The Top Live Streaming Platforms in 2021

Looking for the best live video streaming platform to reach and engage with your audience?

Here is a list of some worth-considering streaming platforms; you’ll learn what makes them unique and the features they offer.


1. What Is Live Streaming?

Live streaming technology lets you watch, create and share videos in real time, a bit like live TV. All you need to be able to live stream is an internet enabled device, like a smart phone or tablet, and a platform (such as a website or app) to live stream from. Unlike pre-recorded videos that can be cut and edited, live streaming is just that – live.

The current popular live streaming apps include Facebook Live, Instagram Live stories, Twitch TV (often used by the gaming community) and TikTok.


2. The Most Popular Live Streaming Platforms

A. YouTube Live

YouTube Live assists you in broadcasting your content on a real-time basis via the YouTube channel. This platform is designed with impressive analytics and it offers incredible services like chats, tools as well as an interactive platform for communication. Since it is home to 2 billions monthly users, your chance in building a large community is very high in probability.

Moderation of YouTube Live:

Moderating a channel’s live chat makes our YouTube community more welcoming and healthy. YouTube offers live chat moderation tools to help prevent harassment and make everyone feel safe. Some of these tools include: assigning moderators, blocking words list, holding inappropriate chats for review, slow mode, and turning off Live Chat.

Monetizing of YouTube Live:

To monetize your live stream, your channel needs to be part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). You have several ways to earn money from live streams: Ads, Super Chat and Super Stickers, and Channel Memberships.

*Features availability varies by country.

B. Facebook Live

This platform allows you to share content on Facebook as per the taste of friends and followers. People love to live stream on this platform from their profiles, pages as well as from public figures. The best parts about this methods are that you will be able to interact with potential viewers on a real-time basis, followers will be able to receive instant notifications whenever you are live streaming, and it is available for free.

Moderation of Facebook Live:

Once a stream is initiated, the left-hand column will display your live post’s comments, giving you the ability to moderate the discussion while also monitoring the live stream.

A dropdown menu lets you apply the following settings to more easily manage comments:

  • Slow: Commenters can only comment once every 10 seconds.
  • Discussion: Your chat will only show comments of at least 100 characters.
  • Follower: Only your followers can comment.
  • Restricted: Viewers must have accounts that are at least two weeks old to comment.
  • Protected: Commenters must have followed you for at least 15 minutes.

Monetizing of Facebook Live:

You can monetize from ads, to brand partnerships, to support from people, you can earn money with a growing variety of products best suited to the content you share and the communities you’ve built.

Facebook also offers the option to host an Online or Paid Online Event with Messenger Rooms, Facebook Live, or other video chatting platforms. Depending on where you decide to host your event, Online and Paid Online Events allow you to limit content distribution to those who have registered to attend for free or purchased tickets, respectively.

*Paid Online Events are available to a select group of partners at this time.

Scheduling a Facebook Live Session:

When you schedule a live broadcast, 2 posts are automatically created:

An announcement post: When you schedule your live broadcast, an announcement post is published to your Page, letting your followers know you have an upcoming live stream. People who see the announcement post can click “Get Reminder” to receive a one-time reminder notification shortly before the stream begins.

A live broadcast post: At the scheduled time of your live broadcast, a post containing your live stream will automatically be published. People who expressed interest via the announcement post get a notification directing them to the broadcast.

C. Instagram Live

Instagram captures 13% of all live stream viewers on social media today. This makes it a powerful video platform for creators and brands that want to grow. The top reasons to use Instagram Live as a live streaming platform are that you can access a large global user base, more people use the app than desktop site giving creators access to viewers on the go, and you can monetize live video.

Moderation of Instagram Live:

Instagram offers various tools to help moderate your live streaming like:

Control your audience.

Since live videos are a part of your story (the posts that last up to 24 hours), you can hide them the same way you hide your regular Story. Go to the gear menu on your Profile, tap Story Settings below “Account”, and tap Hide My Story From. You can then select the people you’d like to hide your story from, and then go live.

Disable comments.

Turn off comments for your live story by tapping the three dots in the lower right corner of the screen and selecting Turn Off Comments.

Pin a comment for your viewers.

Comments can disappear from the screen quickly during a live story, but you can always pin a specific comment to the screen for all your viewers to see. Tap on the comment you want to pin and select Pin Comment.

