Live streaming is a marketing mainstay for countless businesses. Why is no mystery: video is a powerful tool for reaching and engaging customers, clients, employees, partners, and stakeholders. But with so many business live streaming platforms to choose from, it can be tough to figure out which is right for your company.
A streaming platform with the right feature set is vital to getting the full benefits of live video. Streaming platforms are effectively video content delivery networks (CDNs), which are capable of delivering high-quality video and seamless performance wherever viewers are. A CDN is a globally distributed network that caches video content to multiple servers around the world. Anyone who tunes into a live stream or watches on-demand content downloads data from the nearest server for optimal viewing.
Since building a separate network for video content delivery is impractical for most businesses, subscribing to a live streaming service makes the most sense. CDNs are scalable and cost-effective, and offer superior performance to viewers anywhere, at any time, and on any device. As video content management systems (CMS), live streaming platforms also simplify the whole process of streaming and then managing on-demand content.
Best streaming platforms for businesses
Free live streaming platforms do exist. YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch are a few examples. But to get the most out of live streaming, a paid service catered to professional users is a must. While that means paying for a subscription, it also means none of the ads that plague free platforms, dedicated customer support, and advanced features for monetization, analytics, lead generation, and more. With that in mind, we limited our picks to live streaming platforms that are subscription based and built for enterprise applications.
Epiphan’s top nine business live streaming platforms are:
All pricing details were accurate at the time of writing (August 2019). Please check each source for the most up-to-date prices.
Along with a capable and user-friendly CMS, Brightcove Video Cloud includes a powerful live streaming module for broadcasting to external and internal audiences. Brightcove Live can deliver smooth, high-quality video to any platform or device. Viewers have access to DVR-like functionality that lets them pause, rewind, and fast forward during a live stream. You can embed a stream on your company’s website, upload video-on-demand (VOD) versions to your video library, and even create clips on-the-fly during events for publishing to social media.
Video Cloud is a great option particularly if monetization is your business’s primary goal for live streaming. Brightcove’s monetization avenues include pre-roll ads, sponsorship bumpers, and unique server-side ad insertion that gets around browser-based ad blockers.
- Business live streaming to any platform or device
- Smooth playback across connection speeds with multi-bitrate streaming
- VOD recording and storage
- Live clipping and publishing to social media
- Pause, rewind, fast forward during playback
- Monetization support, including server-side ad insertion to combat ad blockers
Brightcove doesn’t advertise pricing. Contact Brightcove’s sales team for a quote.
Part of IBM’s Cloud Video suite, the IBM Video Streaming platform is built for broadcasting product launches, media, and marketing events. It is reliable and highly scalable, supporting viewership numbers in the millions through multiple CDNs. A powerful cloud-based transcoding service ensures optimal viewing on any device, while adaptive bitrate support accommodates a broad range of connection speeds.
IBM’s business live streaming platform offers a host of value-added features. This includes automatic video captioning powered by IBM’s Watson AI (which you may remember as the supercomputer that trounced Jeopardy! champs back in 2011). This saves your company the time and money it takes to make your video content that much more accessible. Other highlights include auto-recording and uploading, support for hardware encoders and other professional production gear, and a live analytics dashboard that offers deep insight into audience demographics and viewing behavior.
- Business live streaming to any device via powerful cloud transcoding
- High reliability with intelligent traffic management and adaptive bitrate support
- Auto video captioning and speech-to-text
- Registration form for lead generation
- Auto recording and uploading
- Password protected streams
- Live chat with polling
IBM offers Silver ($99/month), Gold ($499/month), and Platinum ($999/month) subscription plans with progressively higher viewer hours, channel numbers, and storage amounts. Tailored plans are also available for businesses interested in internal video communications, live event support, over-the-top (OTT) content management, and other enterprise features. Reach out to IBM for a quote.
Kaltura’s education and enterprise video platforms are known for their excellent performance, ease of use, and reliability – qualities that extend to its live streaming and webcasting. Cloud transcoding, simplified interfaces, and automated VOD conversion deliver an optimal experience for users and viewers. The platform also boasts automated scheduling, real-time analytics for insight into viewer performance and engagement, and an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) that optimizes bandwidth usage and lowers cost.
