As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.
In the world of event planning, adding an online component to events is a smart move. Event live streaming is one of the easiest ways to expand your gathering's reach and accessibility, all while bringing the fun and excitement of in-person events to people who might not have been able to attend your event otherwise.
With the increasing demand for hybrid events, live streaming has become an essential tool for event planners looking to stay competitive, collect more data, engage attendees, and reach a wider audience. If you are in the market for a new (or different) event streaming platform, read on to explore tools you can use to live stream your event!
Table of Contents
- What is event streaming?
- Choosing a live event streaming tool
- Paid event streaming platforms
- Free event streaming platforms
- Hybrid event learning resources
What is event streaming?
Event streaming is the act of broadcasting your live events, performances, and presentations in real time over the internet. This is usually accomplished by using an event live-streaming software platform, which allows event organizers to stream their events to a global audience. This provides remove viewers with an immersive experience that simulates being present at the live event.
What are live streaming platforms?
Live streaming platforms typically provide features such as video and audio, real-time chat, interactive elements like polling and gamification, and the ability to view the live stream on multiple devices and platforms.
Event live-streaming platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more events have moved online for added attendee flexibility. These platforms have enabled event organizers to reach and engage with a larger, more diverse audience.
If you have a live event coming up, consider streaming at least a portion of it. This will increase your event’s reach and engage new attendees. You might even inspire some of your virtual attendees to register for the live experience in the future! The best part is that there are plenty of free live-streaming platforms to browse (keep reading below!)
How to Live Stream an Event
Paying for an event live streaming software can be worth the investment if your budget allows for it, but there are many free options to consider as well. To help you decide between free and paid software options, consider the following:
1. Determine the video and audio quality you want.
Paid live streaming software often offers higher quality streaming, with better video and audio quality and less lag. This can result in a more professional and engaging viewing experience for your audience. Free event live-streaming software often offers lower-quality video and audio, but it can still be valuable, especially for casual interactions like Q&As.
2. Consider how much customization you need.
Paid live streaming software often offers more options for customization, such as the ability to brand your stream with your organization’s logos, colors, and graphics.
3. Decide if you need multi-streaming capabilities.
Paid live streaming often offers more advanced features such as the ability to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. Some free platforms (like Restream) offer this, but capabilities may be limited.
4. Explore the gamification features you want.
Some apps and platforms let you add interactive features such as polls and live chats. This can help you to create a more engaging and immersive experience for your audience. Free software does not always offer these custom options.
5. Think about the technical support you need.
Paid live streaming software often comes with dedicated support, which can be invaluable in the event of unexpected technical issues or other problems. Additionally, paid software is often more reliable with fewer glitches and downtime, which can help to ensure that your event runs smoothly. Free software may come with limited technical support.
6. Determine the level of analytics your team requires.
Paid live streaming software often includes additional features such as analytics and reporting, which can provide valuable insights into your audience and help you to improve future events. Free software may provide limited reporting and analytics capabilities.
7. Take professionalism into account.
Using paid live streaming software can help convey a sense of professionalism and credibility to your audience, which can be especially important for business conferences, webinars, or live performances. Some paid platforms also offer accessibility tools like closed captioning, which helps event planners cater to attendees with differing needs.
Overall, paying for live streaming services for your event can be a worthwhile investment if you want to provide a high-quality, engaging, and professional online experience for your audience. However, it is important to carefully evaluate your options and choose software that meets your specific needs and budget. Free event live-streaming apps can be just as useful for honest, casual, and approachable attendee events.
Paid Live Event Streaming Services
Paid event live streaming services may be a great option for your event, but the number of options available can feel overwhelming. Read on to find a curated list of event streaming platforms for your team to consider.
BigMarker is a hybrid event platform that helps event planners organize sessions, speakers, and exhibitors in one place—an easy tool for creating digital touchpoints that engage both in-person and virtual attendees. Use BigMarker to engage your virtual audience with live streamed content, networking, gamification, and exhibitor experiences.
- Software Highlight: BigMarker's mobile event app lets both virtual and in-person attendees participate in live Q&As or Ask-Me-Anythings (AMAs). Invite everyone to upvote questions to give moderators a list of questions to answer in real time.
