Content creators don’t need guides or studies to show them that video, as a form of content, is booming. The websites that host content, or enable creators to live-stream it, are getting crowded. The sheer amount of content creators publish every day is increasing, and the growth is expected to last — Cisco predicts that video on demand traffic will double by 2022. By the same year, live video will account for 17% of all internet traffic.
But while content creators might not need a paper to figure out that video has a future, they might need some help figuring out their place in it because the competition is already harsh. The fact that almost nine out of ten marketers use video content only helps make the landscape more crowded.
But that’s the landscape content creators have to navigate. One of the challenges facing them is picking the content delivery method. Live streaming or video on-demand (VOD) are the two options they have and each has its pros and cons. Each has types of content that work better with it. Live Q&As work better with live streaming. Scripted content works better with video-on-demand. But the notion that creators have to choose one is false.
What’s so great about live streaming?
Live streaming is for more than just live news reporting or streaming video gaming sessions. Still, everyone could easily make the mistake of thinking this when they see Facebook Live events in their feeds. Or if they check out Twitch and see the sheer amount of gaming people stream on that platform every day.
Live streaming gives content creators and their audiences some major benefits:
- Low barrier to entry. Most of the time, what people need in order to be able to live-stream is an internet connection, a smartphone, and a social media profile. This setup might not get you the best results, but it would work in a pinch.
- Time-effectiveness. There might be pre-production involved with live-streaming. But by the very nature of the thing, there is no post-production. And even if mistakes get into the stream, the audiences don’t care too much about it. When the live-stream is done, so is the work around it. Unless, of course, you want to repurpose the content.
- Immediacy. There’s no clever editing with live-streaming. What viewers see is what the content creator points their camera at. They see it in real time, and they can engage with an event as it unfolds.
- Real-time interaction. Content creators and audiences can have a conversion during a live stream. Even if the live stream is going out to several channels at once, a tool like Restream Chat enables chatting on multiple channels at once.
This is the charm of live streaming in a nutshell. It’s what the studies and what papers try to explain with numbers, but people who stream or watch streams know from experience. Live streaming is a content-delivery method that fosters engagement. So much engagement, in fact, that creators need platforms like Restream Chat to stay on top of it.
That’s not to say that live streaming doesn’t have its drawbacks. Live streaming can be more technically demanding than traditional methods. It might require you to pick up an additional gear, continuous power supplies for cameras, switchers for multicam setups, and capture cards are often needed for higher-end streaming.
That’s without even mentioning the importance of upload speeds for live streaming. So yes, it can get demanding if you want to create a high-quality stream. But engagement factor is so popular today that it alone would make it worthwhile to explore live streaming.
What about video-on-demand?
Video-on-demand is, in many aspects, the exact opposite of the live-streamed video. For the regular content creators who operate online, video-on-demand is pretty much the traditional system of creating and sharing content. Make a video clip, upload it on a video sharing platform like YouTube, and keep it there for the viewers to see it.
There are some obvious benefits to the on-demand model:
- More time in production means fewer mistakes. There’s always room for another take when making videos for on-demand distribution. It might make the production process more lengthy, however, it allows creators to polish their work-product more.
- The ability to use post-production. Post-production is where the magic of editing happens. With editing, creators can affect everything from the storytelling to the pacing of their videos.
- More creative tools. All in all, video-on-demand provides more opportunity for creativity than live-streaming. The length of the production and post-production gives the creators more time to plan and execute their ideas. Plus, creators can use tools that simply don’t work with real-time video content.
- Audiences find VOD convenient. On-demand platforms like Netflix are more popular than traditional pay-TV services, or even broadcasting giants like the BBC in some segments of the audience. People want to be able to watch videos when they want to, not when the programming allows it.
For creators, the main selling point of on-demand video is the control they can exercise over its creation and publishing. For audiences, it’s the fact that they can watch it whenever they want.
VOD production can be difficult, however. It can easily turn into a never-ending series of revisions. It can get stuck in post-production. Creators can spend so much time working on their video content that it becomes irrelevant.
On top of it all, the lack of immediacy means that on-demand content can never be as engaging as live-streamed content. Creators have to strike a balance between their perfectionism and timeliness, and they also have to pick topics that engage their audience regardless of the on-demand delivery.
Why live streaming and VOD shouldn’t be mutually exclusive
When content creators get trapped into “live streaming vs. VOD” mentality, they do it at their own loss. There’s nothing to be gained by choosing one type of content distribution over the other, even in cases where the content types overlap.
But there’s a lot they can get from embracing the best of both worlds. They can do it in a couple of ways:
- Repurpose live content for on-demand viewing. A Q&A video is the perfect type of content for live streaming. A content creator sits down and answers the questions posed to them, in real time. When the stream is over, they can upload the video to content sharing platforms and make it on-demand.
- Live-stream pre-recorded content. Creators can film and edit content like they would if it was on-demand. Then, using a platform like the Restream Scheduler, they can live-stream the edited version of the content. Because of the Restream Chat, it’s possible to live-stream to multiple platforms and chat with people on of them at the same time.
When the stream is over, creators can simply upload their content to the platform of their choosing and let it be an on-demand video. It’s as simple as that.
The bottom line is that the way video as online content is developing, creators cannot afford to give up on any potential benefit they can have. It really is best to do some extra work if that would enable them to harness the good stuff that comes from different forms of content distribution, or even from different types of content.
The live vs. on-demand dilemma, “both” is the only answer you should ever give. If there are already tools that enable creators to do both, there is no reason not to use them. If you don’t, your competitors surely will.