What Is Multi Streaming and How Does It Work?

While live streaming has been around for over a decade, it is only now that it has become mainstream. Today, almost every social media platform supports live streaming. YouTube, Facebook, and even LinkedIn— all offer this service.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the growth of the online video market has been huge. There is perhaps a business today that hasn’t tried to reach out to its customers through platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In fact, the global live streaming revenue is estimated to be $184 million by the year 2027. 

Live streamers often struggle to keep up and stand out amidst this massive growth. After all, broadcasting on a single platform is just not enough today— by focusing only on YouTube or Facebook, you could lose millions of potential viewers.

Content creators often stream videos using a content delivery platform like Twitch, YouTube Live, or Facebook Live to broadcast their content to viewers. 

These streaming websites are free to use, and a creator can use as many of them as they want. The only problem is that they can’t stream simultaneously to all destinations. This is a huge setback for content creators, especially those who use live streaming for business.

Let’s say that a content creator wants to conduct a live question & answer session. As a matter of fact, such sessions make for engaging live content. Therefore, it is a good idea to live stream such content on every possible network.

But, the content creator will only be able to stream their live video on one network at a time. They can choose to do separate question & answer sessions for each platform or publish the recording of one session on all of their platforms. But that is time-consuming and not quite convenient. They have to either give up on their ability to reach out to all of their potential audience at once or invest a lot of extra time in making things happen in a more favorable way.

Multistreaming solves this problem. It works the same way as regular live streaming, but you are streaming to multiple content delivery channels at once. Instead of focusing solely on one network or setting up technology to use multiple networks at the same time, you can stream your content only once by simultaneously broadcasting it on multiple networks.

Multistreaming, Multicast and Live Multicasting— Can These Terms Be Used Interchangeably?

So, by now you know multistreaming is a boon for content creators. If you are a content creator and wish to live stream to your customers or fans from anywhere in the world, multistreaming is the answer.

Multistreaming, as discussed above, is exactly what it says. It facilitates simultaneous live streaming to multiple destinations and platforms. This means that you can have one live stream and reach viewers via your website, YouTube or Facebook.

Although the term is fairly self-explanatory, it can be confused with certain other terms like “Multicast” and “Live Multicasting.” These two technical terms are often used interchangeably with multistreaming. And the truth is that they are indeed similar!

Multicast allows data to be routed from one computer to multiple computers which are called recipients. Since this occurs at the network layer, you might not know about it if you are not a network administrator. Nonetheless, the idea behind multistreaming is the same as this one. That’s why people confuse the terms.

Live Multicasting, on the other hand, is the act of broadcasting live videos on multiple platforms such as Facebook or YouTube simultaneously. Multistreaming is essentially the same thing.

How Does Multistreaming Work?

There are two options for setting up a multistream. One is sending multiple streams from an encoder. The other is using a cloud-based service to send the streams. This is also referred to as restreaming.

  • Using encoders for multistreaming—

Depending upon the encoder available with you, it may be difficult or easy to use it. While hardware encoders have a higher reliability rating than software encoders, they come at the expense of complexity and cost. Multistreaming hardware encryption devices can be extremely pricey. Nonetheless, there are software encoders available these days for multistreaming. But then they might require a complicated configuration or add-ins.

If you have live-streamed before, even if for one channel, there’s a good chance that you already have an encoder. You can simply try to get this encoder configured for multistreaming. But then even if the configuration is successful, there are going to be problems for you. The most important problem is linked to bandwidth which needs to be sufficient to support multiple simultaneous streams. Otherwise, your viewers will have to watch poor-quality videos which might even end abruptly. Software encoders also have their own setbacks.

  • Using a cloud-based multistreaming service—

If you don’t want to worry about the bandwidth, your computer’s power, or your encoder’s configuration, then go for a cloud-based multistreaming service. It can make multistreaming a breeze for you. Such services allow you to live stream exactly as you would normally. The only difference is that you now send your stream to your service provider instead of your usual live streaming platforms. Your service provider will handle the task of multiplying and configuring each stream for each target platform before it’s sent.

