There is no doubt about it... live streaming your podcast in a video format is awesome. It allows your listeners to bond with you and take a "peek behind the curtain". Your listeners feel like they are more involved in the podcast by participating in the live chat that accompanies the video stream. It allows you, the podcaster, to interact with your audience. But all is not puppies and rainbows. There are some drawbacks associated with live video steaming that I have discovered over the years that I will share.
Video streaming can be expensive. Paid services can easily run in the neighborhood of hundreds of dollars per month for a small audience.
Free Video streaming services filled with distracting ads. They hog up the lower 1/4 of the screen, and advertise some pretty offensive services/products at times. If you are holding a "church chat", this could be a major issue.
Chat can be a major distraction. If you are trying to present a podcast and read comments in chat at the same time, it could get sloppy. It's best if you have someone dedicated to reading and responding to chat.
Could be a technical headache. As if podcasting was not difficult enough, you get to deal with making sure audio and video streams are balanced and working properly, and your computer has enough resources to do both for the length of your podcast.
Could take away from the quality of your podcast. Distractions, too many references to "our live listeners", mentions of banter on chat, etc, all are annoying to audio only listeners -- your bread and butter.
Could cheapen your podcast. You may do a fantastic job on post production and put out a top quality podcast, but your liver version may be a whole different story. Is this a side you really want to present?
Editing is a pain - if at all possible. You better not screw up, because editing a video podcast in addition to an audio podcast could take the better part of your day.
Live broadcasting requires careful planning and maintaining a a schedule. Once you go live, you have listeners who depend on you to present at a given time. This leaves very little room for mistakes and last minute changes.
Ok, I must admit, that seems like a heck of a lot of cons for live streaming, but they are not insurmountable. We currently live stream for just one of our podcasts, but would like to do more in the future.
Live streaming could be a great way to add more listeners who would not normally listen to an audio only podcast as well as a way to have more dedicated listeners. Just make sure it is something that you can and are willing to tackle.
Bo Bennett, PhD
Social Scientist, Business Consultant
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