When you are planning to stream video live on the web your goal is probably to get as many viewers as possible. Of course, it is important that the event or show you are broadcasting is interesting enough to get people to want to watch. However, one of the most crucial factors when it comes to getting people to watch your stream is the time at which you broadcast.
The basics of understanding when to begin your live streaming broadcast are obvious – you should always cater to the people in the time zones that you are targeting. For instance, if you want to stream a live technology show in the United States and are broadcasting from New York, don’t forget about your audience on the West Coast. If you begin streaming at 10 AM EST, many of your West Coast viewers will still be in bed.
So what is the ideal time to begin streaming live on the web? In a recent post on NewTeeVee, Liz Shannon Miller offers up some answers from industry experts. Max Haot, the CEO of livestream.com, considers 3-5 PM to be prime time for streaming video online, in whichever time zone you are targeting. Shari Foldes of Ustream says that they see the most traffic on weekday evenings between 4-8 PM PST. Although Haot and Foldes gave slightly different answers it seems that the best times for streaming live are in the late afternoon and early evening.
If you can safely say that most of your audience lives in a single time zone then it will be easier for you to determine a time to begin streaming. If, on the other hand, you are broadcasting to both East and West Coast viewers then be sure to cater to both when deciding when your show will begin. If you are concerned that not all your viewers will be able to watch live you can always leave the show online for people to watch later, at their own convenience.
Sometimes you won’t have the option to decide when your show will begin. For instance, live streaming is often used to broadcast award shows, press conferences and other live scheduled events. If this is the case, Max Haot of livestream.com recommends starting your feed well before the event. He says, “When you do this viewers are confident the feed will be there later and as a result are prepared to recommend it to their friends via Twitter or Facebook sharing.” Standing by on a blank screen, waiting for a live stream to begin with no information can be annoying, and you might lose viewers if you don’t begin your stream ahead of time.
David Spark of Spark Minute expands on this idea. He suggests letting your viewers know that you are there before your official broadcast begins, so that they can be sure the stream is really going to happen. Sit behind the camera, comment via chat, Twitter, Facebook and other channels so that your viewers know everything is up and running, ready to go.
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