Is it still possible to gain a competitive advantage in the live streaming industry when it seems so saturated? We're covering 6 live streaming platforms and the features that make them pop on the market.
Live streaming is one of technology’s greatest gifts, allowing people from opposite corners of the world to connect over a shared experience.
Whether you’re looking for a live streaming app for new creators or searching for the best live streaming service for your large audience, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the main benefits and features that each platform offers.
In this article, we’ll cover the 6 best live streaming sites and apps, and highlight a few qualities that are unique to each platform. Let’s begin!
6 best live streaming sites & services
With the multitude of live-streaming apps to choose from, things can easily get overwhelming. Below are the 6 best live streaming sites and services and why you should consider using them.
Known for their on-demand, original content, many people are surprised to hear that Hulu is actually a live streaming app! In addition to their OTT service, Hulu also offers a TV streaming service through Hulu + Live.
Hulu offers a variety of both news and entertainment channels and networks. Their channel line-ups include news channels like ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, and CNN International.
When it comes to entertainment coverage, the same variety can be found. Hulu offers many options, including Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Disney, Food Network, National Geographic, and tens of others.
What makes Hulu one of the best live streaming sites?
Access to both on-demand and off-demand content, so you don’t need to have a separate cable TV service
Ability to live stream TV on any device
Customers who care about access to TV channels may be more inclined to subscribe to Hulu over other competitors (such as Netflix and Prime Video), as these only allow subscribers to watch recorded content.
There are two approaches when it comes to streaming services. The first features primarily on-demand or original content, and the other option completely replaces your cable subscription. YouTube TV leverages the latter approach, which allows them to offer over 80 channels of news, sports, and entertainment, all in one package. YouTube TV also integrates amazing DVR features and supports many platforms.
In addition, YouTube TV has a powerful add-on, which pushes its capabilities further by allowing 4K streaming. You can also download DVR recordings for offline viewing, and (perhaps most importantly) run an unlimited number of simultaneous streams on your home network.
There’s no denying that YouTube TV has a high monthly subscription fee. Still, if you care about the biggest combination of channels and streaming options on the live streaming apps market, the pros outweigh the cons.
What makes YouTube one of the best live streaming apps?
They offer an excellent line-up of sports, news, and entertainment channels (great for families!)
Comprehensive and user-friendly DVR features
An intuitive interface
3 simultaneous streams per account are supported by default
Great add-on options
Quick, entertaining, and addicting. A few words that describe the types of video-based content found on TikTok. TikTok is very much geared towards virality, and this alone presents tons of opportunities for those who want to ride the short-form content wave, build an audience, and live stream to that audience.
If your content is for the Gen-Z generation (under 25 years old), then investing the time to build a presence on TikTok will be invaluable. If you already have a viewership on TikTok, then going live can increase your reach and help you expand your presence on the platform.
On TikTok, most videos are under a minute. If you can create longer content that will satisfy your audience’s needs, then imagine how far 30 minutes of streaming will go in terms of reach! A key difference between Instagram and TikTok live streams is that the former are not recorded. This can make your content seem more exclusive, which encourages your audience to stay and come back to watch your content.
The catch is that only accounts with 1,000 or more followers have access to the live stream feature on TikTok, and the monetization option (virtual gifts) is only available to creators aged 18 or older. The good news however is that, given TikTok’s algorithm, many accounts have reported seeing explosive growth in their followers from just one or two viral videos. Hence, reaching 1,000 followers is certainly attainable.
TikTok is arguably the best live streaming service if your business or content targets Gen-Zers.
Their algorithm is known for out-of-this-world abilities in connecting creators with the right target audience (TikTok is even referred to by many as having “match-making” abilities)
It can be a low-cost and lucrative long-term marketing strategy for your brand. Especially, if you produce content that adds value to your demographic through creative short-form videos, and eventually proceed to live streams.
Video game lovers are some of the most passionate and dedicated bunch. In Q1 of 2021 alone, over 1 billion hours of live-stream video gaming were watched on Facebook Gaming! That’s a lot of people watching others' games…AND a lot of opportunity for businesses and individual gamers to make a buck.
To see just how lucrative game live streaming is, it’s worth mentioning that Meta Inc. has already paid out $1.5 billion (yes, you’ve read it correctly) to game publishers and developers.
It appears that Facebook Gaming is just getting warmed up, with the head of the Facebook app admitting back in 2020 that they would be prioritizing developing the right gaming cloud infrastructure.
What makes Facebook Gaming one of the best live streaming apps?
The gaming community is extremely active on the platform. All it takes to start watching live game streams is tapping the “Watch” icon, available right next to the search bars in the mobile and desktop versions of the app.
By broadcasting with Facebook, you’re able to:
Easily stream both mobile or desktop games
Engage viewers by enabling comments and reactions
Receive stars from fans (i.e. tokens that have real monetary value)
Display in-app ads to make additional revenue.
Mixlr is considered to be one of the best live streaming services dedicated to live audio streaming. It allows users to adjust streaming quality to the content they’re broadcasting and to their current internet connection.
Streamers have the option to use 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi to live stream at any given moment and location. After live streaming, you can save the high-quality recordings right inside the app, and choose to publish them later for those listeners who missed the broadcast.
What makes Mixlr one of the best live streaming services?
Mixlr allows you to reach an audience as large as you wish, with no extra or hidden costs
The service lets you easily embed your live stream on your site. All you have to do is paste a simple snippet into the body of your website’s HTML code. You can even choose whether you’d like your player to start automatically upon page launch, or have website visitors manually play the video.
You can control audio quality to suit your bandwidth and avoid any quality loss or connection loss.
Periscope is a Twitter-owned live streaming app that has been around since 2015. Although it may not be a household name, it’s still popular today and is among the pioneers of the best live streaming sites and services.
The app is integrated into Twitter for a seamless and user-friendly live streaming experience. A main feature of Periscope is that viewers can comment on live streams and reward streamers with virtual coins – aka Super Hearts. As is the case of the above-mentioned Facebook Gaming stars, these virtual coins can be cashed out in real-world currency or even used to tip other live streamers.
Remember the good old talk show days? Periscope offers a semblance of this experience by allowing users to take audio-call-ins. The call-ins can quickly shift the mood and experience of your live stream, turning it into a makeshift talk show. This can be lucrative for relationship coaching and advice-based businesses! Not to mention, it makes Periscope stand out from other similar services.
What makes Twitter’s Periscope one of the best live streaming services?
You can broadcast videos to a targeted Twitter audience
It lets you live stream from a 360-degree angle
The ability to tip (or be tipped) for your content through Super Hearts
You’re able to invite live guests to your streams and engage viewers by taking audio-only-call-ins.
From video and gaming, all through to audio live streaming, the best live streaming sites and services have a few main commonalities that make them great. Features like user-friendliness, a large potential reach, high-quality audio and video capabilities, and audience interaction features are all key factors to consider when choosing which live streaming platform to use.
Whether you’re considering one of the above live streaming apps for your content or thinking of building your own custom solution, remember to always keep the end-user experience top of mind. Ask yourself, time and time again – how will each feature add value to your viewers’ or listeners’ lives? By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain a clear vision as you weigh your options, and – as a result – find the solution that suits your needs best.