17 Best Live Streaming Platforms and Apps in 2021 (Free & Paid)

  • Reading time:36 mins read

Want to know which platform to use for running a live stream of your content?

There are loads of options out there, from free to paid, from super simple platforms to more techy applications.

Whatever you’re looking for in your live-stream platform, we’ve got what you need.

We’ll be looking at:

  • Everything Uscreen can do for your live-streaming efforts.
  • How some of the top social media platforms run their live-stream offerings.
  • Other paid-for tools that you might be considering.

In all, we’re going to be covering what we think are the 17 best live streaming platforms available, which are:

  1. Uscreen
  2. YouTube Live
  3. Facebook Live
  4. Instagram Live
  5. LinkedIn Live
  6. Twitter Live
  7. TikTok Live
  8. Twitch
  9. Facebook Gaming
  10. YouTube Gaming
  11. Amazon Live
  12. Reddit Live
  13. Mixcloud
  14. Panopto
  15. Wowza
  16. Brightcove
  17. Zoom

Before we dive head-first into these details, let’s give the overall gist of what we’re talking about here.

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of today (08/26/21).

TL;DR

  • There are lots of reasons people want to live stream, so the best live streaming platform for you will depend on what you’re looking to do.
  • Uscreen is the logical choice if you’re interested in monetizing your live streams and other video content on your terms, with complete control over your audience and loads of different ways for them to access and interact with content.
  • All the major social media platforms offer live streaming – Facebook and YouTube even have gaming-specific sections on their sites – with huge reach and a large audience, although monetization options are limited and restricted.
  • Live streaming gaming is a massive industry and Twitch has a massive chunk of the market with a well-refined platform, although Facebook and YouTube are both going after the market.
  • Always one to be different, Reddit offers a unique live streaming experience with limited broadcast times and wholesome, user content fully encouraged and no monetization options; while Amazon is the complete opposite and out to monetize their live streaming with their Amazon Influencers.
  • Even though the Mixcloud platform is specific to music and audio, they still see the benefits of live streaming, having added it to the platform relatively recently.
  • The focus on video in general – and live streaming in particular – from some of the biggest tech companies in the world is a clear sign that this is a format you should be working on.
  • If your needs are on the B2B and enterprise side of things, platforms such as Panopto, Wowza, Brightcove, and Zoom may offer the tools you’re looking for – such as secure feeds, meetings, and monetization through ads.

What is a Live Streaming Platform?

A live streaming platform is an online tool that allows you to upload and broadcast video content in real-time, as opposed to recording and uploading it after the event.

Live video is a popular and growing way for content creators to connect with their audience – in fact, at the start of 2021, 24% of all streamed video content in the world was done through live streaming platforms.

There are loads of reasons why live streams have become a go-to content format, with academics saying that viewers engage with live content because they build a connection with the streamer, and it offers a sense of social presence.

With the popularity of live streaming, there has been an increase in online sites and mobile applications where you can host your live content.

These platforms – including some of the biggest websites in the world – let you live stream content like…

  • webinars
  • conferences
  • gaming sessions
  • office hours and Q&As
  • interviews

… to help you build a connection with your audience using their technology.

Which of these various platforms is going to work for you?

We’ve got the 17 best live-stream platforms coming right up.

1. Uscreen

uscreen live streaming platform

Here at Uscreen, we’re an all-in-one video monetization platform.

On top of our video-on-demand and membership features, we also have all the tools you need to go live and monetize your efforts.

We’re here to support entrepreneurs and businesses alike to build those connections that audiences crave, giving you full access to your subscriber data so you can take your interactions into their inbox, too.

You get the features you need to build your brand like thousands of others have done, with a combined turnover of over $100 million for our clients to date.

How does this all fit into live streaming?

From January to August 2020, live streaming on our platform jumped an impressive 1,468%, with businesses from a wide variety of industries getting in on the trend.

Want to check out a couple of our users and see how it’s done?

Example #1: Bootshaus Live

bootshaus

Along with being the top club in Cologne, and possibly even all of Germany, Boothaus is the place online to watch and listen to live DJ sets.

Attracting some of the best dance music talent from around the world, Boothaus host regular live streams of their events so fans of the club and the artists can feel like a part of the set.

For a monthly subscription, users can watch the live sets, access exclusive sessions, and stream the back catalog of events through on-demand video.

