How Much Does A Live Stream Cost?
I recently did some digging, and found it was very difficult to get a ballpark figure on what a professional live stream costs. The truth is, every show is unique and therefore pricing will fluctuate. But instead of leaving you with your head in the sand, I want to provide you with a basic estimate and outline what factors of a Live Production influence and directly affect cost.
First, let’s start with some broad numbers: You’ll notice a sizable range gap, and might be wondering why there’s such a big difference. Let’s explore some elements that influence these prices to find out where that money goes. Here’s some single day event prices to start to get us in the ballpark:
1 Camera Stream: $2,000 - $6,000
3 Camera Stream: $5,000 - $25,000
8 Camera Stream: $15,000 - $150,000
1 Social Media Integration: $1,000 - $3,500
WHAT LEVEL OF PRODUCTION ARE YOU AFTER?
This may be an obvious one: but the camera, lighting, and audio needs and choices will be one of the first major factors that alter price point.
For example: It will be cheaper to do a single speaker with a handheld microphone talking into a camera than it would be for six speakers on a panel in front of an audience. Right away, you can guarantee you’ll need more mics, speakers for the room, additional lighting, more cameras / camera operators and zoom lens options.
Interested in the single camera model? One other main price determinant is the addition of a Switcher. A switcher grants you control and professionalism, as well as a safety net. You can now playback pre-produced videos onto your stream, throw to a ‘Stand By’ card if there are any talent or production malfunctions, and fade in and out between Graphics and Camera. (Especially useful if you have a PowerPoint Presentation that you’d like to integrate.)
IS THERE PRE-EXISTING INTERNET ON SITE?
This is almost the first question asked after hearing the concept of your live event. I’m not talking about WIFI. You’ll find all professional streaming services will request a hardline internet between 5 Mbps all the way up to 100 Mbps depending on how much bandwidth you’ll need for a certain event.
For example: Want to get a full 1080HD signal up to YouTube? Plan for a dedicated 10 Mbps circuit. Want to add a live 360 camera stream to that? Plan for a 30Mbps circuit. You’ll want to ask for a dedicated line, because if your stream is at on office building with dozens of other coworkers downloading/uploading files on the same network, that 30 Mbps could drop significantly and cause issues with the stream.
Assuming there’s no pre-existing internet or the line isn’t sufficient, that’s where a cost jump comes in. The streaming provider may bring in a cellular bonded encoding solution or even a specialized IP satellite truck to provide the necessary bandwidth. The cost could be anywhere between $700-$12,000 depending on the service required, how long the show is and how far the truck needs to be from production control.
IS A SETUP DAY NEEDED?
One of the most expensive items in any production is crew costs. A very quick way to see an increase in cost is when adding days to production. However, if you’re planning a 3 Camera Stream at 8AM, you’ll likely need to plan on having a setup/rehearsal day.
To add to that: we work with a lot of company heads and CEO’s who aren’t typically on-camera personalities. With rehearsal, comes comfort. A rehearsal day affords you the chance to work out the kinks, and eases a lot of tension, (especially if you’re a company that doesn’t typically do live video).
Obviously the more days you add, the lest cost it is per day, but to go from 1 -> 2 days, expect to pay 2 days worth of crew and gear costs.
WHAT ARE THE PLATFORM REQUIREMENTS?
Now if you’re sticking with the standard YouTube, Facebook, or Periscope streaming platforms, these are free to use!
But let’s say you need a stream that’s password protected for internal use. Or let’s say, you want a Pay-Per-View event. Or maybe you want live captions on your video, for an unbranded player that’ll live on your website.
The more specific your needs get, the more the price fluctuates. Platforms like UStream, LiveStream, Brightcove, Wowza, and Akamai are all great in different areas. The request will dictate the platform of choice. Factors like: Do you need password protection? What resolution do you want the live video in? How many viewers are you expecting? How long is the event? Will you require a ‘Video on Demand” afterwards? Those questions will dictate the price point, and I won’t lie, it varies heavily. I would say between $1,000-$4,000.
DO I NEED SOCIAL INTEGRATION?
One of the big reasons to go live is to create an interactive space between you and your viewer. Fans like to feel that they can have a direct impact on what happens next. My advice is to do your best not to lose that.
One of the ways to do this is to introduce live social overlays with hand-picked comments or tweets that your on-camera talent can reference! This does a few things: one it PROVES you are in fact live, and secondly, it rewards interactivity and as a result, you’ll get a lot more of it.
There are a few services that do live polling, tweeting, and full screen social overlays. My recommendation however, is Tagboard. The platform is easy to manage, and adds a professional edge to your live broadcast.
We’ve seen a lot of platforms out there for social integration, and the range varies greatly, from simply providing tweets from audience, to polling, and completely custom overlays with leaderboards, chat panels, tickers, and other graphic elements. I’ve seen this range from $1000 to $8000 per event
There you have it! In a nutshell, those are the big factors that influence cost in a Live Streamed Event. The more prepared you are to answer these questions ahead of time, the more accurate the initial price quote and conversation will go.
However, if you don’t have all the answers or are new at this, that’s exactly what we’re here for. Our goal is to make you look good. Having produced such an eclectic group of live shows, we’re happy to help with elements both technically and creatively to ensure your live stream is a success!
Contact us today for a quote!