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Streaming
To build your recurring streaming viewership, you need to make sure that they can connect, and that the experience is familiar enough, so they learn what to expect.

Live Streaming: With Quality Content, Users Will Find Value

To do streaming well, you won’t require fancy cameras, audio, or lighting. All that helps for sure, but it does not trump content.

Streaming is putting your content into the hands of your interested audience, whether they are returning members, or first-time attendees.

Mobile devices have taken over in the last few years as the prime tools for watching video online.

The internet just happens to be where everyone is hanging out, so to deliver that content - you need to stream it! Don’t see this as a bad thing, and certainly not to where you are just ‘riding the bandwagon.’

Maybe these suggestions on the subject will spark some thought and discussion regarding your next events that you are planning, and about having them streamed.

Content is the key

It’s easy to understand why most people use the internet. They want to consume or share content.

With that, we’ve seen a huge rise in social media over the last decade. More answers are being cited as facts from Wikipedia. More files are also being shared through tools such as Dropbox, Drive, and iCloud.

When it comes to streaming, you are either doing so currently or are ready to start, because you have quality content. If people are coming to your church every week, your old-timers and newcomers will also want to stream it.

To do streaming well, you won’t require fancy cameras, audio, or lighting. All that helps for sure, but it does not trump content.

If you have the content, you have something compelling, that others will want to consume. You just need to put it out there and make it easily accessible to your users.

One way to improve your experience is to ensure you are streaming in HD. Not too long ago, 720p had been the longtime standard, with 1080i as its sister resolution that most churches seemed to adopt. More recently, 1080p has become more and more affordable and I see a lot of upgrades to that resolution.

You can start at a very good 720 bitrate, at 2.5-3Mbps. Or if you’re at 1080, running that at a 3.5-4Mbps bitrate. Be wary of unlimited streaming services, as they will manage the quality of your stream at the HD level. They will re-encode the stream coming in only, so they can control it better, and it will require less support on their end.

Be instead on the lookout for a service that does not re-encode your HD stream, and you’ll see a significant improvement in quality.

Understand your audience

Mobile devices have taken over in the last few years as the prime tools for watching video online.

According to some large streaming analytics companies, mobile has surpassed desktop computers as the most used device for streaming in 2017. Then in 2018, for every single PC that watched streamed content, two mobile devices watched. TV internet devices have also become very popular as a means to consume streamed content. They are now about a quarter of the devices used to watch video on the internet.

When designing your content or interactivity with the viewer, be sure to consider how it translates to each of these different types of devices. Design slides with not so much text, recognizing that it will be hard to read small text on smaller screens.

Utilize the analytics from your streaming provider to pinpoint where in the world they are tuning in from, how long they watch for on average, and even consider putting an online form up, so that you can gather some basic info.

Take advantage of lead gathering tools to learn about who’s watching and what they are wanting to see.

Most importantly, look for a provider that allows you to control each of these learning techniques and consider seeking tools that help you understand your viewer, so that you can, at the very least, provide them content that engages best with them.

Provide reliability and consistency

To build your recurring viewership, you need to make sure that they can connect, and that the experience is familiar enough, so they learn what to expect.

If the viewer experience result is one that leaves them often with stuttering or freezing video, or where it is not even available, it’ll be hard to retain a strong base of users.

While you can certainly recover from an occasional issue, the more issues that you encounter in your stream - the less viewers you’ll have.

Among the more frustrating challenges is while one viewer may not have a problem when streaming your content, another reports that they do. Such issues can be accounted for and remedied, with the help of a good streaming service and CDN.

Investing in a strong provider with a solid delivery network ensures a similar experience for each of your viewers. Diagnostic tools can be utilized to uncover unknown internet obstacles. Redundant avenues to send your stream and entry points to the server network can be used as well.

A wide-ranging network allows the least amount of internet travelled to ensure quick responses and the least amount of congestion. With consistency, your viewers can begin inviting others to watch your content and not feel embarrassed, or they can do what internet viewers do best … binge watch!

Simplify your life

Oftentimes, churches will request a system that their volunteers can manage without too much of a challenge. By adding streaming or using an outdated service, there could be twice the amount of actions you normally need to perform, like adding start/stop streaming, save a recording, embed a new player, send the content to two or three different social sites, trim a video, upload a file, and more.

There are many streaming providers to choose from, but perhaps if simplicity is a major factor toward your achieving success, then you should definitely consider a service provider that helps take all those steps mentioned before, for example, and turns them into one or two! It’s so easy to manage services like this these days.

Take advantage of streaming and wield this opportunity to help grow your membership and followers. Also, make sure to not miss out on engaging them in the places that they hang out.

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