Moderate comments.

If you’d rather not see inappropriate words in the comments of your live stories, you can turn on comment moderation. Go to the gear menu on your Profile, tap Comments, and then turn on the toggle for Hide Inappropriate Comments. You can also add custom keywords you don’t want to appear in the comments. These settings apply to all comments on your posts in feed and live stories.

Monetizing of Instagram Live:

In 2020, Instagram announced that they would start sharing revenue with creators on IGTV ads. Previously, however, creators could only get paid by brands they partnered with or make money from selling their products or reviewing them, creating how-to videos about products or services, or running video ads to drive traffic to your website to generate sales.

D. Twitter Live

Twitter isn’t one of the largest social platforms on our list, but it comes with over 187 million monetizable daily active users. It’s also the choice of 13% of people who turn to a social media platform to broadcast a live stream, and that’s a big deal. 

Twitter is the place to see what’s happening in the world—from breaking news to major live events. You can easily create live videos, powered by Periscope, to share what’s happening live.

Once you go live then you will start receiving notifications about followers, comments, and new joining. You can set video replay settings for all your broadcasted videos so that viewers can enjoy them later. You will be able to broadcast videos to the targeted audience, and it is available for free.

Moderation of Twitter Live:

Comment moderation is a feature that empowers our community to report and vote on comments that they consider to be spam or abusive:

Periscope broadcasters may choose to assign moderators, who can help keep an eye on the comments in their broadcast, and mute people on their behalf. When one of their selected moderators mutes someone in the audience, the commenter will not be able to chat for the remainder of the broadcast. Anyone joining the broadcast on Periscope or Twitter will be able to see when someone has been muted by one of the moderators. 

Monetizing of Twitter Live:

A few years ago, Twitter rolled out the Twitter Media Studio, which lets content creators monetize their presence on Twitter. Which means it lets you place in-stream video ads and in-stream video sponsorships right into your brand-safe Twitter video content so that you can earn money directly from the platform.

E. TikTok Live

TikTok’s enjoyed meteoric growth. It is present in 154 countries and pulls an audience filled with younger viewers. For example, 46% of TikTok Live users are aged between 16 and 24, while 20% of TikTok Live users are students. TikTok audience loves live video and is highly engaging and you can have access to live streaming analytics.

Currently, you’ll need to have at least 1,000 followers to access the feature. And although the age minimum for TikTok in general is 13, you need to be at least 16 years old to livestream. If you’re over 18, people who view your livestream can also send you “virtual gifts.” These are a digital currency that can be turned into real cash, although the exchange rate is very low.

What is LIVE gifting?

Simply put, the LIVE gifting feature allows viewers to show their appreciation to their favorite creators by sending them virtual gifts which will be taken into account by TikKok in the calculation of the reward for the creator who is hosting a LIVE stream.

How to gift?

Viewers first have to purchase virtual coins in-app. Coins can be found in your profile Settings within the “Balance” tab. Select the “Recharge” icon to view the coin denomination options.

After purchasing, these coins can then be exchanged for virtual gifts of different value. These gifts come in a fun and unique variety. Different types of gifts require different amounts of coins.

Once you have enough coins to purchase a gift, go into the LIVE stream and select the gift panel. Then hit “send” on any of the gifts you want to give, and it will immediately appear in the stream.

If you haven’t pre-purchased coins before it starts, you can also send a gift during the LIVE stream by clicking on the gift icon at the bottom of the screen and following the prompts.

F. Twitch Live

It is a popular live streaming platform as well as an on-demand video platform that assists users to watch anything they like directly from their console and PC. It provides access to all-powerful platforms for the fastest live streaming. The basic account is available for free and it can be created directly from Facebook. For a turbo account, you need to pay $4.99 every month.

Moderation of Twitch Live:

Moderators (also known as mods) ensure that the chat meets the behavior and content standards set by the broadcaster. They can be easily identified in chat by the green sword icon that appears next to their name.

Moderation Preferences:

AutoMod

AutoMod is an automated method of catching potentially risky messages in chat so they can be reviewed by a channel moderator before appearing to others. When a user sends a message that AutoMod flags as potentially inappropriate, the message is held pending approval or denial by your moderators.