Let’s change the pace and look at a less energetic business using live streams.

Example #2: National Comedy Center

national comedy center

Based in Lucille Ball’s hometown, the National Comedy Center is a celebration of all the things that make us laugh.

To that end, they have a vast library of video content, including stand-up performances, documentaries, and interviews.

An important element in the mix of content the National Comedy Center offers is live stream conversations with classic and up-and-coming comedians.

The live content is free, but comedy fans can sign up for a six-month membership to unlock all the other content that’s hosted on the site.

If you think this looks good, here’s a rundown of everything we can make happen for your live-stream content.

Uscreen features

Uscreen is built to give you all the tools you need to create, support, and scale your video and content business.

Some of the key functionality we offer for live streaming includes:

  • Live streams with live chat so you can interact directly with your audience.
  • Countdowns to your live stream to build a sense of anticipation.
  • Automatic recording so anyone who missed it can play it back at any time.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and an unlimited number of members who can join you.
  • A downloadable CSV file of all the attendees that joined, so sending a follow-up email is a breeze.

All of which can be monetized with a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual subscription, multi-tiered subscription, rental, and pay-per-view (PPV) access to your videos.

To get the word out about your live streams, we’ve got handy marketing tools like discounts, coupons, and free trials, and you can easily integrate your email marketing and CRM tools with our platform.

Once you’ve engaged with your customers, you can offer them access to your live broadcast and on-demand content through your own branded website and white-label OTT apps that work on TVs, iOS, and Android.

Put simply, we offer you a platform to host and stream your content as well as everything you need to make money from it – all housed on a website and app you design yourself with our drag-and-drop site builder.

Uscreen pricing

uscreen pricing

We’ve got three tiers of access with different pricing depending on the features you need.

Live streaming is available in our Amplify and Enterprise packages, with our OTT apps available exclusively to our Enterprise customers.

Want to see how you can build and expand your business with a video streaming platform?

Request a demo with us and we’ll walk you through exactly what we’ll be able to achieve together.

More than 11,000 entrepreneurs, brands, and creators have leveraged Uscreen’s all-in-one platform to build successful video businesses and monetize their content online.

Source: TrustPilot

Get started with Uscreen now, book a free 1-on-1 demo!

2. YouTube Live

youtube live

Every day, 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube by its 2 billion-strong audience.

YouTube is the place to be for video content, whether that’s original TV series like Cobra Kai, amateur ASMR videos to help you sleep, or super helpful how-to videos from businesses you follow…

As you can see from our shameless content plug, you can make money from your YouTube content, and there are even extra features that let you monetize your live streams specifically.

What are all the features of YouTube Live?

YouTube Live features

There’s plenty you can do with live streaming on YouTube.

Live streaming content can be as simple as tapping the “Go Live” button on your mobile app, which will ping your subscribers so they know you’re online right there and then.

Other key things you should know about YouTube Live are:

  • You need to enable live streaming ahead of your intended broadcast, and you’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers to be able to go live from your mobile app.
  • If you don’t necessarily need to be mobile, you can even live stream through your webcam or use an encoder, which is ideal for broadcasting your screen, for example.
  • You get powerful, real-time analytics through your ‘Live Control Room’ so you can see how many people are watching and engaging.
  • Your fans are able to send you money through your live chat, with the top 5 super chat earners in the USA in June 2021 taking home a combined $363,371.
youtube live top super chat owners

Once you’ve got your live stream all set up, you can embed it pretty much anywhere online – so it can sit on your website or other social media channels.

The costs of YouTube are next.

YouTube Live pricing

There aren’t actually any upfront costs to live stream on YouTube.

Using the platform is free to you and your viewers, but you will have to make some compromises, such as:

  • You don’t get your user data, so you can never send them an email.
  • YouTube’s branding will always be on your video content.
  • You only get a share of the revenue from in-video ads, which isn’t the same for everyone.
  • You always face the threat of demonetization – losing your eligibility to earn off your videos.

Our next live streaming service is…

3. Facebook Live

facebook live

Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, with 2.797 million monthly active users as of Q4 2020.

In 2019, the social network announced that it was shifting focus and prioritizing original and engaging video content. 

