Live Streaming Services in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

Businesses and individuals use internet live streaming services in Singapore for a variety of reasons. A top use is to broadcast an event, seminar, workshop, or even a news conference live to the online audience. These live event streaming services will vary from small one or two-camera productions all the way up to multi-camera production events. It will still be a one-man operation! Event Streaming Services offers video conferencing, slide and video presentations for global distribution. This is an outstanding way to keep everyone in the loop when travel funds are limited for a large and diverse group. This also benefits the client who desires to keep a tight rein on the item. The platform is perfectly suited for product launches. Viewers are taken through a step-by-step presentation on the product features and benefits in different types of multimedia. The online paper cuts costs from printing an overabundance of literature, the savings of this could be passed on to the consumer. Invitations to this sort of event could be open to the public or specific to certain audiences. With chat and question and answer sessions at the end of the presentation, this is an outstanding way to confirm that everyone is on the same page concerning the information provided. High-speed internet connections have made it possible to send and receive high-quality and high-definition two-way video signals between nearly any location on the planet. This has become an everyday reality for some and soon to be a reality for others.

What is a live streaming service?

A live stream is a one-way transmission where the users can only view and/or listen to the content, but this is beneficial because it requires less bandwidth on the client’s end. With faster internet connections and the demand for faster and more efficient ways to consume information, live streaming has seen a steady growth in usage over the past few years. Live audio streaming is often done over the internet using a PC and is usually interactive, with the user able to listen to radio-like content and can sometimes speak with the host using chat. This mode of communication has proven to be popular with gamers who can broadcast audio commentary of themselves in online games.

Live streaming refers to the continuous transmission of video or audio content from a source to a client, where the clients can view the content in real time without having to download any files. The content, be it video or audio, is displayed as soon as the data is received by the client. This is in contrast to the video-on-demand services like catch-up TV, where the user can download content to watch at their leisure as these services require the person to download the entire file before the content can be viewed.

Benefits of using a live streaming service provider

Finally, an extremely important factor that should not be overlooked is the reliability of service. Stepping into webcasting can be daunting enough as it is and there are many variables to consider. Using many of the platforms mentioned earlier has you assuming a lot of responsibility in handling the variables of your broadcast. Live stream service providers let you off the hook with features such as guaranteed uptime and technical support.

At all levels using live streaming service providers, they reduce the time and effort required to get the job done by providing the option to outsource. Most providers offer full production services that include all facets of implementation from marketing and booking of venue, to production, encoding, and distribution. There are also many other providers that specialize in outsourcing particular production roles allowing you to easily find seasoned veterans without the obligation to hiring them onto your team.

First and foremost, one of the most important reasons for using a live streaming service provider is the quality of service. With all the platforms we have discussed, you are in essence providing self-service streaming. This means that the learning curve in order to effectively execute a stream of acceptable standard is quite steep and for a first-time user, difficult to achieve. If you do not already have the necessary equipment for a good webcast, it then becomes an even bigger investment to develop this internally on your own.

When webcasting an event, you can decide to stream your services. To determine whether or not this is the right decision for you, the purpose of this article is to help you understand some of the benefits of using a live streaming service provider, over and above what you gain from the platforms we have described in previous blog posts. For example, Ustream, Justin.tv, Brightcove, Livestream, or Stickam.

Overview of the streaming services industry in Singapore

On September 2016, The Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore has granted the rights to the sixth pay-TV operator, Mediacorp, to be the exclusive broadcast rights to all the contents of the national football teams and Asian qualification matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup, to be shown through its streaming service over the next four years. This would be a boost for the local live streaming provider to compete in the global market by increasing the quality of their recent service.

Twitch.tv and Dailymotion are the two major players in the live streaming industry. Calling itself the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers, Twitch.tv has successfully generated over 100,000 views at all times and creating an average of 6 million hours of video content per month. Twitch has extended its service to music, talk shows, and recently controversially into social eating where streamers eat in front of the camera to entertain viewers. Dailymotion, a rival of YouTube, has established a global live streaming platform where users can access their live or video content in over 180 countries. With the current trend of users wanting to watch a video rather than reading an article, more and more live content was created from the major events of these two countries, which will benefit Dailymotion in the global market.