The only downside is the additional cost. However, paying the fee gets you a straightforward setup in return. Not just that, you also get access to tools that allow you to interact directly with your audience, regardless of their platform.

Multistreaming: What Benefits To Reap From It

Live Streaming saw a 12 percent growth between 2018-2019 (on all platforms). Although this is an impressive figure, it is not as significant as the increase in live streaming this year. It increased by 45% between March-April and 99% year over year. While the pandemic and lockdowns are the main reasons for the steep rise, there is no doubt that live streaming would still have grown without the assistance of people confined to their homes doing nothing but fiddling with their mobile phones.

There isn’t one platform that hasn’t witnessed this growth. Although this can be interpreted in many ways, one thing is clear: people aren’t tied to any one platform. Audiences switch between Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and other platforms to keep themselves engaged. And that is why if you live stream only to one platform, you are risking a lot. It is difficult to tell if you will have the expected strength of audience on your chosen platform. So, it’s best to meet them where they are. Multistreaming is also great because you can choose where your video goes. With multistreaming, you can simply stop worrying about your audience switching platforms.

Redundancy is another important reason for multistream. You don’t have to stop streaming even if a platform develops issues. You just need to inform your audience about the glitch and tell them where else they can find the content— it’s easy to spread this message via social media or email. After that, all that your viewers need is to switch to the suggested platform. This way, you don’t risk losing your audience, and what could have become a catastrophe becomes proof of your flexibility and resilience.

Multi-streaming makes you censor-proof. And this is probably something you may not have considered. Generally, when a live stream is controversial, the site where you are live removes the content without prior notice. But sadly, this might happen even when your post is not controversial. This happens quite often on larger platforms that employ automated algorithms. While you can still inquire and appeal about the same, there is no point doing so as the concerned event is already gone.

That is why your live stream should always be available on your website. Your website can be viewed by anyone, regardless of their social networks. Your website is the best place for your audience to watch your streams. This will bring you other benefits too. Visitors will see your current stream and will recognize you by your website. You can also take this opportunity to entice your audience to scroll through the site once the live stream is over.

The more channels you are on, the more people will see you. Multistreaming, in addition to being more visible to new audiences, increases your chances of being discovered (think suggested videos on YouTube). Facebook favors live video content. This is great for creators, as well as companies, whose goals are always to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to their businesses.

Each social media platform has its own unique way of connecting with people from different demographics. YouTube is an example of a global video platform. It is ideal for reaching a diverse audience. Facebook is a social network that is designed to quickly share content (live video included) and can be used to reach local communities. Periscope works well for younger audiences. Vimeo offers more control over who can view your stream. So, you can get the best of each platform’s features with multistreaming.

Mogi’s Proprietary Video Tech

Mogi’s Video Tech solutions are available end-to-end (Video Transcoding + Video Player + Mogi Streaming Engine (Multi-CDN delivery) + DRM + Video Analytics) or you can use individual products from the entire suite like just the Video Transcoding. Mogi also provides white-label end-to-end plug n play solutions for OTT and Edtech Platforms, with Web, Android and iOS apps as well as a dedicated CMS for OTT and LMS for EdTech.

One of the best individual products we have is our Transcoding Architecture, which is a unique cluster-based process, does the transcoding within 30% of the content length. The transcoding architecture’s result includes a highly compressed video of up to 50% with no loss in quality, and if you choose quality enhancement, a 40% compression with the enhanced video quality.

The pricing for Transcoding is very competitive as well, and along with it you get a highly compressed output with the same or higher quality. This means not only is your contractual pricing is low due to competitive pricing, but your bandwidth consumption also reduces, and user experiences increase multifold. It’s a win-win for all of us (Users, Clients, Mogi).

Contact us now to make your website load faster, rank Higher on SEO, and reduce bounce rates – susheel.srinivas@mogiio.com

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