Livestreaming For Churches + Houses of Worship

Religious organizations and houses of worship of all faiths are tasked with spreading the word and sharing their beliefs. Our chosen house of worship is about community: learning together, rallying around one another in times of struggle, and lifting each other up. A house of worship is much more than a place you come once a week to pray, meditate, and learn – it’s where your community comes together.

Faith leaders are constantly in search of ways to bring in new members, engage existing members, and expand the reach of their message. Fortunately, spreading the word and sharing our faith today is easier and more accessible than ever before.

Worship has gone digital: in 2015, 3,000 houses of worship in 57 countries used Livestream to broadcast 121,026 services, ceremonies, and meetings. According to a study by Monk Development, 46% of church attendees say that a church’s website is important when choosing a church, 64% say their church’s website is important in facilitating participation in their church, and 33% say the internet was the first place where they learned about their church.

According to Pew research, the religious community is highly engaged online: sharing their beliefs on Facebook, asking for prayer on Twitter, or mentioning in a post that they went to church. Since 2013, faith-based organizations have seen the greatest increase in online giving, and churches increase donations 6X through a custom donation page.

“There is a serious benefit to livestreaming: The stats are clear that most people check out your online campus before they come to your church,” writes Andy McMillan on the Church Production blog. “So it’s an incredible tool to reach new people and to connect with those attendees who travel for business, etc. That being said, creating a respectable video stream is harder than it looks.”

Every day, Livestream works with religious organizations to help them connect with their communities and congregations, grow donations, and build their digital audience. We have more customers in faith-based industries than any other. Since we hear many of the same questions from houses of worship eager to get started with livestreaming, we created this guide to help you through the process and illustrate how other houses of worship are succeeding with livestreaming technology.

Download now to learn:

  • How to get started with livestreaming. 
  • Untapped opportunities for live video in faith-based organizations. 
  • How St. Joseph Catholic Church & School found a budget-friendly, easy streaming solution. 
  • How Champions Centre increased site traffic and receives 70% of donations online. 
  • How The Crossing Church doubled their website traffic and receives 50% of their donations online.

Download our guide to streaming for Houses of Worship.

New From Livestream: Start Building With Our Developer API

We’re excited to announce that our developer API is available, offering full flexibility and control over your viewing experience. As part of this effort we are launching a brand new developer portal to house all SDKs and APIs. Check it out here.

Why does Livestream have an API?

Many of our customers have expressed the need to customize their Livestream integration, making the API one of the most highly requested features. Over the past few months we’ve conducted a closed beta program, witnessing the wide variety of applications for live and on-demand video.

API: Explained for non-techies

You may not know it but you’re using APIs all the time in your day-to-day routine. API stands for Application Programming Interface and simply allows applications to invisibly talk to each other in real-time. Booking a ride on demand? Your app is probably using the Google Maps API to tell you how many minutes away your driver is. Looking at movie reviews? Your browser might be using the Fandango API to display the closest movie theaters and provide tickets. Livestream’s API can be used by any brand to pull in their live and on-demand content and display them however they want.

An example of what's possible with the API

An example of what's possible with the API

Infinite possibilities

There are no limits to the rich experiences you can build for audiences to enjoy your live and archived content. Core functionality allows you to bring live and archived streams into your site, automatically create events, and use any video player of your choice. For custom content portals, you can update your site when your event goes live and allow users to search archived events. Broadcasters can also pull content across multiple accounts by linking to them in the API dashboard. Here are some applications our customers have built on using our API:

  • A live 1080p background takeover on a Brazilian radio site.
  • EDGEsport, a live-action sports portal that monetizes live and archived content behind a paywall.
  • Boston Celtics’ NBA site updates in real-time with an embedded Livestream player when a live press conference is held.

Getting started

Our API is available as an add-on for active Livestream subscribers. Get started today by checking out the REST documentation featured in our developer portal.

IBC 2016: New Studio HD550 4K Edition, Mevo + More

For the third year, Livestream will be exhibiting at IBC 2016 in Amsterdam at Hall 7 Booth A10. For IBC 2016 we’re bringing some exciting new products for attendees to demo in person.