You can make money from the video content and live streams you run with in-stream ads, as long as you hit Facebook’s eligibility criteria, which are:

  • To live in specific countries in the world; there are 48 on the list so far.
  • Be over 18 years old.
  • Comply with the Partner Monetization Policies.
  • Have more than 10,000 followers.
  • Have at least five active videos on your page.
  • Have 600,000 minutes of video views in the last 60 days, with 60,000 of them being live video if you want to advertise on your live content.

It may not be easy to monetize your Facebook content, but there are other features that are positive.

Facebook Live features

Since Facebook is so popular across the world, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find your audience on the platform.

Going live is one way to do that, and you can stream live from your business page, personal profile, or from a Facebook group depending on the type of content you want to put out there.

Some other useful features include:

  • Automatic saving and posting of your live streams.
  • Real-time comments and reactions to your stream.
  • Live event scheduling up to one week before the big day.
  • Follower notifications ahead of the event, depending on their settings.

Moving on to the pricing.

Facebook Live pricing

Like the platform in general, it doesn’t actually cost you anything to live stream on to Facebook.

Facebook get their profit from the ad revenues on the site and shares a portion of that with you if you have video monetization set up, but how that share is decided isn’t confirmed by the company.

Hopping over to Facebook’s little sister.

4. Instagram Live

instagram live

As of June 2021, Instagram is no longer just about square photos.

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced the pivot towards video on July 1st, 2021, acknowledging that TikTok and YouTube were now the platform’s direct competition.

mosseri announcing instagram changes

Live streaming on Insta grew by 70% between February and March 2020, which resulted in some additional monetization options for creators on the ‘Gram, which we’ll look at when we get to the features.

Features you say?

Instagram Live features

To start live streaming on Instagram, just swipe over past the post, story, and reel buttons, and tap the button to go live instantly.

Your followers will see your profile picture highlighted at the top of their app so they can drop into your live feed whenever they want.

Some useful features that Instagram live streamers can use are:

  • The option to invite people to your live feed with a notification once it’s started.
  • The ability to invite other people into a live room so you can connect with other content creators.
  • Filters and overlays on your video so you can add a VHS look, stars, or funny faces, for example, to your live stream.
  • Badges that your fans can buy to get noticed in your comments section.

It’s all really simple and accessible!

Are there any costs?

Instagram Live pricing

Again, Instagram is free to use for content creators and viewers alike.

Facebook, the owner of the site, makes its money by selling advertising space in your feed, if you hadn’t already noticed.

From a modern tech giant to a stalwart of the industry.

5. LinkedIn Live

linkedin live

It took a while for Microsoft-owned LinkedIn to jump on the live stream bandwagon – they only launched the feature in Q1 2019.

Since then it’s become very successful, with the company claiming that live video on their platform receives 7 times as many likes and 24 times as many comments than natively streamed video.

According to Social Insider, video is the best way to drive engagement on medium-sized LinkedIn accounts, with comment rates of 2.19% and an average of 30 likes per post.

Wondering where your LinkedIn Live button is?

Well first, you’ll need to apply for it and meet certain criteria:

  • Have at least 150 followers or connections.
  • Already be sharing posts and other self-created content on LinkedIn.
  • Play by LinkedIn’s Professional Community Policies.
  • Not be based in mainland China.

Once you get approved for LinkedIn Live, what are the goodies you get?

LinkedIn Live features

When you use LinkedIn Live, you can stream from either your business page or personal account – whichever has been accepted – and create live events.

In terms of events, you can:

  • Have a chat for attendees to discuss your topic ahead of time.
  • Let your attendees submit questions before you go live.
  • Host a live chat during the event that’s also visible during playback.
  • See the standard LinkedIn reactions on your stream in real-time.
linkedin live chat

One of the most prominent features of LinkedIn Live, and LinkedIn in general, is the audience you have access to.

60% of users are between 25-34 years old, and the average user has an annual income of $46k – it’s a young and affluent market to be taking your product to.

Getting down to business with the question of cost, next.

LinkedIn Live pricing

As with the other social networks we’ve looked at so far, you don’t have to pay to use LinkedIn Live’s features.

You can advertise your live stream content before your event, but it’s worth noting that LinkedIn has the highest cost-per-click (CPC) of any social media network.

Flying over to the next place you can choose to live stream your event.

6. Twitter Live

twitter live

Twitter may not be the biggest social network, with 199 million active users as of Q1 2021, but it still generates huge revenues – it raked in $3.7 billion in 2020.

Before you could stream videos live directly on Twitter, you used to be able to use Periscope.

