How to use Live Streaming Apps on Mobile

screen322x572The future will be live before your eyes, that’s the buzzword pundits are saying these days. But what’s your options for mobile?

For most of us, going live on mobile streaming is the ultimate dream of any narcissistic fundamentalist who wants to go beyond the cam whoring and selfie pictures. The great secret is that it can even make you money going live.

There are platforms like Twitch that pays users to stream their live game play of popular games.

So what are your options if you don’t play e-games?

USTREAM

One of the household names in Live Streaming was created for mass market broadcasting. The free streaming is ad supported and as a free user, you also have a limited number of hours/bandwidth for broadcasting. To get on the unlimited broadcasting rights without adverts, you need to sign up for the pro package which isn’t cheap. It cost between US$99 to US$2500 a month!

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Mobile users pay from 3.99 a month for streaming, which includes both live or recorded broadcast.

Users can get to watch a wide variety of streams, most of which are either puppy cams or bird cams which at best, are cures for insomnia. The nicer deeds are the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s broadcast, where you can watch live swimming Blue Fin Tuna to whet your appetite. Beyond that, people broadcast everything from their gameplay to their front lawn for you to observe how grass grows. Not terribly exciting but some will find this amusing enough to sit for hours to watch this.

Broadcasting isn’t just limited to mobile for this platform. Ustream also works on desktop PCs. To interact with your followers, you can view the chat screen but seriously, that’s not always the best option if all you are looking at are puppies.

YouNOW

A big live streaming site for the younger generation that’s hugely popular in Europe and state side. Most of them appearing here are teens who stream from their notebook PCs but for those who have built a loyal following, mobile streaming is the way to go.

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There are no ads, no sign up fees, nada. It’s free to stream and you only have to worry about exhausting your mobile bandwidth while at it. YouNow makes money through fans, who buy virtual goods to tip their idols. You buy virtual gold bars and give them away and out of that, streamers get a cut on the money you spent.

What makes YouNow different is that every one you follow can be viewed in a archived format. That means if you can’t spend the time to watch them live from wherever you are, you can of course watch the recorded episode. The only difference is that you can’t partake in the bantering that happens live.

Some of those who have made money from YouNow includes an arab bloke that goes by the name of Mr.Cashier. He works in a convenience store in NY and streams video from his smartphone. He now earns more money from streaming on YouNow than his day job at the store!

YouNow also have a team of moderators who prowl the live feeds for anything offensive. So there is no porn stars wannabes or for that matter, extreme elements allowed. You get banned and that’s the end of that.

The ranking of famous broadcasters is done live, through the use of hashtags. If you are a guy or gal, you can see your live ranking climb to number one. To interact with your live followers, you have a chat screen where you can type in your questions while the answer live online. There is of course a 10 to 15 second delay depending on how busy that particular broadcaster is. Sometimes there could be as much as 300 people shooting questions at a time.

So far, they don’t have bird cam or puppy cams. Which is a nice departure from Ustream.

Meerkat

The love child of Twitter which was later abandoned for the sake of adopting Periscope has had tongues wagging all over the Valley. Meerkat was a garage style start up and has many loyal broadcasters…many whom are Meerkat moderators. This means they have the power to weed trolls out who basically are there to throw morally defunct questions at broadcasters.

Engagement is through a chat window but there is a caveat. Whatever you type on chat appears on your Twitter account feed. So for people who follow you, they get to know who you are talking to as well. Currently out on iOS for Android, Meerkat for iOS has both Twitter and Facebook login support. Of late, Twitter has been actively cutting Meerkat access and support, so unless Facebook picks it up. It might just fall apart.

katdibcxe1rx8pqkxgo9Meerkat is not for those who want to make money from Live Streaming, again, the model of business is very similar to that of Twitter. Fans get to follow their broadcasting idols. You get more famous, hopefully to the status of a celebrity. Many of the broadcasters are schooled on how to stream and even handle difficult moments when a troll pops up. For this, Meerkat has got a dedicated team of broadcasters even though the topics often are not all that engaging.

Users who want to broadcast live will find it hard to get eyeballs because of Meerkat’s rather poor discovery tool. Scheduling is relatively easy but not everyone who wishes to stream will be featured. There is no recorded broadcast to watch if you miss it live but there is a third party service which records up to one hour of live broadcast for you to watch later.

Periscope

Currently available on both Android & iOS, this streaming service is exclusive to Twitter. Followers will get to watch saved streams if they are not around to catch them live and every schedule or live broadcast is featured in the mobile app.

1-4YJGSEXeDu8w6mUzj-AaGwOne of the advantages of this service is that you can stream in landscape format so followers get to see more. Like Meerkat, all your comments in the chat column is Twittered.

News broadcasters seem to favor this streaming app over Meerkat. So far, many of the live streams shown are nothing short of extraordinary. You can catch the morning news as it happens and watch live testing of racing cars at the test tracks to the U2 Live concert through the eyes of the audience. Meerkat just doesn’t have the content to compete with this sort of broadcasting.

Broadcasters on Periscope are more global, as you have both middle eastern and European broadcasters. What’s more, you often get far more eyeballs on Periscope than on Meerkat.

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The End must Justify the Means

All mobile streaming apps take a heavy toll on your mobile bandwidth.  So your intended goal of using a particular app must suit the target audience. So far, the only one that you can make money from is YouNow. Cost you next to nothing to sign up but you bear the cost of streaming live. Building an audience is hard work so nothing comes without effort.

Audience wise, live streaming doesn’t quite have the sort of eyeballs to justify a daily broadcast routine. Those on Periscope and Meerkat get between 50 to 350 live followers at any one time. The only time it made a difference was during the Mayweather and Pacman Vegas fight where pay-per-view TV was streamed live by users and even then, you get only 8,000 people watching along with you. YouNow easily attracts over 100 viewers while both Periscope and Meerkat struggle to match those numbers.

Streaming live to your friends is probably the next big thing and this could happen with Facebook since socially, that would be the meeting point. However not everyone will have the time to devote to your live broadcast and for that, you just gotta to do the maths to find out if the end justifies the means.

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