Cyberwise: Live-Streaming Advice

Adding a new dimension to an event planning business.

I have a small events planning business and would like to do some events that are not “typical.” I like the idea of streaming live, but it looks complicated. Is it like Skype, where I just need a Webcam? Or do I need expensive equipment? How much will this cost me?

—J. Morgan
Boston

I think it’s great that as an entrepreneur you are looking for innovative ways to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Adding live-streaming to your events is a good move.

Consider Ustream and Livestream, or Qik, which lets you stream via your cell phone. Both types of services are free to use and easy to set up. For Ustream and Livestream, you will need to invest in a Webcam, at minimum. The Logitech Webcam Pro ($99) is a good option. However, consider investing in a good quality camcorder to present a more professional event. You have a wide range of options—from tape-based, miniDV, to HD (and more in between). You can find some decent cameras between the $150 and $300 range, and sites such as NewEgg, Overstock.com, as well as big box stores’ Websites are great places to start.

For streaming via cell phone, Qik supports more than 140 mobile phones. To use, simply type in the Qik address in your mobile browser or opt for the service to send the link to your phone via short message service (SMS).

The great thing about these services is that you can link them with your company’s other online networks. If you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog, you can connect your live-stream profiles to send messages and interact with online attendees seamlessly. Qik lets you link your account to Livestream and offers Brightcove integration for $49.99 per month.

Once you’ve sorted out your options, your next step will likely be to develop a plan to monetize your live-streamed events.

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