The Periscope app was discontinued in January 2021, but no worries – everything you used to be able to do has been folded into Twitter’s capabilities.

Anyone can go live on Twitter; just tap to add media and you’ll have the option of streaming straight from your smartphone.

Broadcasters can also use an encoder to stream from different sources.

Here’s what you get when you use Twitter for streaming live video.

Twitter Live features

There’s no tab or specific hashtag to access live streams on Twitter; instead, you need to encourage your followers to turn on notifications for your activity and promote your stream ahead of time.

Once you’re streaming, there are some useful options available to you, including:

  • Being able to invite guests to participate in your live stream, with up to 3 people in your video at once – handy for a live Q&A session.
  • Letting your viewers request to join your live stream.
  • Sending invites out to your audience that’ll land in their DMs.
  • Comments and hearts from your live stream viewers during your streaming session.

Plus, after you’re done, your video will automatically be saved to the platform so your audience can rewatch it.

You also get access to video analytics during and after the stream.

Let’s look at the pricing.

Twitter Live pricing

Twitter doesn’t charge its users or creators for the platform, making money in the same way as most social networks – through advertising.

Speaking of ads, you can monetize your Twitter Live content as long as you’re already eligible for the monetization program with the platform.

To the last of our social networks that you can stream online video through.

7. TikTok Live

tiktok live

TikTok is quickly becoming a dominant force in social media, as it was downloaded to 850 million mobile devices in 2020  – and it’s already pushed Insta into fresh territory, as we saw earlier.

Videos on TikTok used to be limited to 15 seconds before being expanded to one minute, and as of July 2021, the company started rolling out 3-minute videos to users.

However, if you’ve got more than 1,000 followers and are over 16 years old, you can actually go live on TikTok and run your live video stream with seemingly unlimited time.

Just shy of 48% of TikTok users in the US are 29 or under while 40% of users have a household income of $100k+ – that’s an audience you should be engaging with.

When you get on the platform to reach out to these users, these are the features you’ll get to use.

TikTok Live features

As a relatively new player in the social media game, TikTok is still actively improving its offering with regular updates to the features it offers.

Just recently, the platform has been updated to allow creators to host LIVE Events, meaning they can promote their stream and viewers can…

  • discover
  • register for
  • get notified about
  • get reminders about

… events they’re interested in.

Other features that TikTok offers to live streamers include:

  • Picture-in-picture so streamers don’t lose viewers so easily.
  • Go LIVE Together, meaning you can have more than one person in a stream.
  • Q&A sessions so users can ask you questions.
  • A “Top LIVEs” category so it’s easier for your live content to be discovered.
  • The option to add help, or a moderator, to your live stream.
  • Keyword filters to help comment moderation and a prompt for commenters to reconsider unkind words.

Pricing is next.

TikTok Live pricing

Another social network, another place where you host live streams for free.

You can monetize your live streams by accepting gifts from your viewers, with the gifts having a monetary value.

There are eligibility criteria to get TikTok monetization features, which are:

  • Must be based in the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy.
  • Must be over 18.
  • Must have 10,000 followers or more.
  • Must have more than 100,000 video views in the last month.
  • Must follow TikTok’s community guidelines.

Now we’re moving on to the next platform on our list of live video streaming sites.

8. Twitch

twitch

On average, there were 2.6 million people watching Twitch at any given time in July of 2021.

This audience is made up of mainly people under 34 – they make up 73% of all users and nearly 27% of viewers are located in the USA according to Alexa.

While it’s built its audience on live streaming gaming, Twitch does have channels dedicated to art, music, and lifestyle as well.

If you want to stream your gaming content or are interested in exploring all the frontiers of your new Twitch content, here are the features you get.

Twitch features

Twitch is the first of our live video streaming services that actually started out as such – it began as Justin.tv in 2007.

This has given Twitch plenty of time to develop its offering to live streamers as well as give viewers what they’re looking for.

As a streamer on Twitch, you can have:

  • Live comments on your streams.
  • Followers who can interact with your profile.
  • Emote slots to increase viewer interactions.
  • Cheermotes that can boost your earnings.
  • Subscriber badges for your fans.
  • Scheduled events for your streams.

You can stream with hardware or software encoding tools, or through your gaming console.

Money matters are next up.

Twitch pricing

Once again, there isn’t a fee from Twitch for using their services, either for streamers or viewers.