Block Hyperlinks

Enabling this setting will block all links from being posted in your channel. Only the channel owner and channel moderators can post links when this setting is enabled.

Non-Mod Chat Delay

A short delay can be added to chat messages appearing in your channel. This gives chat moderators and bots a chance to remove them before viewers can see the message. A good setting for allowing moderation without a noticeable impact on the viewer experience is 2 seconds.

Monetizing of Twitch Live:

The Twitch Affiliate program is the first step to monetizing your Twitch account. Like the YouTube Partner Program, there are a set of minimum requirements you’ll need to meet.

These include:

  • 50 followers
  • 500 total minutes broadcast
  • 7 unique broadcast days
  • Average of 3 or more concurrent viewers

Once you reach that threshold, you can apply to become a Twitch Affiliate. Being an affiliate provides its own list of benefits, including:

  • Twitch subscription
    Many Twitch streamers find that subscriptions provide the majority of their income. Twitch offers three subscription levers, at $4.00, $9.99, and $24.99. Subscribe to a particular streamer, and Twitch splits the revenue from the recurring monthly fee 50/50 with the broadcaster.
  • Twitch Bits
    These are Twitch’s premium emoticons, purchased with real money but “tipped” to streamers in the online chat that accompanies each live stream. Each Bit tipped to a streamer pays $0.01, meaning that a hundred of them trickling through the chat pays $1.
  • Video ads
    Unlike YouTube, ads on Twitch are a relatively minor source of income, paying roughly $2 per 1,000 views. Since ads are in-stream, and even the biggest streamers may have only a few hundred viewers at any one time, total ad revenue for any one streamer tends to be pretty low.
  • Donations
    Donations are a simple, one-off sum paid to a streamer, often through PayPal.

G. Vimeo Live

To stream live video in up to 1080p HD using Vimeo, all you need is a camera, microphone, and a Vimeo Premium or Vimeo Enterprise membership. 

Moderation of Vimeo Live:

You must be on a desktop browser in order to use the chat moderation tools. Opening your event on the Vimeo mobile app allows you to see and participate in the chat but there are currently no options to manage the chat via the app.  

In the upper right corner of your live event, you will see a speech bubble icon. When new chat messages come in, a small red dot will appear on it. There will also be notification balloons populating in the upper right corner of the event. Click the icon to see the chat window to the right of the player and all the messages in real time.

Monetization of Vimeo Live:

Creators on Vimeo OTT can earn a steady source of revenue through both on-demand video and live stream monetization, on a monthly or annual basis.

What’s more, Vimeo OTT offers branded apps across a suite of streaming platforms, including Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Tizen, and more. This means you can stream your content under your brand, while offering a top-notch app experience for your clients.

Entertainment brands like MHz Choice rely on Vimeo OTT to distribute their films and series to their growing audience, wherever they are.


3. Multi-streaming Platforms

A. Restream

Restream is a service that allows its users to live stream to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and 30+ streaming sites simultaneously. It can also automate the stream of their pre-recorded videos through scheduling, and reduce the work for hosts to interact with all of their viewers from different streaming platforms by putting it all in one screen. No need for switching tabs! Restream is available for all major OS, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. 

B. StreamYard

StreamYard is a live streaming studio that streams videos directly to Facebook, YouTube, and other online platforms all at once. Users could invite guests to stream with them, share their screens, and much more. Users can also have up to 6 participants in their stream, and also show viewer comments on screen, making it more interactive for the viewers and the streamers!

C. WireCast

Wirecast is a software that allows multistreaming to different platforms, broadcast to TVs in facilities and more. It can control real-time switching between multiple live video cameras and can add scene transitions and multiple layers such as Quicktime videos, texts, music, audio, and slides, to create professional broadcast productions for live or on-demand sharing online. 

D. Castr.io

Castr is a simplified live streaming platform that helps its users to extend their audience reach by streaming to multiple social media sites all at the same time and also to stream to their own websites easily using a fully customizable embeddable player. You could also stream pre-recorded videos live, schedule the upload of videos, or run videos in a loop.


Conclusion

So, what is the best live streaming platform?

Ultimately, only you can decide what solution is best for your video needs. Your choice will support all sorts of video use cases — both internal and external — and offer the necessary security and customization features to keep your content safe and on-brand.

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