of the advantages of professional live streaming platforms as compared to free ones.
Privacy and security
Professional services often provide advanced privacy controls such as domain restrictions, password protection, and private sharing links. Additionally, they focus on end-to-end encryption and compliance with data protection regulations.
In contrast, free platforms may offer basic privacy settings like unlisted streams but generally lack advanced privacy controls, making them unsuitable for sensitive content or internal communications.
Professional services offer extensive customization options, including branded video players, UI customizations, and overlays, allowing you to create a unique, professional look for your live streams.
Free platforms provide limited customization options, and branding elements like platform logos or ads may be unavoidable, potentially detracting from your stream’s overall appearance and user experience.
Professional services support various monetization models, including pay-per-view, subscriptions, and ads, along with eCommerce integrations, providing you with multiple revenue generation options.
Free platforms may offer monetization features like ad revenue sharing, donations, or subscriptions, but they often take a cut of the revenue and may enforce platform-specific rules, limiting your control over your content’s monetization.
Integrations and extensions
Many professional services support the extension of their existing feature set through some level of API access or built-in third-party integrations, allowing you to tailor your live streaming experience to your specific needs.
Free solutions generally offer more limited extensions and integrations, potentially constraining your ability to customize your live streams or add additional features.
TL;DR? Here’s a short summary of the pros and cons of free and premium live streaming platforms:
|Feature||Professional streaming services||Free streaming services|
|Privacy & security||Advanced privacy controlsEnd-to-end encryptionData protection compliance||Basic privacy settingsLimited privacy controls|
|Customization||Extensive customization options (branded video players, UI, etc.)||Limited customization optionsUnavoidable branding elements|
|Monetization||Supports various monetization modelseCommerce integrations||Platform-specific monetization featuresRevenue sharing|
|Integrations & extensions||API accessBuilt-in third-party integrations||Limited extensions and integrations|
Choosing the right streaming service for your needs is essential, and understanding the differences between professional and free platforms can help guide your decision.
While free streaming services may work well for casual content creators, professional services offer the advanced features and control necessary for private live streams.
Top 6 private streaming platforms for 2023
As we’ve taken a look at the best characteristics and benefits of live streaming platforms, let’s now dive into the top 6 private streaming platforms. We’ll be comparing them based on their main features (with particular reference to privacy and security) and pricing.
These platforms have been carefully selected based on their ability to meet the needs of businesses, organizations, and individuals looking for secure, customizable, and reliable private live streaming solutions.
WpStream stands out as the best live streaming platform for offering private live streams in 2023.
This platform excels in providing a comprehensive set of features that align with the key characteristics of a good private streaming platform. Here is an idea of the main features of WpStream:
- WpStream supports private, password-protected, pay-per-view, and subscriber-only streams, enabling you to ensure that your stream content only reaches the intended audience.
- WpStream also uses HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), an adaptive bitrate streaming protocol that encrypts video data and protects against unauthorized access or content theft, and enables domain restriction of content through the use of Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS).
- The plugin supports all major monetization models, including pay-per-view, subscriptions, and donations. This makes the platform perfect for streaming ticketed live events or hosting conferences or webinars, as you can ensure that only paying viewers are able to access your stream content.
- Its integration with WooCommerce also allows you to manage your entire eCommerce and streaming ecosystem within a single platform.
- WpStream works seamlessly with WordPress, which enables streamers to easily extend and design their own live streaming website to meet their exact requirements. For example, you can integrate WpStream with membership plugins such as Ultimate Membership Pro or ARMember to offer members-only streams on your website.
- It also integrates with the most popular streaming software, including multistreaming tools, through custom RTMP connection. This enables you to easily extend the platform to add any extra functionality required for your private stream.
- As a white-label streaming service, WpStream grants you complete control over your stream appearance, enabling you to easily add and adjust branding, logos, overlays, and more. By streaming directly to your own WordPress website, you’ll also retain full control over your stream content, meaning you can broadcast exactly what you want with no fear of takedowns or intrusive adverts.
WpStream offers a range of flexible pricing plans based on the amount of streaming data, recording storage, and concurrent viewers and channels you require.
A free trial is available to test out all of the plugin’s features, or you can find the perfect plan for your requirements using the dedicated WpStream calculator.
2. Vimeo Livestream
Vimeo Livestream is a popular streaming platform that combines high-quality streaming capabilities with advanced privacy and customization features.
Here’s an overview of Vimeo Livestream’s features and pricing:
- Adaptive streaming, allowing users to broadcast in up to 1080p resolution.
- Password protection and domain-level privacy controls, which enable users to restrict access to their live streams.