Video game fans can choose to buy extras like cheermotes which can be used to give a financial reward to the streamers they’re watching.

As a creator, you can also monetize your Twitch streams with ads during your content if you meet the requirements of:

  • 500 minutes of live-streamed content in the last month.
  • 7 separate live-streams over the previous month.
  • An average of 3 viewers or more per stream in the last month.
  • At least 50 followers.

Another gaming live-stream option is being served in 9th spot.

9. Facebook Gaming

facebook gaming

In Q1 of 2021, over 1 billion hours of live-stream gaming was watched on Facebook Gaming.

That’s a lot of people watching people play video games. 

Facebook has hugely committed to gaming already, with the company developing cloud-based gaming and paying out $1.5 billion to games developers already.

The biggest streamer on Facebook Gaming is Alodia Gosiengfiao, with 7.5 million followers who watch her play a range of games like Call of Duty and Garena Free Fire.

facebook gamer

The head of the Facebook app, Fidji Simo, even told the New York Times that gaming has become a priority for the company, so you can be sure there will be plenty more to come from Facebook Gaming.

Looking to the future is all well and good, but what features can live streamers on Facebook get access to now?

Facebook Gaming features

There’s already a dedicated Facebook Gaming app to focus the community in one place, that can also be accessed through the Watch tab on the Facebook app or desktop website.

Whichever channel your audience engages through, you still get access to the same feature set.

If you’re broadcasting with Facebook, you’ll be able to:

  • Easily stream mobile or desktop gaming.
  • Enable comments and reactions from your audience.
  • Receive stars from fans that have real monetary value.
  • Have in-stream ads playing.

As well as use the community-building features that Facebook is known for.

Do you have to pay for this one?

Facebook Gaming pricing

Short answer? Nope.

There’s no cost for streamers; viewers can choose to buy stars and give them to streamers, but that’s not a requirement to be able to watch a stream.

As we’ve just noted, you can monetize your Facebook Gaming live content, which is called Leveling Up.

You need to:

  • Create a Gaming Video Creator page and have an admin who is 18+.
  • Have the account active for at least 14 days.
  • Have at least 100 page followers.
  • Stream gaming content on at least 2 days in the last 14.
  • Tag the game you play in your stream.
  • Be in one of the countries eligible for Level Up.

Another live-streaming platform focused on gaming is next.

10. YouTube Gaming

youtube gaming

We already know the stats on the video streaming giant, YouTube.

Within the sprawling servers of the second-largest search engine on the internet, there is a strong group of live-stream gamers giving the masses what they want.

12% of the world’s population watch esports, or competitive video gaming.

While this might not seem like a lot, 12% of the 7 billion people in the world is a huge audience.

You’ll normally find 636,000 viewers watching gaming streams at any one time on YouTube.

Two of the top 10 earners on YouTube are gamers, namely Mark Fischbach and Preston Arsement, with 27.8 million and 33.4 million subscribers respectively.

Clearly, there’s a lot of potential to become a successful live-streamer on YouTube, so what features help you get there?

YouTube Gaming features

The tools you get for YouTube Gaming are pretty much the same as you’d get with normal YouTube Live – click on link #2 on your left to jump back up to it for a refresher.

Along with the features that come with YouTube Live, there’s also support available from YouTube through their Creator Academy – to help you learn how to best build and develop your content.

Is there a cost?

YouTube Gaming pricing

Again, no.

You don’t have to pay to stream your high-quality gaming content with YouTube Gaming.

There are monetization features available, hit that second link on the left to remind yourself of the details.

We’re drifting away from social media for our next live streaming solution.

11. Amazon Live

amazon live

No longer a simple online bookshop, Amazon is an internet giant that now offers live streaming along with their OTT streaming service.

You won’t find gaming, conferences, or yoga classes here, though; Amazon Live is all about shopping.

I mean, would you expect anything else?

After all, Amazon is the parent company of Twitch, so they don’t need to go after the same streaming market on another platform.

In Q2 of 2021 alone, Amazon’s retail arm brought in $58 billion in revenue, and that’s only for the products they sell directly to consumers – although there’s no breakdown of how much money is generated from live video.

There’s a huge potential audience for live-stream shopping, which has been compared to a modern-day QVC, with more than 2.7 billion monthly visits to Amazon.com in the US alone.