Livestream’s Studio HD550 and HD51 switchers in 4K

Launching at IBC 2016, Livestream’s portable (Studio HD550) and rackmount (Studio HD51) live production switchers are now available in 4K edition for pre-order. Featuring 5 inputs and one output with full size HDMI and SDI connectors. The 4K Edition also features upgraded hardware all around: 64GB RAM, 8 Core Intel i7 CPU (16 Virtual threads), Windows 10, 2TB SSD drive. Pre-order now from Livestream or one of our resellers at store.livestream.com. Shipping in November 2016.

Studio 4 Software with 4K crop, Mevo + Facebook Live

Livestream Studio 4, with support for Facebook Live and the new Mevo camera, is now available and will be on display in the Livestream booth. Studio 4 also offers 4K crop technology, allowing producers to turn any single camera feed into a multi-camera shoot.

Mevo: The pocket-size production studio

Mevo, the live event camera by Livestream, allows anyone to create the appearance of a multi-camera shoot with one tiny device. Mevo integrates with Livestream Studio as a camera input or can be used as a standalone streaming camera to Facebook Live or Livestream. Test it out at IBC!

Visit the Livestream team in Hall 7 booth a10 for swag and to try out these new exciting products.

Live From Fashion Week: How Major Brands Are Livestreaming Fashion Shows

In 2016, livestreaming your fashion show is a must. “If you dont livestream your show you’re missing out on a huge opportunity that your competitors are going to pick up on,” says Elizabeth Fuller, Digital Manager at Carolina Herrera. Fuller would know – the Wall Street Journal called the Herrera team’s Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week stream: “textbook-how-to-do-it.

Many fashion brands struggle with how to livestream a fashion show with so many logistics involved. “I think five years ago you didn't livestream a show because fashion shows were still meant to feel exclusive,” says Fuller. But things have changed, and customers and social followers alike are demanding more from fashion brands.

Social media has broken down that wall that separated the fashion crowd from people who are admirers of fashion," Fuller says"You have to stay on top of these advancements to get the consumer excited, and sharing on social helps get the most engagement and talk around your brand."

After a bad experience with livestreaming, the Carolina Herrera team decided to not stream their fashion show online for the first time in five years for their Fall 2015 show. “We saw a significant decrease on our social platforms and there was a lot less talk around the event because people couldn't see it as it was happening,” says Fuller. They also lost international press compared to previous seasons. “We knew after that season it was a mistake to not livestream.”

For the Fall 2016 show, the Carolina Herrera digital team needed to find a solution and were introduced to Livestream through their event agency. Once Livestream got to The Frick, they realized their work was cut out for them. “It’s a space that is not set up for a live production,” says Alex Schuster, Director of Professional Services at Livestream.

The Livestream Production Team produced the live runway show broadcast with a standard three-camera shoot in addition to the two 360-degree cameras on each side of the room. The Livestream Product Team then created a custom player that allowed users to choose their own viewing angles and experience. Livestream also shot the show vertically to align with the display televisions in the Carolina Herrera show rooms. “You could get a shot of any part of the room as it was happening live,” says Fuller. “It was a really unique viewing experience for our audience around the world.”

Fuller’s advice for a noteworthy, live fashion show? “When you plan a livestream for a fashion show you want to have the best possible version. Be doing something no one else is doing, or provide the best user experience,” Fuller says. “We feel like Carolina Herrera did that by partnering with Livestream, and the Journal recognized us as the best livestreaming experience in all of New York Fashion Week.”

To read more about the Carolina Herrera digital team’s Fashion Week stream, or to learn more about how to broadcast a fashion show online, download the full Carolina Herrera case study today.

Massive Disruption: Talking Video Technology + IBC with RedShark’s Dave Shapton

David Shapton is the Editor-In-Chief of RedShark Publications, the only daily-updated website for the entire moving image industry. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. Shapton has worked with professional digital audio and video since 1985, served as a CTO, and published over 1000 articles.

Shapton co-launched RedShark in 2012 and it has now found a large readership as one of the most influential online publications in video technology. They cover not only equipment and software, but how technology shifts impact the industry as a whole. “We try to think about how to respond to the exponential rate of change that is transforming the industry by the hour,” said Shapton on the phone from London.

