The Best Livestream Platforms for Live and Virtual Events

Choosing a livestream event platform can be challenging. This article helps you cut through the noise and choose the right platform for your live, virtual, or hybrid event.

Finding the right livestream platform for your live event can be challenging. There are a lot of livestream solutions on the market and many articles listing the best ones for your business. In this article, we take a slightly different approach by discussing the best livestream platforms for your specific needs. Our list includes the best white label, multichannel, open-source, video hosting, and educational livestream platforms. We’ll help you cut through the noise and learn about the right platform for your business.

We’ll start with a brief overview of livestreaming, how it can benefit your live event, and what you should look for in a livestreaming or virtual event platform.

What to Consider When Choosing a Livestreaming Platform

A good livestream platform should include video hosting, content management, embedding, monetization, and analytics tools. It should also provide smooth integration with social media platforms and business software tools. Although each solution has advantages and features, there are a few key points to consider when looking for a livestream platform.

Pricing

Live streaming platforms use a variety of different pricing models. Some platforms offer a pay-as-you-go pricing model, while others use subscription models. Here are a few factors to consider when looking at pricing:

  1. How often you livestream
    Are you planning to do one event annually, or will you go live every day or every week? Pay-as-you-go pricing may work better for single or infrequent events, while subscription plans can be cheaper if you frequently stream video. 
  2. Number of concurrent viewers and hours watched
    The number of concurrent viewers and the time each viewer spends watching your livestream can impact the amount of bandwidth you need.
  1. Functionality and streaming features

Consider how well the technical aspects of each platform fit or adapt to your needs and budget.  Some platforms offer all-in-one functionality or tiered pricing/feature bundles, while others offer as-needed features and capabilities, such as encoders.

  1. Customer support and Service Level Agreement (SLA)
    Customer support and service availability and quality are key factors for many live stream customers. Expect to pay more for 24/7 live support and 99%+ service levels.

Flexibility and Integration

If you plan to integrate your streaming platform into your existing systems, look for a platform, such as Sequel, that is highly flexible and customizable. Assess how well each platform you’re considering integrates with streaming and marketing tools or makes it easy to host videos on your website or landing pages 

Streaming Performance

Consider the level of streaming performance you require and whether you need features such as multistreaming, encrypted streams, or transcoding or encoding services. If you need consistent high-quality video, look at platforms that offer guaranteed performance levels and SLAs. Also, consider how well each platform performs on mobile devices.

Branding and Customization

Several live stream platforms allow you to add your branding, while others, especially free platforms such as Youtube, will insert their branding. If you’re looking for a fully branded experience, look for white-label solutions that let you fully customize the platform and live video stream with your branding logo, overlays, and templates.

Now that you understand the benefits and features of livestreaming platforms, let's talk about which platform is the best for your live event.

livestreaming platform Branding and Customization

Sequel: The Best White-Label Livestream Event Platform

Sequel provides a unique livestreaming solution for your live, virtual, or hybrid event that allows you to livestream your event from your website. Our white-label solution lets you customize your event’s branding with logos, custom color combinations, fonts, and more. Sequel features no-code integration - you can embed Sequel in your website with simple, no-hassle copy and paste integration for any platform and get started immediately.

Sequel provides everything you need to host and stream virtual and hybrid events. Host events on our Virtual and Hybrid Stage solutions and engage with your audience like never before. Audiences can engage with presenters and each other with interactive features such as reactions, breakout sessions, Q&As, chats, live polls, and more. 

Here’s a brief overview of Sequel’s advantages:

Improve Event Planning and Event Management

Create and manage your event with a single dashboard or REST APIs and stream high-quality live video to up to 2 million concurrent subscribers. Use customized event registration forms to get to know your audience ahead of time.

Drive Engagement with a Better Event Experience 

The Sequel Networking Hub lets you recreate the interaction and connection of in-person events with virtual networking circles, one-on-one chats, and group discussions. Embed features independently on your website or link them to the Sequel Virtual Stage to combat Zoom fatigue and drive pre and post-event engagement.