The features you can access on Amazon Live are next.

Amazon Live features

Using Amazon Live isn’t for everyone, as there are specific conditions you need to meet – the first one being that you need to be in the USA to run a stream.

There are two types of creators that can use the platform:

  1. Store vendors and sellers on the Amazon Brand Registry.
  2. Members of the Amazon Influencer Program.

To be an Amazon Influencer, you need to have an established presence on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube and have met certain engagement metrics, although Amazon doesn’t disclose what they are.

Streaming can only be done through the Amazon Live Creator app on iOS once you’re signed up to stream.

During your live stream, you can:

  • Do product demonstrations.
  • Share your screen with your viewers.
  • Run a live chat to encourage interactions.
  • Encourage your viewers to click a prominent “Follow” button for your brand.
  • Have a carousel of featured items so viewers can buy your products immediately.

The price of using Amazon Live is next up.

Amazon Live pricing

There’s no direct cost to stream on Amazon Live, although running an Amazon-produced live stream will usually require spending a minimum of $35k on advertising.

As an Amazon Influencer, you earn a commission off the products that get sold during your live-streams.

This commission structure is the same as for associates and can be up to 10% per product.

You’ll also need to invest in an iPhone or iPad if you don’t already have one, which is a setup cost to keep in mind.

On to the 12th live streaming platform.

12. Reddit Live

reddit live

If you’re looking for “weird, wonderful, wholesome, and random” live streams, the Reddit Public Access Network, or RPAN is where you want to be.

Reddit is a community-centric social network, helping users connect with like-minded people through forums organized by topic where people can post content and get comments, upvotes, and downvotes.

36% of US Reddit users are under 30 and globally, there are more than 50 billion views of the site each month.

Users love and trust Reddit; it has a higher net promoter score than any other social platform and its community focus makes it a place where you can build meaningful connections with your viewers.

RPAN is a completely different setup to any other streaming platform we’re going to look at, so let’s move to the features and see how it works.

Reddit Live features

As with most things on Reddit, live-streaming is a bit different.

You can’t go live whenever you want; there are specific times and places.

The subreddit r/pan allows live broadcasts between 1 am – 5 pm PT every Wednesday, with limited spots available.

Along with the main subreddit for PAN, there are a range of other subreddits that also allow live streaming.

There are 17 different places on Reddit you can stream outside of the official RPAN hours, with a whole range of themes including:

  • Makeup.
  • Cooking.
  • Learning.
  • Live music.
  • Technology.

Although there are limited spots available to broadcast in these communities, too.

Redditors will need to have been a member for at least 14 days and have at least 125 comment karmas – these are points awarded for leaving helpful or engaging comments – to be allowed to broadcast.

After you stream, your video will be saved so anyone can access it again, so long as your feed wasn’t cut off by admins.

Each Redditor can stream for 3 hours, and this time can be extended by awards from their audience.

Features covered, what about pricing?

Reddit Live pricing

There’s no cost to broadcast live on Reddit, although you will need to earn your comment karma by getting upvotes on your comments first.

Other Redditors can give you awards for streaming, which are bought with Reddit Coins, which in turn cost real money to buy.

When you get an award from a viewer for your live stream, it may be worth Reddit Coins, ad-free browsing for a number of days, or other perks.

13. Mixcloud

mixcloud

If you’re a live streamer who’s ever had copyright issues and takedown requests, Mixcloud may be the platform for you.

The platform actually pays royalties for the music used on the site – it’s a video and audio streaming platform geared towards DJs, musicians, and podcasters specifically.

Though it was established in London more than a decade ago, it wasn’t until April 2020 that live streaming video was added for creators.

Listeners can access Mixcloud’s Android or iOS apps for free.

After downloading, they can then choose to financially support creators on the platform with subscriptions to get exclusive content and ad-free streaming.

What do creators get from Mixcloud?

Mixcloud features

Mixcloud is probably the most niche live streaming platform we’ve looked at so far.

More than 1 million creators use the site, including some internationally famous names, such as Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, and Jazzy Jeff.

With a potential audience of more than 20 million listeners, Mixcloud offers:

  • Streaming direct from your desktop or the option to use streaming software to broadcast live.
  • Customization for your channel.
  • Access to engagement stats for your live stream.
  • Live chat on your stream to increase interactions.
  • Paid subscription options for fans to boost your income.

