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Facebook vs YouTube live streaming: which is best?

Live Streaming Canberra

Facebook vs YouTube live streaming: which is best?

Until only recently, broadcasting an event required a huge outside broadcast truck, 100’s of meters of cable and a crew of 20…oh and a TV channel to broadcast on. I ‘ve been involved in live broadcast for 20 years and the live streaming industry since 2006, working as Executive Producer of video production at Fairfax Media. Fairfax was looking into new technologies that circumvented terrestrial TV broadcasting, which was prohibitively expensive, to broadcast key events such as The Budget, federal elections and breaking news events. It was this experience that found me in the world of live streaming.

Free platforms that reach your audience

Fast-forward to today and things are very different. YouTube and Facebook (and others) have invested millions into their live streaming offerings. You can now stream right from your phone with pretty remarkable results. The broadcast industry has changed also – with smaller and smaller encoders and cameras, providing a professional result with minimal equipment.

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What we like to watch

When it comes to broadcast events, Television has trained us to appreciate professionally produced content. You probably don’t notice the multiple camera angles, pro audio and graphics when you’re watching a game on TV, but would you notice if the event was shot on a single iPhone from the back of the stadium by a bloke who was talking to his mate throughout? It’s worth asking yourself this when you are planning your next event – what is your audience watching at the other end and what would they would like to see – seamless, pro content, or shaky iPhone?

Facebook v YouTube live streaming

At Newcast we offer both YouTube and Facebook streaming to clients and have streamed hundreds of times on both. Here is our pros and cons for both platforms:

What we like about YouTube:

  • Email links: YouTube Live Stream can be sent as a link via email and doesnt require a YouTube account to view – Facebook requires an account to view
  • Embed player: YouTube video player can be embedded on any web site and shared on any platform – Facebook only allows viewers to watch on Facebook
  • Comments on or off: YouTube comments can be disabled – Facebook requires a live moderator to delete comments during the stream
  • Notify subscribers via email: YouTube subscribers to your YouTube Channel can be notified of the time and date of the stream – Facebook goes live to your timeline
  • Thumbnails: YouTube makes it simple to upload thumbnail art – Facebook can too but you need to understand the Facebook API
  • Stability: YouTube’s streaming servers are more solid – Facebook tends to crash or drop out more frequently – we dont know why but we’ve had many issues

What we like about Facebook:

  • Instant live: Facebook streams directly to your likers and friends – YouTube subscribers are less numerous and less frequently on the site
  • Higher reach: Facebook’s reach is massive and the numbers are always higher – YouTube requires the player to be embedded on multiple sites
  • Autostream: Facebook auto plays the stream to your device – YouTube you need to click on a link (which is enough to make 40% of  people switch off!)
  • Better engagement: Facebook’s interactivity is fun- filled with smileys and comments – YouTube has little interactivity
  • Easier to share: the numbers start to climb the more people share the stream, which they do

Our Verdict:

Facebook is better for numbers, reach, interactivity, on-demand catch up numbers and quick/rich analytics. YouTube is better for scheduling, requires zero moderation, reliability and for essential for anyone to watch – most notably those people who don’t have a Facebook account!

Our pick: YouTube!

If you’re considering live streaming, contact us so we can talk you through which platform is perfect for your next event.


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