Brightcove empowers planners to deliver flawless video at any scale, from niche trade shows to global meetings. Combine live video and ad-supported content into one continuous stream—an easy way to transform your video stream into a revenue stream! Grab your audience’s attention with interactive features and the ability to stream live to social media channels.
- Software Highlight: Get insights in real time, like how many viewers you have at any given moment. Then, when your event is over, generate a full report that provides aggregated data on viewer stream times, devices used, channel performance, and more.
Eventtia provides event organizers with studio-quality streaming for virtual and hybrid events. A virtual broadcasting studio lets your team create professional live streams that immerse attendees in engaging experiences, no matter where they participate from. You can even make the experience more unique by “branding” your virtual stage with your brand colors and logo.
- Software Highlight: Eventtia’s planning platform has the power to integrate with other streaming apps like Zoom, YouTube, Google Meets, and Streamyard.
Kaltura has everything you need to launch and manage your event’s live stream. Kaltura’s 4K streaming is perfect whether you’re streaming live, pre-recording, or offering on-demand content. You can also use Kaltura to handle attendee registration, provide engagement activities, and personalize event agendas. Preset templates and custom options also come in handy to ensure every event feels on-brand.
- Software Highlight: Kaltura’s real-time data and post-event analytics help your team keep track of streaming quality, attendee participation, and more so you can adjust for future events.
Vimeo is a platform that provides planners with ad-free, high-definition, adaptive streaming for their events. This option is flexible, as you can go live from your mobile device, desktop, or Application Programming Interface (API). You can also customize your stream with your logo, add on-screen graphics, host moderated Q&As, launch polls, and engage your audience in chats.
- Software Highlight: For advanced event live streaming, use Vimeo’s Livestream Studio to switch between feeds, mix audio, and more. This is a great option for events that require multiple streams at once.
Free Live Streaming Tools and Software for Events
If you’re contending with a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to livestream your event (or portions of your event) for free. The following platforms are great for reaching a wider audience while also maximizing spending. It’s important to note that these apps may come with certain limitations such as a maximum streaming time or a limited number of guest interviewees.
You also may need to purchase additional equipment or services to enhance the quality of your stream, such as a professional camera, lighting, or a dedicated encoder. These options are best for casual productions like Q&As, meet and greets, demonstrations, behind-the-scenes looks, and more.
Facebook Live is a free platform that allows you to stream videos to your Facebook followers and others using a mobile device or a computer. During the live broadcast, event organizers can interact with viewers by responding to their comments and questions.
After the live broadcast is over, the video will be saved to your Facebook Page, where your followers can watch it again or share it with others.
- Software Highlight: Facebook Live is a great way to reach a wide audience and engage with your followers in real time, making it a popular choice for Q&A sessions, demonstrations, and more. Read this list of best practices for broadcasting on Facebook Live for more tips.
For avid Instagram users, Instagram Live is a great option for streaming an event to followers in real time. All you need is a mobile device, an Instagram account, and a following on the platform. Then, start a live video by swiping right from your home screen or by tapping on the camera icon in the top left corner of the app. Select the "Live" option and start broadcasting to your followers.
There are many benefits of using Instagram Live, from real-time engagement with viewers to attracting new followers, reaching a larger audience, and more. Overall, Instagram Live can be used for various types of events, such as product launches, Q&A sessions, interviews, or behind-the-scenes looks.
- Software Highlight: After the live video is over, you can save it to your Instagram Stories, where it will be available for 24 hours or more if it’s added as a highlight. You can also download the video and repurpose it for other social media channels or platforms.
Restream is a platform that helps you grow your event’s audience. Multi-streaming capabilities let you use a single stream that connects to multiple “destinations” like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, etc. You can also share your virtual stage with guests, a great option when hosting talk shows, interviews, Q&As, campfire chats, and more.
Restream’s free option provides you with one user, six on-screen guests, branding elements, multi-channel chat, and two streaming channels. There are also paid options that range from $190 to $490 a year, making it a cost-effective option for event planners on a budget.
- Software Highlight: Restream is natively integrated into top streaming software, including OBS Studio, SLOBS, Elgato, XSplit, and many others.
Streamlabs is a free platform that allows you to stream your event to a global audience. You can use a computer or a mobile device to stream in real time. Just create a Streamlabs account, download the software, and you’re good to go.