Host Events on the Virtual and Hybrid Stage

Produce high-quality content by hosting your livestream on Sequel’s Virtual or Hybrid Stage. Features include greenroom and backstage areas, HD quality video with sub-50ms latency, and use the Streamer app to connect with your audience from any device and in any location. Add external feeds to your event with SRT and RTMP protocols, and output them to social media platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch.

Maximize Post-Event Engagement

Get valuable audience and event insights with post-event analytics that measure and track audience participation and engagement. Record and host videos so participants can return and watch content they missed or want to see again.

Easy Third-Party Integration

Easily integrate streaming and marketing tools like Hubspot, Squarespace, Wix, or others to get even more out of your events.

Easy Third-Party Integration

Restream: The Best Livestreaming Platform for Multichannel Social Media Livestreams

Restream is a browser-based streaming platform that lets you multistream to more than 30 social networks like Facebook Live, Twitch, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Mixcloud. The platform provides a wide audience reach and allows viewers to watch livestreams on their preferred platforms or mobile apps. Restream’s features include:

In-browser Multistreaming

Restream’s key feature is an easy-to-use in-browser multistreaming platform.

Audience Engagement Features

Tools such as Restream Chat help build audience engagement.

Event Analytics

Restream Analytics lets you measure and analyze event and audience data.

Restream also supports peer-to-peer streaming and brand customization. The platform is most popular in the gaming, tech, government, sports, media, and music sectors.

Event Analytics

Kaltura: The Best Open Source Livestreaming Platform

Kaltura is an open-source, self-hosted video streaming platform that provides live streaming and on-demand video solutions. As an open-source platform, Kaltura is highly-customizable and supported by a community of over 16,000 developers. The Kaltura open-source software is free to use. Here are some of the platform’s key features:

Extensibility and Flexibility

Kaltura’s community of users and developers creates and shares a huge number of add–ons and integrations that make this a highly flexible and customizable platform.

Multi-bitrate and Adaptive Streaming

Kaltura provides a good experience for users with different connection speeds, devices, and capabilities.

Feature-Rich SaaS Platform

Kaltura doesn’t require software installation and features authentication and encryption options for security, live recording, and customizable templates.

The downside of Kaltura’s flexibility and capability is that the platform can have a steep learning curve and be confusing, especially for beginners or non-technical users. Support is also provided through a ticket-based system, which can be slow.

Feature-Rich SaaS Platform

Vimeo: The Best Livestreaming Platform with Video-hosting Features

With 1.7 million paid subscribers, Vimeo is best known for video hosting and provides livestreaming services. They offer multiple solutions and features to let you broadcast high-quality live and hosted videos. Vimeo offers some compelling features, such as:

Video Hosting Capabilities

Vimeo offers large storage capacity, the ability to upload video from anywhere, uptime guarantees and SLAs, and high-quality streaming as part of its video hosting services. 

Easy To Use

Vimeo’s interface is straightforward and easy to use, and the platform offers privacy controls and dedicated customer support to business customers.

Simulcasting

Vimeo lets you simulcast to social media, mobile apps, RTMP, and more.

Analytics

The Vimeo platform offers real-time user-level analytics on your livestream.

Vimeo’s integrated proprietary software and hardware make it easy to get started if you’re new to livestreaming. More advanced users may find Vimeo’s platform more limiting than other, more flexible platforms.

Panopto: The Best Livestream Platform for Educational Events

Panopto is a video asset management platform that provides livestream services to over 10 million universities and organizations worldwide. They provide powerful video content management capabilities to create, record, store, and broadcast live streams. Here are some of Panopto’s livestreaming features:

Record and Store Live Video

Panopto lets you record and store live videos so users can watch them again, making the platform ideal for educational events.