Livestream chatted with Shapton to learn more about his point of view on technology, live video, and what he’s looking forward to at IBC. We edited this Q&A for clarity and length.

Livestream: Tell us about how you ended up at RedShark. Were you always interested in technology and video?

David Shapton: The reason I ended up where I am is the dedicated pursuit of avoiding a career. My dad was a scientist. When I was 11 I had the flu and he brought an oscilloscope home (a machine that allows you to see the soundwave of your voice when you speak) and

I learned about every property that a signal could have. I was insufferably geeky and still am. So I’ve always been interested in how we communicate using analog and digital media.

If you haven't been paying attention it's easy to discount the weight of change: things get better, so what? But in absolute terms we’re seeing an exponential rise in the capability of tech that is so profound that if you have a linear model of progress in mind, which most people do, you’re going to miss the fact that the capability of tech is multiplying. So any decisions you make will be short-term, or quite simply wrong. What's happening with tech is a bit like how our brain’s cortex works. We have a hierarchical way of understanding things so we look at pieces of what comes and put those together: that's the letter P, that’s a word, that’s a sentence, that's the meaning. The exponential technology is going through these levels of hierarchies.

This kind of process means companies like Uber can come out of the blue overnight and disrupt a massive industry. You don't need to build anything from scratch you just need to tie together existing efforts. These things will keep appearing and be like what Livestream is doing with streaming. It’s massively disruptive in the long run and has come about because these technologies are now being focused. One person can have an idea and that idea can traverse the world in seconds.

LS: Who is the Redshark audience? Who are you writing for?

DS: It can be anyone from a filmmaker, camera operator, to post production or distribution as well. We cover the whole spectrum. We want to smash through old traditional ideas – there's always a new way of doing things. The people we’re writing for are people who want to understand the nature of change and the reasons behind it and the great things it will be leading to. It's all about having perspective – unless you have the framework to measure things against, you will not understand the significance or insignificance of what happens. The rate of change in tech is driving everything. If you’re not on the pace of that then you don't understand it.

"We don't just publish the news, we look for these inflection points: the world changed at this point and moving forward it's going to be different and this is the reason."

When the iPhone was first conceived they weren't able to make one. But they kept designing it even though the tech wasn't there. By redesigning it over and over again, once the tech was good enough and not a moment later they were able to bring out a fully working product that took people’s breath away. All everyone else could do was copy it at first because they were so far behind. It’s that level of thinking we need in a world where change isn't linear; you have to be looking further ahead because you will know that eventually you can do that thing you couldn't do before.

If you look at 4K TVs, four years ago they were about $25,000 and everyone said this is going to take decades to be adopted and now in my local TV store 80 percent of the TVs are 4K. In two years time you probably won’t be able to buy anything BUT 4K TVs. Same with video cameras. Not to say everyone is producing in 4K or distributing, but now it's part of the vocabulary and 8K is on the horizon.

LS: How do you, and RedShark, stay current in the industry?

DS: We have an extended team of around 50 writers and we’re taking on new people all the time. We spend a lot of time looking in less obvious places: scientific journals, economics publications. We’re looking for these inflection points that something has changed for some reason that has an impact on our industry.

A few weeks ago RED Digital – who worked on the Hobbit and a significant portion of modern high-end movies – leaked their 8K camera sensor. It’s 16X the resolution of HD with a superb dynamic range. This is the moment when inarguably digital video is now better than film has ever been. So we said: 8K is the future of cinema. This would have been previously controversial, but we don't just publish the news, we look for these inflection points: the world changed at this point and moving forward it's going to be different and this is the reason. That's how we get our important stories.

LS: What is the most exciting trend in live video?

DS: There's a very trendy thing going around “living in the now,” and livestreaming is capturing reality now. There's so many ways you can leverage that, whether it's a convention or for sheer spontaneity. What Livestream is doing is the combination of everything going on in this wider production and broadcast and media based industry. When you're livestreaming you’re becoming part of the global collective consciousness. That seems wildly abstract but it's an incredible thing to do.

"I think streaming will become an essential part of daily life far more quickly than people imagine."