Streamlabs allows live streamers and content creators to engage with viewers, monetize broadcasts, and grow their channels. This is a good option for online events since you can use Streamlab’s “Collab Cam” feature to invite guests onto your stream.
- Software Feature: Streamlabs helps your stream look awesome with hundreds of free, professionally-designed overlay themes to fit your personality and brand.
StreamYard is a versatile live streaming platform and recording studio that event professionals can use for interviewing guests, branding your broadcasts, and much more. StreamYard’s free option has streaming limits, but still features all core studio features and 6 on-screen participants.
We love StreamYard because it’s incredibly easy to “brand” the experience with little-to-no design knowledge needed. Make your event feel unique by adding your logo, brand colors and overlays. You can even upload images, GIFs, and videos for added value.
- Software Feature: StreamYard makes it easy to simultaneously stream to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, and other platforms.
TikTok Live is a free streaming feature for TikTok users. However, it’s important to note that not all users can access the feature immediately, as there are certain requirements that need to be met first. For instance, you need to have at least 1,000 followers. Apply for access to TikTok Live by going to your profile, tapping the plus sign on the bottom of the screen, and selecting "Live" from the options.
While TikTok Live is a fun and creative way to engage with your TikTok followers, it is better used to live stream informal events like Q&As, challenges, and live performances. It can also only be used on mobile devices.
- Software Feature: TikTok Live allows you to be creative with your content and engage your audience in new and exciting ways. You can use filters, effects, and other features to make your live video more engaging and fun.
Twitch is a free platform that is most known for live streaming video games, but it can also be used to stream other types of events such as concerts, talk shows, and podcasts. Users can broadcast their events live and interact with audience members in real time.
During your stream, you can interact with viewers using Twitch's chat feature. This is an easy way for event organizers to answer questions, respond to comments, and engage with their audience. You can also customize your stream by adding overlays, graphics, and sound effects, making it more engaging and entertaining for eventgoers.
- Software Feature: Twitch offers several features to help you promote your event. Try hosting other streamers, creating highlights, and sharing your stream on social media.
YouTube Live is a free platform that allows creators to live stream events to an unlimited audience. Whether you’re teaching a seminar, putting on a workshop, or hosting a Q&A, YouTube has tools that will help manage your live stream and keep audiences engaged.
If your audience has subscribed to your channel, previously engaged with your content, or interacted with content like yours, your Live videos and streams may display on their YouTube feeds.
- Software Feature: YouTube offers live chat moderation tools to help prevent harassment and make every audience member feel welcome.
Zoom is a free platform that allows you to host virtual meetings, webinars, and events with up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. During your event, you can share your screen, host a Q&A session, and enable chat for your attendees to interact with you and each other. You can also record your event and share it later for those who missed it or want to watch it again.
It is important to note that if you want to live stream an event on Zoom, you may need to upgrade to a paid account as some live streaming features are not available on the free plan. Additionally, you will need a reliable internet connection and a good-quality camera and microphone to ensure that your event is smooth and professional.
- Software Feature: Zoom helps improve attendee engagement through virtual backgrounds, breakout rooms, and polls. You can also customize your event with your organization's branding and logo for a more professional feel.
What live-streaming services for events do you recommend? Leave a comment below to let us know!
Hybrid Event Resources to Level Up Your Game
Most event planners would agree that hybrid events can be tricky. While everyone wants a memorable event experience, the truth is that virtual and on-site attendees have different needs and requirements. What's even more difficult is finding a combination of solutions that keeps everyone happy.
While it's true that hybrid meetings take a bit of extra planning, the right strategies can help you plan an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Use the following resources and strategies to get every attendee excited to participate:
- Brush up on your event technology basics. This Event Technology 101 article includes a great list of top digital tools to make your event a success.
- Amp up attendee engagement levels. This list of audience engagement tools will leave your attendees wanting to speak up, meet one another, and participate.
- Investigate more technology solutions. This list of event check-in apps will help make registration a breeze. We’ve included free and paid options for your convenience.
- Stock up on must-have event supplies. From custom event badges to eye-catching lanyards, badge ribbons, registration supplies, and branded gifts, pc/nametag has all the hybrid event supplies you need for an amazing experience.