Live Streaming Pros Outweigh So-Called "Cons"

Tom Meisfjord
04/05/2018 . 6 mins

You’ve considered dipping your toe in the glacier-fresh pool of live streaming. And yet, as you approach its majestic depths and observe its rhythmic waves of market penetration lapping at the dock that is, I don’t know, an ISP, you hesitate. You consider the possible downsides of a swim in untested digital waters. There are the seaweed beds of uncertainty. The pointy rocks of cost-benefit analysis. The candiru fish of pushing a metaphor too far.

The point is, like any responsible adult, you’ve probably been assessing the potential pros and cons of this new venture before jumping in head first. Maybe some of the possible negatives have left you wary. There are always a thousand reasons not to do something.

Now, here are the reasons not “not-to” live stream.

live stream disappears

“The Live Stream Disappears When It’s Over”

Not really. Most of the major platforms, including Facebook Live and YouTube Live, let people rewatch your content for as long as you leave it posted. Periscope also lets you keep your videos around if you modify the settings.

It’s true, though, that some sites and apps delete a video the minute it stops streaming, and yes, it’s sad that you can’t unmelt a snowflake. But losing the content doesn’t have to be a negative. It’s a whole new approach to content marketing – worldwide, event-based content creation that vanishes when it’s done.

It’s like a digital concert. You just had to be there, man. The secret is taking the opportunity to create something unmissable and making the most of FOMO marketing tactics.

live streaming fail

“I Might Mess Up During the Live Broadcast”

Of course there’s the potential to mess up in humongous ways when you’re broadcasting live content. Heck, that’s half the appeal of most live programming to begin with: No take-backs. When things go wrong, they can go wrong big, and there’s no way to edit them out.

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But darn it, if that isn’t half the draw.

It’s an undeniable fact that people tune in hoping for chaos. Nascar would need way smaller stadiums if the cars never crashed, and the potential for pope-ripping cataclysm is what keeps people watching Saturday Night Live during their off-seasons. Ride that wave. Create that spectacle. Keep a tight leash on production, but be open to the idea that a mishap isn’t the worst thing to happen to a live stream, and, it might actually produce a more entertaining piece of content!

investment in live streaming

“The Initial Investment in Live Streaming is Too Great”

One aspect of video production that seems to keep people convinced that it’s out of reach is the cost of getting started. It’s not just the financial commitment, it’s also the time and energy it takes to learn a new skill set. Luckily, neither of those are as pricey as they used to be.

Chances are you own a camera that’s nicer than what anyone short of a professional videographer had, ten years ago. Smart phones also keep one-upping each other in the digital filmmaking arena. There are other pieces of equipment you’ll probably want to look at, like microphones and lighting, but those have become more and more accessible over the years as well.

And when it comes to learning how to make something that isn’t trash, you’re in extra luck. Video editing can be done from a phone or a tablet, and learning how to rock these already user-friendly apps is as easy as looking up a YouTube video. It’s like plugging into the Matrix. Five minutes later, boom. You suddenly know digital cinema kung fu.

legal live streaming

This one comes up a lot, and I have trouble wrapping my head around it. People seem pretty concerned about the possibility of copyright infringement in a live video stream. Specifically, what if a piece of legally protected music plays during the broadcast? Or a clip of a movie? What if now defunct Houston Astros mascot Junction Jack makes a surprise visit to the office right as the video goes live?

To these scenarios, I, after careful reflection, reply with the following:

Think before you act.

Curt? Maybe. But it’s a simple problem that gets blown out of proportion. You wouldn’t blast all of Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” during a pre-taped advertisement, so why would you do it here? It’s a matter of controlling what you’re putting out. Cover up logos that don’t belong to you. Triple check the usage rights on any background music. If you have a nemesis and they’re spotted on the premises with a film projector and a copy of “True Grit,” have them ejected before hitting the button to go live.

So there you go. It’s easy to get caught up in the potential negatives, but the doors that live streaming opens far outweigh the reasons to get neurotic. It’s a low-cost, high-return way to draw attention to your brand. Go out there and carpe some diem.

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Written By Tom Meisfjord

Tom Meisfjord is a gentlemanly provocateur and comedian living in Chicago. He appreciates you reading his content, since that's how he feeds his dog, who also lives in Chicago.

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