As the bandwidth is increasing, livestreaming is crossing the barrier of looking good enough to watch repeatedly and intensively. At the production end, it’s becoming very democratized as the cost of producing live television has fallen 10 or 100 fold over the last two decades. The barriers are disappearing. One of those barriers is to be able to host a stream that can be delivered to enough people and have easy interfaces and that's what Livestream does. You don't need to do it from scratch anymore. The good news is it's rapidly becoming possible, cost-effective, and extremely effective as a medium. What's exciting is that it’s only going to get better.

LS: What do you think the ultimate potential of live video is?

DS: Streaming will become more ubiquitous as bandwidth increases. Alongside that we'll have better ways for people to discover the streams that interest them. The discovery side of things will make the difference because as the number of streams increase it will be harder to find what you're interested in. The quality of the data and curation will make all the difference as to who will watch what.

Livestream is further down this path than anyone. They have the whole spectrum for streaming in the sense of a conventional broadcast but more specific at both ends. I might be interested in a very niche subject which is very important to me and you can make these 1:1 matches more easily with streaming because it's a one-to-many process. If these can find their audience and vice-versa, everybody's going to be happy and it will quickly become the norm. It's almost going to become part of our cognition and awareness. I think streaming will become an essential part of daily life far more quickly than people imagine. You have the sense that you are taking part, sharing something – the immediacy and presence of it is more powerful than video on demand.

Soon, you'll no longer have to think about how you get a high quality feed from any camera to a platform like Livestream for worldwide streaming. It will cease to be a technical issue; it will just become a decision. The tech will get smaller and more capable and will just become part of the fabric. There will still be an important role for streaming platforms who curate and add discovery services to the video. There always needs to be someone working at a higher level that can organize the streams, make them discoverable and with enough information for people to see and understand the context.

LS: What are you most looking forward to at IBC 2016?

DS: It's becoming harder and harder to predict what you'll see. Ten years ago you'd have a pretty good idea what's coming up but now you can’t even predict in the six months between NAB and IBC. There will be more VR, loads more streaming, 360 video, lots of 8K. 4K will be the default, beyond that it’s genuinely hard to say.

We've gotten to a stage where the progress curve is so steep it's actually vertical and we don’t know what’s going to jump out and surprise us. The surprise at NAB was the Lytro camera that used a completely different technique to capture video. It's massive and expensive, but it captures depth as well as the image in cinema quality. That blew people away. It's like alien technology. It was like a flying saucer landed and you could suddenly beam yourself across the world. That's happening more and more. The more I know, the less I know.

Livestream will be at IBC in Hall 7 Booth A10. Come say hello and try out a Mevo or HD550.

New From Livestream: In-Video Donations

donations_example

Livestream is excited to announce that you can now accept donations from your audience through your embedded live video as well as your event page on Livestream. This is a great way to continue creating the content your viewers love while letting them show their appreciation and contribute toward your efforts.

Now that giving online is easier than ever, donations are on the rise. According to Charity Navigator, charitable donations hit over $373B in 2015, up 4% from the year prior. Giving online has also grown steadily – up 9.2% from 2014 to 2015 – with small organizations seeing the largest growth in digital donations.

At Livestream we know that whether you’re a musician, non-profit, or House of Worship, many resources go into creating your live content. This new feature presents a simple solution for your audience to show their appreciation. Enterprise platform customers will be able to solicit and accept donations through their event pages as well as directly in live video embeds.

An example of the donations payment window.

An example of the donations payment window.

 

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Connect a new or existing Stripe account to your Livestream account from your account settings.

  2. Once connected, a button to donate will appear on your event pages and embeds on Livestream.

  3. Anyone visiting your event page or watching via the embed will be able to make a donation to your account.

  4. Donations will appear in your Stripe dashboard. Viewers who donate will receive a receipt via email.

  5. Producers will receive a daily digest email with donation activity.

 

 

 

This is an exciting solution for all of the organizations who stream with us. It’s a great alternative to putting your content behind a paywall, allowing your audience to enjoy your live video while dedicated viewers can contribute to your efforts.

If you are an Enterprise subscriber, visit your account to get started. If not, upgrade now to access this feature.  