- Customization options, enabling users to add custom logos, overlays, and colors to their streams.
- Multistreaming features, enabling simulcasting via RTMP or social media platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- Does not display ads, ensuring an uninterrupted and more enjoyable viewing experience for the audience.
- Engage with viewers via live Q&A, polls, and audience chat.
Vimeo offers two pricing plans that include live streaming capabilities:
- Vimeo Advanced – $75/month for all features listed above.
- Vimeo Enterprise – custom pricing based on an organization’s requirements. All Premium features are included, plus advanced privacy options (including SSO authentication and custom permissions).
3. IBM Cloud Video
IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream) is a powerful streaming platform designed for businesses and organizations, offering robust security features and global content delivery.
Here’s a look at IBM Cloud Video’s main features and pricing:
- Adaptive streaming, ensuring optimal viewing experiences across different devices and network conditions.
- Robust security features, such as password protection, domain restrictions, and encryption, ensuring that video content remains secure and accessible only to authorized users.
- Leverages a global content delivery network (CDN) to ensure fast and reliable video streaming across the world.
- Offers a range of integrations and APIs, allowing businesses to integrate video streaming into their existing systems and workflows.
- Users can customize the video player to match their branding and embed it on their websites or applications.
IBM Cloud Video offers scalable pricing plans depending on the number of viewer hours, storage, and channels users require. These plans start at $129/month.
Dacast is a versatile streaming platform that offers a wide range of features to support private live streaming, global content delivery, and monetization.
Here’s an overview of Dacast’s main features and pricing:
- Supports HD live streaming with low latency, ensuring high-quality and real-time video delivery.
- Integration with top-tier CDNs like Akamai and Limelight for global content delivery and optimal performance.
- Support for multiple monetization options such as pay-per-view, subscriptions, and advertising.
- Private live streaming features, including password protection, AES video encryption, video paywalls, secure video upload features, and domain/IP and referrer restrictions.
- Detailed analytics to track viewer engagement, video performance, and other relevant metrics.
Dacast’s scalable pricing plans start at $39/month for 1000GB of bandwidth, 50GB of storage, and basic features. For more advanced features, including monetization and a white-label video player, you’ll need to opt for one of the more expensive plans.
Kaltura is a comprehensive video platform that offers a wide range of tools and features for creating, managing, and delivering video content. Here’s an overview of Kaltura’s main features and pricing:
- Tools for recording, editing, and producing video content, including screen capture, webcam recording, and interactive video quizzes.
- Various video delivery options, including adaptive streaming, live streaming, and video on demand.
- Highly extensible, allowing for seamless integration with existing systems and tools through APIs, plugins, and extensions.
- Supports private live streaming by offering access control, authentication, and encryption features.
Kaltura offers variable pricing plans tailored to different needs, including education, enterprise, and media organizations. Interested clients can contact the Kaltura sales team for a custom quote based on their specific needs.
Wowza is a power-packed streaming platform that offers a range of different solutions to cater to various streaming needs. Wowza offers a range of different streaming solutions, including:
- A customizable media server software that enables users to build, deploy, and manage high-quality live and on-demand streaming solutions.
- A cloud-based streaming service that simplifies live video delivery by handling the entire workflow, including transcoding, distribution, and delivery.
- A hardware appliance designed to ensure reliable, broadcast-quality streaming to Facebook Live, YouTube, and other platforms.
- A content delivery network that enables fast and reliable video streaming with low latency and high-quality playback.
Wowza’s streaming solutions also come with built-in security options, including SSL/TLS encryption, token authentication, and geo-blocking.
Prices vary depending on the specific product or service selected – some pricing details are available on the Wowza website, while others require a bespoke quotation.
Stream privately with confidence using WpStream
Throughout this article, we’ve explored the numerous benefits of private live streaming, including its ability to provide privacy, security, content control, compliance, and customization for businesses, organizations, and individuals alike.
When choosing a private streaming platform, it’s important to consider the robustness of its privacy and security features, monetization options, customizability, and flexible support for integrations and extensions.
As we’ve seen, WpStream checks all of these boxes, making it an ideal choice for private live streaming in 2023.
With its comprehensive suite of features and tools, WpStream offers a versatile and secure solution for sharing content with a select audience, whether you’re looking to protect sensitive information, monetize your content, or create a personalized experience for your viewers!
If you’re ready to take your private live streaming to the next level, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial of WpStream and put the plugin to the test.
Alternatively, you can use the pricing calculator to explore which flexible pricing plan best meets your needs.
With WpStream on your side, you can embark on your streaming journey with the confidence that you’re using the best private live streaming platform on the market!