Any school looking for a live streaming platform would do well to consider Kaltura. From lectures and staff training sessions to sporting events and academic conferences, Kaltura makes it easy to share what’s happening on campus.
- Cloud transcoding and a secure eCDN that’s easy on campus networks
- Simplified producer and moderator interfaces
- Automatic conversion to VOD and uploading to CMS
- Automated scheduling options
- Interactive viewer experience (e.g., polls, DVR controls)
- Real-time analytics for performance and engagement
Variable pricing. Contact Kaltura for details.
MediaPlatform is a leader in business broadcasting – and a safe bet for any company in need of a way to reach employee or external audiences. It combines a robust live streaming platform and an intuitive video management portal that makes it simple for viewers to search and consume VOD content. A built-in analytics engine offers insight into key metrics like live event engagement, network performance, and VOD portal usage.
The webcasting platform supports a broad range of browsers, operating systems, media formats, and devices, HDMI video sources and multi-camera setups via hardware encoders, as well as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) video conferencing equipment. Features include event scheduling, dynamic layouts, audience polling and surveying, and moderated Q&A sessions. To protect sensitive or proprietary information, MediaPlatform uses multiple security features to help ensure only authorized viewers can access live streams.
- Wide support for browsers, operating systems, media formats, and devices
- Support for broadcast-quality cameras, hardware encoders, and video conferencing equipment
- Event scheduling
- Custom, dynamic layouts
- Moderated Q&A sessions; viewer polling, surveying, testing
- Security features (e.g., login authentication, Security Assertion Markup Language [SAML] single sign-on)
Not advertised. Contact MediaPlatform to discuss your company’s needs.
Built with schools and corporations top of mind, Panopto makes it simple not only to live stream but also record, manage, and share video content. The live streaming experience is straightforward and seamless for operators and viewers alike. An intuitive user interface lets anyone set up quickly and stream to any device. Panopto will automatically upload the VOD version to the CMS, where employees and students can locate and view it right away. No post-production required.
Panopto is packed with features. Ideal for lecture capture and business presentations, Panopto lets users bring in presentations from PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides to share with their virtual audience. Viewers have access to DVR controls so they can pause to take a break, rewind to catch a key piece of information, or jump to the beginning if they’re late to join. Single sign-on ID management, learning management system (LMS) authentication, and other security features help keep private streams private. Along with analytics, automated captioning, and more, Panopto is a smart choice for any school or business.
- Easy, one-click live streaming to any device
- Simplified user interface makes the platform easy for anyone to use
- Automatic video recording and uploading, with the VOD version available to view right after the stream
- Automated captioning and video indexing
- Live Q&A, threaded discussions, comments, quizzing, and more
- Security features (e.g., single sign-on ID management, LMS authentication)
Like many of its competitors, Qumu offers a feature-filled CMS along with live streaming and video recording capabilities. What sets apart Qumu’s platform is its flexibility. Powered by an AI-driven delivery system, Qumu supports a wide range of corporate video use cases – from executive webcasting and corporate communications to training and employee collaboration. If your company has a live streaming use case in mind, chances are good Qumu can do it.
Behind Qumu’s versatility is an intelligent CDN selection engine called Pathfinder, which companies can tailor to their offices, users, and end points for optimal viewing. Basically, Pathfinder chooses from available CDNs – whether public, private, or software – based on a given user’s device, location, and other relevant parameters. Combined with a video ingestion system, third-party integrations, analytics, and advanced security features, Qumu is worth a look for any enterprise.
- Support for a broad range of enterprise use cases
- AI-powered CDN broker for optimal live video delivery
- Intelligent ingest for easy video content management
- Automated speech-to-text for video indexing and searching
- Analytics (e.g., engagement)
- Advanced security features (e.g., authentication, authorization)
Qumu doesn’t publicly divulge its pricing details. Connect with Qumu for a quote.
Simplicity and reliability characterize StreamShark’s business live streaming offering. A sleek and streamlined interface makes it easy for operators to do their work, and instant stream archiving cuts down administration time after events. Multi-CDN delivery, 1080p cloud transcoding, and adaptive bitrate playback ensure high-quality, smooth viewing on any device and from any location. And with redundancies built into the StreamShark platform, there’s less chance of network hiccups during a live stream.