How Startups Can Grow Audience + ROI With Live Video For Events

Events are one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, expected to generate $18B in revenue by 2018 and grow 44% by 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor. Every day, Livestream helps organizations of all sizes get their ideas and events in front of audiences around the world. Below we explore how SaaStr and Enterprise Sales Meetup utilized Livestream to expand their reach and amplify their live events.

How Livestream Helped SaaStr Increase Their Audience 2080%

SaaStr is the leading force in SaaS sales, developing content and hosting multiple events throughout the year for the next generation of SaaS and B2B entrepreneurs. In 2015, Livestream partnered with the organization to stream their Sales Hacker and SaaStr Annual conferences.

“We want to connect with the entire world of SaaS founders and Livestream is absolutely the way to do it,” said SaaStr founder Jason Lemkin.

While 5,000 people from 47 countries attended in-person, the SaaStr Annual livestream reached over 109,000 live viewers and another 112,740 on demand.

By opening SaaStr’s event through a Livestream, they were able to reach a global audience that exceeded the physical capacity of their venue. This meant more eyes on their content, more brand awareness, and more leads.

“We know there are people that want to attend and want to learn, but everyone but can't make it,” said Sales Hacker Founder and CEO Max Altschuler. “It’s a great way to reach those people. They can watch what’s going on, interact with attendees on Twitter and interact with their friends that are here while they’re watching the content.”

SaaStr’s secret weapon for massive audience amplification was Livestream Audience Booster: a tool that allows our customers to reach an exponential number of viewers for only pennies per view. Livestream Audience Booster turns live video content into embeddable native advertisements. These videos appear on premium websites like MSN, USAToday, Slate, and ESPN, acquiring real views from real people. You can also whitelist websites based on the audience you’re targeting.

“The whole point of the Saastr community is we all grow and do sales and marketing the same way,” said Lemkin. “So if we get together either physically or virtually through Livestream, we can all learn together.”

 

Enterprise Sales Meetup Reaches More Members Online

After working with the startup community for a few years, Mark Birch saw a need to have real conversations around sales tactics and best practices in what was often, a very junior market.

“They don’t have a lot of experience around sales so Meetup was a good opportunity to bring together a lot of those folks,” said Birch, the Founder of Enterprise Sales Meetup. “Over time that started to expand to people a little later in their careers, a lot of sales leaders, who also want to come to Meetup to be part of the community and sharpen their own skills.”

Enterprise Sales Meetup works to build a community of salespeople in major cities across the U.S. through monthly events and online content that allows members to network, share ideas, and learn from successful sales leaders. Their goal: “to bring innovative, modern enterprise sales techniques to sales professionals that are practical and actionable.” Part of how they achieve this is through Livestreaming their events to their wider community. Enterprise Sales Meetup’s in-person events are usually attended by 50 to 100 people, but over 28,700 viewers have watched these events live.

“I see Livestream as instrumental to the success of Enterprise Sales Meetup,” said Birch. “Our community demands it. They want to have access to the events even if they can’t be there in person and this is an easy way to connect to those folks and have them feel as if they’re part of the community. Having Livestream as a partner helps me get the message out about what we’re doing here – giving access to all this great content and all these great speakers so that anyone around the world can view the content and learn from it.”

Livestream has also helped expand Enterprise Sales Meetup’s in-person events. A Director Of Sales Development reached out to Birch about setting up a Denver chapter after seeing several Enterprise Sales Meetup Livestreams. They just launched their first event, which was also broadcast on Livestream.

Birch’s advice to others dreaming of launching an industry-focused Meetup is to start small and think achievable. ”Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” he said. “That goes for all aspects of the event. Just focus on the core elements of what will make your event successful. All the other bells and whistles can be added after you’re able to execute a really solid event.”

Birch suggests organizers also really focus on creating quality content, not just facilitating in-person networking. “Livestream is a great thing to help, it gives me an opportunity to reach people I couldn’t reach,” said Birch. 

Want to learn more about expanding your brand’s audience reach and event ROI with Livestream?

Download the Ultimate Guide to Livestreaming Events to learn everything you need to know about producing a successful event livestream.