Lecture Capture and Video Search

Panopto’s platform offers easy-to-use software for capturing live lectures, video indexing, and a full-text search engine.

Integration with Learning Management Systems

Panopto has developed tools that integrate the platform with educational content and learning management systems.

Panopto focuses on the education market. Their solution allows organizations to create “internal YouTubes” to securely stream video content such as meetings, virtual conferences, and lectures.

Other Livestream Platforms to Consider

There are several other livestream platforms on the market. Here are a few that stand out:

Dacast

Dacast is an all-in-one streaming platform that offers CDNs, video monetization options, secure hosting, and analytics.

Brightcove

One of the oldest video streaming platforms, Brightcove offers good analytics and a suite of modular streaming tools.

IBM Cloud Video

Formerly Ustream, IBM Cloud Video offers an Enterprise Content Delivery Network that provides enterprise solutions for live event streaming, monetization, marketing, and more.

Social Media Video Livestreaming Platforms

Most of the major social media platforms offer livestreaming capabilities. The advantage of social media platforms such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Dailymotion, Instagram, Twitch, and TikTok is that they are free and can reach huge potential audiences. The disadvantages are that they usually have limited features, you can’t typically remove the social media platform’s branding, and your video will be competing with millions of others for attention. 

Because of their broad reach, social media platforms are a great way to build exposure and a following for your live video. You can combine livestreaming your event on social media with a livestream on your website to increase exposure, or you can use snippets from your livestream on your social channels to tease content and attract audiences to a landing page.

How to Choose the Right Livestream Platform

Still undecided about which livestream platform works best for you? Here’s a simple process you can follow to help you make your decision.

Step 1:  Set Your Live Streaming Goals

Start by mapping out what you hope to achieve by live streaming your event. Are you trying to reach a wider audience, or are most of your audience members unable or unwilling to attend a physical event? What problem or challenge is your event addressing? For example, are you trying to launch a new product or service to as many people as possible? Or are you providing a webinar to provide user training?

Step 2: Consider Your Audience

After you’ve set your goals for your live stream, look to your audience. Identify your ideal attendee and where they are located, and think about why they would be interested in watching your live stream. Consider whether your ideal audience would want networking opportunities or the ability to engage with presenters and other attendees during and after your event.

Step 3: Research the Marketplace

Finally, build a shortlist of livestream providers and what features you might need. Keeping in mind your goals and ideal audience, research which providers and features best match your needs. Also, look at what solutions your competitors and similar organizations use for live and virtual events, what format they’re using for their livestreams, and how they are marketing and monetizing their events. Then start contacting live streaming providers to discussion packages and pricing.

How Can Livestreaming Benefit Your Live Event?

In a nutshell, livestreaming lets your event reach a wider audience and increase engagement, improving your event ROI and helping grow your business. The potential size of your global audience is limited only by the capacity of your livestreaming platform. 

Audiences can get the full event experience whether they are at a physical event or participating in a virtual or hybrid event online. Attendees at physical events can access content that they might otherwise miss, and for virtual or hybrid events, attendees don’t have to be physically present at all. They can participate in the livestream wherever they are. Livestreaming also allows persons with disabilities or health concerns to participate in events they may not otherwise be able to attend. 

Build Audience Engagement

Let your audience have a real-time conversation with presenters and other attendees, ask questions during an event, participate in breakout sessions, and interact with other attendees. 

Reduce Live and Online Event Costs

Save money on catering, venue rental, and travel for in-person events, or choose a customizable livestream platform that lets you pay for only the features and audience size you need. 

Reuse Live Video Content

Keep audiences engaged with your brand by providing access to recorded content on your website, incorporating the recorded videos into your blog or marketing material, or sharing excerpts and highlights on social media.

Sequel: The Next Generation of Livestreaming

Sequel has all the features you need to stream high-quality events and deliver an on-brand experience. Schedule a demo today to see how easy it is to livestream your next live, virtual, or hybrid event.

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