Apart from a dependable platform, StreamShark offers a wealth of features that make it worth any business’s time to consider. These include standards like live rewind, viewer chat, privacy controls, and real-time analytics. But there’s also a slate of what StreamShark calls “enterprise features.” Among these are 360º 4K streams for immersive experiences, end-to-end stream encryption to ensure only authorized users can access streams, and peer-to-peer delivery to lighten the bandwidth load on internal networks. Another is encoder management, which lets users securely configure and control hardware encoders across internal and external networks.
- 1080p cloud transcoding with adaptive bitrate playback
- Multi-CDN live stream delivery
- Redundancies at every stage to minimize interruptions
- Restreaming to Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch, and others
- 360º 4K streaming
- Real-time analytics
- Live rewind and viewer chat
- Encoder manager for remote hardware encoder configuration and control
- Security features (e.g., single sign-on support, end-to-end encryption)
Standard ($199/month), Team ($499/month), and Business ($999/month) plans with progressively higher data transfers, viewer hours, and simultaneous live streams, and with progressively lower data transfer overage charges. Yearly plans are also available at 20 percent less than monthly prices.
StreamShark’s enterprise features are tied to custom plans. Contact the StreamShark team for pricing details.
Vimeo is best known as a video content distributor akin to YouTube (just without all the ads). But the purchase of Livestream saw Vimeo move into the live streaming space – through that new acquisition as well as its flagship platform. High-quality output and an abundance of features make Vimeo’s live event platform a perfect candidate for enterprise streaming. Vimeo allows streaming in up to 1080p, auto archiving in up to 4K, and simultaneous streaming to major platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch without any extra strain on bandwidth. You also get access to real-time analytics and live engagement tools like audience chat, Q&A, and polls.
Also noteworthy is Studio 6, a live streaming switching and encoding software included with Vimeo Premium plans. Studio 6 supports professional-grade cameras, picture-in-picture layouts, chroma key, color correction, and more. While not as dependable as a purpose-built hardware encoder, it’s a good first step for businesses that want more control over the quality of their live streams.
- 1080p live streaming
- Auto archiving up to 4K
- Multi-streaming to YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, and others
- Bundled Studio 6 switching and encoding software
- Real-time analytics
- Audience chat, Q&A, polls
Similar to Qumu, what stands out most about Wowza is its sheer flexibility, from the use cases it supports to its subscription model. Wowza strikes a good balance between turnkey options – for businesses looking for a simple, reliable live streaming platform – and advanced ones for companies that value customization or have a niche use case in mind. Software development kits (SDKs), application programming interfaces (APIs), and extensive documentation give businesses what they need to build on Wowza’s powerful platform.
Wowza Streaming Cloud delivers live streaming across a global CDN through an easy-to-use management portal. The platform supports a variety of protocols, codecs, networks, and devices, and advanced features like 4K streaming for virtual and augmented reality applications, and ultra-low latency streaming. It also offers tools to secure live streams and get insight into the people tuning in. Wowza Streaming Engine is a self-managed version that can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
- Live streaming up to 4K
- Stream customization and branding
- Ultra-low latency streaming feature
- Developer tools (SDKs, APIs)
- Deployable on premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment
- Real-time analytics
- Security features (e.g., CDN token authorization, geoblocking)
Numerous pricing plans are available, ranging from $49 per month to $2,459 per month. Options are grouped into four categories, each designed for different use cases:
- Event based – Priced per live stream frequency and viewership
- Ultra-low latency – For fast live video delivery, three seconds or fewer
- 24/7 streaming – For camera feeds and OTT live, linear channels, for example
- Pay as you go – Priced per hour of processing, bandwidth usage, and recording storage
Make the most of live video
A subscription to a business live streaming platform is an important piece but not all you’ll need to optimize your live video. Professional-grade cameras and microphones are essential to really impress and engage your audience. You’ll also need a reliable way to capture and encode those video and audio signals.
Epiphan’s Pearl Mini and Pearl-2 hardware encoders include multiple video and professional audio inputs, and support multistreaming so your business can reach people in more places. Plus, our Pearl products are integrated with leading business live streaming platforms Kaltura, Panopto, StreamShark, and Wowza.