An online statistics shows that the live streaming service is on its hike as millions of viewers around the world are watching live streaming, generating billions of views. Live streaming service has become a trend in Singapore as there are many major events happening every week, and not forgetting, many are into online gaming where they live stream their game. With that, live streaming service is contributing a significant portion of revenue in the media entertainment industry.

Choosing the Right Live Streaming Service Provider

When choosing a live streaming service provider, you should first think about the purpose of your event and the target audience. This is important because any marketing effort must be integrated with the overall plan for the event itself. You should also determine the size and scope of the event. An intimate meeting of shareholders is entirely different from a large, public event. Live streaming can be either public or private, and the public event will have more complex production requirements. With the myriad live streaming providers and technologies, it’s a challenging and changing landscape. Consulting with peers who have recently done similar events can be very helpful. Additionally, it is always good to talk with a sales engineer from the various providers to get an overview of best practices and typical workflows to construct a solution. If you are considering an integrated audio/web/video conferencing platform, be sure to choose a provider that can grow with you as you expand into streaming, without the need to change conference platforms.

Factors to consider when selecting a provider

Though most providers should provide the bare minimum of 95% uptime, most do not actually make this information available to the public. One way to gauge the reliability of a service is to take a look at the service level agreement (SLA) of a provider. The SLA will likely indicate uptime percentages and provide a little more assurance to the reliability of the service. Customer support – the level of customer support offered for each service provider usually correlates with the pricing of the service.

Live streaming service providers come in different forms and sizes. As the industry is still relatively nascent, one should expect a fair bit of disparity in terms of features and price between different service providers. These are the major factors one should consider when deciding to go with a specific provider. Uptime reliability – this is the single most important factor when considering a service provider for any form of online broadcasting. Uptime simply means the percentage of time the service is available versus it being down for maintenance or due to unforeseen circumstances.

Comparison of popular live streaming service providers in Singapore

Ustream is a well-known video streaming service provider that offers a variety of services. Ustream provides easy-to-use channel creation and live event broadcasting. A major advantage of Ustream is their mobile phone streaming service that allows users to stream from their mobile devices wherever they are. This can be an interesting tool for impromptu live casts. However, the prices for Ustream are quite high. Their pro service that offers all the features one would need for a professional live cast is priced at $99 per month. On top of that, their website is cluttered with self-advertising and the free service is plagued with 30-second ad rolls that can turn away potential viewers.

This section offers a detailed comparison on the features and reliability of various live streaming services available in Singapore. Each of these service providers is established in Singapore and has servers located in Singapore. Servers located in Singapore are optimal as they reach out to the local target audience, providing a higher quality stream and allow easy communication with the service provider should any problems arise. (Note: Prices stated are accurate at the time of research and are in US currency)

Pricing models and packages offered by providers

Unlike other media methods of delivery such as presentation, the simulcast of content through the net demands a higher level of engagement on the part of the viewer. Because of the differences in connectivity, hardware, software, and general familiarity with the net, there will be varying levels of quality in live streaming. Given this, it is important to consider that there are different types of live streaming, and that the goal of your live stream may determine the type of service or provider you use to deliver your content. Considering the different prices offered by many different service providers, it is important to make an informed decision on what type of service will best meet your live streaming needs. Live streaming can be split into two main types: social to peer streaming and professional streaming. Social to peer streaming is free for the viewer and usually free for the provider. An example of this would be a student who live streams game play with friends. This type of streaming is usually done through free platforms such as Twitch.tv and is supplied by a content delivery network (explained further below). Viewers are not paying for a quality service, so free platforms tend to be a good option for this type of streaming. Professional live streaming is a high-quality premium service aimed at delivering content to paying customers. Given the services intend to work, this type of streaming will often require the use of a professional platform and professional assistance with the setup of the live stream. This guide will more closely match those seeking professional live streaming services to the providers who offer them.

