What Is Multi-Platform Streaming
Multi-platform streaming, or also called ‘multistreaming’ or ‘simulcasting’, is the practice of live-streaming (or, streaming pre-recorded content) a single piece of content to multiple different platforms at the same time.
For example, we can stream a single content from the same audio and video sources to both YouTube Live, Twitch, and Facebook Live. This is multistreaming.
Advantages of Streaming to Multiple Platforms
One of the key advantages of streaming to multiple platforms is obviously to amplify reach: you can engage more audiences in more platforms, so you can amplify the potential growth of your audience.
In short, you improve the chances of people to encounter and watch your video: wherever people search for your content, they can easily find you. This will significantly help in improving your presence and exposure.
Another important advantage to consider here is the fact that different live streaming platforms offer unique audiences and unique features with the platform, such as:
- YouTube is arguably the most well-rounded video streaming platform at the moment with one of the biggest audiences. It is also easy and reliable to monetize, and since YouTube is a Google company, having your content on YouTube will also help with SEO.
- Facebook also has a huge audience, and at the moment it favors live video content so you can easily reach a bigger audience by streaming on Facebook.
- Instagram Live is a relatively new platform and has a different audience (and it displays vertical instead of horizontal video), but it has a very good engagement rate at the moment.
- Twitch is a platform focused on live streaming, especially on gaming and esports niches, although Amazon (Twitch’s current owner) has stated that they are going to expand to other niches.
Of course, if you want, you can stream your own online TV channel on a dedicated platform like Viloud, and try other platforms to improve your reach.
As you can see, each live streaming platform has its own advantages, and most importantly, each of them has its own loyal audience.
How To Simulcast Your Stream
Nowadays, the practice of simulcast is pretty common, and there are various ways we can multi-stream our content to various platforms. However, in general, we have three common alternatives:
- Using a stream share code
- Using a dedicated software solution to multi-stream
- Simulcasting with your encoder
In general, choosing between these methods would depend on which platforms you’d like to stream on. Facebook, for example, is notorious for being difficult to simulcast in, and you’d need to use a dedicated software (the second option) like Restream or Switchboard, among others.
We can technically use an encoding software (even a free one like OBS) to simulcast our stream, but you’d need to know the technical know-how. Below, we will briefly discuss these three options:
- Using a stream share code
Simulcasting using a share code is not technically a ‘real’ simulcasting, but it is only sharing a link to your stream on the social platform so it will display your stream’s thumbnail on the platform (i.e. on a Facebook feed). This option is possible if you are using a professional video hosting platform.
While this method is fairly limited, it does have several advantages since you technically ‘bypass’ the platform. For example, you can use a pay-per-view paywall on your stream while displaying it on Facebook Live (which is not an available option if you stream directly on YouTube).
- Using a simulcast software
Arguably this is the best and most reliable method, but you’d need to invest in a service like Restream or Switchboard to use this method. So, while they are now fairly affordable, they are not free.
While the exact steps to stream your content with the simulcast software might vary depending on the platform, we can simply connect our account (for example, our Viloud account) with both the simulcast software and the streaming platform(s). Connecting your video hosting platform with the simulcasting software might differ depending on the platform, but in general, you can copy the hosting platform’s API key to the simulcast software, and then you can set up your encoder.
- Using your encoder software for simulcasting
We can use our encoder to generate a simulcast. While this is a technical approach, with this method you can get the most control and versatility in simulcasting your content.
Again, while the exact method might vary depending on your video hosting, streaming platforms, and the encoder you use, it mainly involves setting up the multiple stream destinations in your encoder, and setting this up is fairly easy to do in today’s hardware and software encoders.
This method, however, has several drawbacks: first, it requires more bandwidth compared to other methods since you are technically sending multiple instances of your content. Also, at the moment Facebook doesn’t allow multi-destination streaming with this method.
Simulcasting, the act of streaming your content to multiple platforms, has many benefits, and especially the fact that you can reach more audiences on many different platforms. With today’s versatile video hosting platforms like Viloud and the encoders, simulcasting is also more accessible and affordable to do.
In general, you can simulcast with your encoder software, via a share code of your hosting platform, or using a dedicated simulcast software. Each has its own benefits and you can choose the option according to your needs and especially the platforms you are looking to stream to.