Features and Capabilities of Live Streaming Services

There are many features and capabilities provided by each live streaming service that are unique to that particular service. These may include the ability for the audience to interact with the content creators or amongst themselves via a chat interface. This can be taken further with methods for the content creator to poll the audience, play games with them or carry on Q&A sessions. Other features include the ability for content creators to save their content for later viewing by others. This is useful as it allows the creator to record his content and use it for video on demand. Many of the monetization options provided by a live streaming service can benefit both the content creator and the service provider. An inbuilt paywall can be utilized to restrict content to users who have made a payment, or a series of micro payments, these can take the form of pay per view, or pay for a certain event within the stream e.g. a tournament. An advertisement system can also bring revenue, usually these will result in a cut of the advertisement earnings being given to the content creator. Finally, some newer methods of monetization which can benefit both parties involve a system where the stream’s viewers will mine cryptocurrency for the content creator, or alternatively a system where the viewer’s computer is used to mine cryptocurrency with a portion of earnings being given to the creator.

Video quality and resolution options

Higher quality video settings are most beneficial to viewers who have faster internet connections. Video quality is typically adjustable by the viewer depending on their internet connection speed or the quality of their computing device. Adjustable video quality is useful because it prevents buffering or stuttering for viewers on slower connections. They can simply watch the stream at a lower quality setting if their connection isn’t fast enough to handle higher quality options. This can be handled using different techniques. For example, Live Transcoder from Red5 Pro automatically adjusts the bitrate of a stream in real time to ensure smooth playback at the best possible quality. This is different to adaptive bitrate streaming from Wowza, which uses multiple copies of a stream encoded at different quality levels. Viewers can switch between the different stream options during playback.

The video quality and resolution options offered by live streaming services vary widely. Some provide very high quality options, while others are much more limited. Most live streaming services focus on providing video that is comparable to standard definition television at around 800×600 pixels, which provides good quality video and consumes less bandwidth. Some live streaming services also offer high definition video quality. Viewing a high definition stream requires a faster internet connection and more computing power, but the picture quality is noticeably better. High definition video typically ranges from 720p up to 1080p (1920×1080 pixels).

Interactive features for audience engagement

There are a number of live streaming services that offer interactivity as a feature, like Ustream, Livestream, Facebook, and YouTube Live. Most of these platforms offer a variety of features to increase interactivity, like Q&A sessions or polls, and they are generally quite similar in nature. However, there are a handful of more unique platforms aimed at achieving a higher level of interactivity. Fishbowl is a mobile streaming app that allows users to broadcast live and engage their audience through a “live Q&A” type interaction, using both video and voice in real time. Crowdcast is another platform that allows for live Q&A and interview sessions, and provides a “talkshow” type feature where users can invite an audience onto a virtual stage for a discussion. Another notable streaming platform unique in its approach to interactivity is Be.Live, which is a web-based service that offers a more TV studio production type feel. Be.Live allows for multiple hosts to appear and broadcast in the same live stream, and has a more traditional visual editor for on-screen display of interactive content and promotions, providing what they call a more “personalized” and “dynamic” live streaming experience.

Monetization options for content creators

Live streaming services provide a platform for creators to earn revenue through their content. Twitch, a live streaming platform dedicated to gamers, offers the popular partnership program. This allows partnered streamers to enable special features on their stream, such as subscriber-only mode, where the chat is only able to be used by the streamer’s subscribers. The key appeal of the partnership program is that partnered streamers receive a cut of the advertising revenue from their page. Twitch offers a 50/50 split with their partnered streamers, unlike YouTube, who usually offer a 55% cut to their video content creators. This has led to some YouTube content creators with large gaming audiences to start using Twitch as an alternative.

We all know content creation takes time, effort, and money. Sometimes, seeing our work come to life in video form rather than written content is rewarding, for you and your viewers. For talented content creators, offering them an additional platform to monetize their work can be very appealing. Whether you’re a skilled gamer looking to broadcast your gameplay or an artist wishing to do a live art demonstration, being able to monetize your content can be the difference between a hobby and a career.

Best Practices for Successful Live Streaming in Singapore

The key to a successful live stream is careful planning and promotion. As these efforts will determine the success of the actual broadcast. Not only are you trying to generate an audience for the live stream, but you are also attempting to direct viewers to a scheduled event, a task not easily accomplished on the Internet. If your live stream is just a small part of a larger event, you might just use word of mouth and a holding page. However, if you are trying to create a large event in its own right, you will need to start promotion weeks or even months in advance to create the necessary anticipation. Ideally, start by identifying your target audience, and tailoring a message specifically for them. This message should explain why this audience should watch your live stream, while catering to their specific interests. A fan of electronic music, for example, would be drawn to a live stream of a DJ set, while an avid gamer would be more interested in a live stream of a gaming competition. Once you have got your message across, you will need to carefully plan the timing of the live stream. Considering the time zone of your target audience, as well as competing with other events that might draw viewers away.

Planning and promoting your live stream

When promoting in Singapore, or other countries which are in different time zones, be sure to mention the local time that your stream will start. You may have an international audience, but you want to make it easy for your Singapore audience to attend. They are more likely to attend ‘if they remember’ or ‘if they are free at that time’. To cater to this crowd, you may consider an additional off-hours repeat of the event specially for the overseas audience. This depends on whether your content is worth the extra effort, but in some cases, a higher concentration of overseas viewers could justify it. Be sure to mention time zone information for the repeat event too.

Your live streaming event starts long before you go “on air”. Without proper promotion, you can’t expect a high viewer turnout – if you’re streaming for business, a dismal viewer turnout won’t justify the time and money spent. Do not plan to promote your event only the day before, either. Just like promoting a live, physical event, promoting well in advance is the key to the high viewer turnout. It’s not uncommon to have 25% of your viewers from pre-event promotion. This means if you want 100 viewers, you should aim to reach 400 people with your promotion effort.

Technical considerations for a smooth streaming experience

For smooth streaming experience, we need to have high speed, consistent and stable internet connection. With the audience in mind, it is better to have higher bandwidth, high upload speed and server efficiency as viewers are interested in the video, will quickly leave if the video does not buffer or with frequent pauses. Websites with free hosting or shared hosting might not work, it cause a lot of buffering or the worst case the video won’t even load. Consider premium paid hosting for streaming service. A smooth streaming experience can keep your viewers and potentially increase viewers over time. A server in Singapore is also highly recommended if your target audience is Singapore. Usually, a dedicated server would be the best choice, because it can serve a large amount of people at the same time without any speed reduction. It is also more secure, private and reliable compared to shared hosting. When using a dedicated server, sometimes the server company will include a server control panel where you can manage your server more easily with web-based interface. This is very useful for people who are not familiar with Linux command lines. On the other hand, a shared hosting is easier to maintain in terms of server management, but does not perform as well as a dedicated server. Dedicated server and its control panel cost around $200-$400 per month and shared hosting cost around $10-20 per month. You may search for local server hosting companies in Singapore for various packages.

Engaging with your audience during the live stream

Incorporating viewer participation is another excellent way to engage your audience. Viewers often enjoy feeling involved in channels that they actively watch. Some examples of viewer participation are Q&A sessions, polls/surveys, and using viewer suggestions as ideas for topics to discuss during your stream. Involving your viewers can benefit both parties. Viewer feedback can help you self-improve by giving you an idea of what you are doing right and what you could potentially change. Lastly, using a face cam instead of only streaming your gameplay can help you interact with your audience more effectively. When you have your face cam on, viewers can see your reactions and body language as you talk. This can make your conversations with viewers seem more personal and effective. They can see that you are speaking to them and only them, smile when you are happy, get serious when you are discussing an important topic, and so on. This can be more difficult when you are only using a microphone.

First of all, you should always interact directly with your audience in real-time. This means looking at the camera and talking to your viewers as though you were sharing a conversation with a friend. Call your viewers by their names when you respond to their comments, questions, and feedback. This is a great way to make your viewers feel acknowledged and appreciated. Also, asking your audience their opinions and thoughts on the topics that you are discussing definitely helps to engage them. You should always be responding to their comments and questions. Make sure that you have a moderator to help manage your chat if it’s typically very active.

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