Bouncing to the pricing.

Mixcloud pricing

mixcloud pro trial

Mixcloud charges creators $15 per month for the Pro plan, which lets you live stream your music and videos through the platform.

As we noted a moment ago, you can also charge a subscription to your fans with Mixcloud select.

You don’t get to keep all of that cash though; 5% goes on transaction fees, 65% goes to paying royalties to the music makers, and the remaining 30% splits between you and Mixcloud, 60/40 in favor of you, the creator.

Next one is…

14. Panopto

panopto

Live streaming is just one of the features on offer from Panopto, which positions itself as a video tool for businesses and educational institutes.

The product offers video content management, with a secure library to store your recorded videos.

Instead of public live streaming, Panopto works to securely stream content such as meetings, lectures, or conferences.

If you start using Panopto, what do you get?

Panopto features

There are a few different use cases for Panopto, but since we’re looking specifically at live streaming platforms, we’re going to compare oranges with oranges and focus on the live streaming features here.

Using Panopto is easy since there’s no need for encoding – just click and you’re live to your team, employees, or audience.

You’ll also be able to:

  • Record your live streams so they can be saved and watched again.
  • Add logins to your streams so only the right people can tune in.
  • Broadcast to an unlimited number of people.
  • Stream through multiple cameras and share information from presentation tools.
  • Have live captioning on your stream.
  • Boost audience engagement with live chat features.
  • Monitor analytics in real-time.

This one does cost money, so here’s the pricing.

Panopto pricing

panopto pricing

The Basic tier of Panopto is free, with 100 hours of streaming each month and up to 5 hours of video storage.

The Pro plan is restricted to the US, UK, some EU countries, and Canada.

With the paid subscription, you’ll get 50 hours of video storage and unlimited streaming capacity.

At the Enterprise level, you get unlimited storage and streaming.

Just 3 more live video hosting platforms to look at.

15. Wowza

wowza

Wowza is a dedicated live-streaming software that can stream your content through the cloud or live encoders.

In addition to being an option to stream your live events, Wowza also offers live streaming for your security needs.

It’ll deliver your content to a range of devices, and they offer developer tools like a software development kit (SDK) so you can get really involved in the specs if you want to.

Here’s a more detailed rundown of Wowza’s features.

Wowza features

Rather than being a website where your users go to watch your live stream content, Wowza hosts your live streams and you can embed them wherever you want – like your own website or social media, for example.

You can also:

  • Record your live stream for later use.
  • Add captions to your live stream.
  • Insert advertisements to monetize your content.

The money you’ll pay is the next topic.

Wowza pricing

wowza pricing

There are two main options when it comes to Wowza’s prices, depending on whether you’re looking to reach large audiences or get your software developers involved with the Wowza Streaming Engine.

The penultimate tool in our live streaming platform comparison is next.

16. Brightcove

brightcove

Brightcove is an enterprise-level solution, working with multinational organizations like the BBC and Adobe.

Their use cases cover solutions for marketers, broadcasters, entertainers, and internal communications alike, and deliver live streams to global audiences.

If you’re a large company with software developers, they’ll be happy to hear Brightcove also has an API they can enjoy.

What’s the full feature set available?

Brightcove features

As with Panopto – and when we looked at our own product – we’re only going to look at the live streaming solutions that Brightcove offers.

If you’re looking for details about OTT streaming options, we’ve got a full breakdown of your options you can check out.

In the meantime, live streaming with Brightcove will give you:

  • High-quality, scalable streaming options.
  • Server-side ad insertion (SSAI) so you can monetize your content.
  • Options to add your stream to your social media channels.
  • The ability to bypass ad blockers and to geo-restrict content.
  • Security on your stream that prevents piracy.

This comes with a price tag though, so let’s get to it.

Brightcove pricing

There is definitely a price for Brightcove, but unfortunately, they don’t have it on their website as of the last time we checked, so we can’t share it with you.

We’ll keep checking though, don’t worry.

One more then we’re done.

17. Zoom

zoom

Zoom has gone from being just another tool that some businesses used, to being synonymous with video meetings in one short pandemic.

The founder of Zoom wanted to make a product that people enjoy using, and the fun spilled over into a courtroom when a lawyer got stuck with a filter over his stream and infamously declared to the judge “I am not a cat”.

Fun aside, Zoom grew its customer base to over 470,000 businesses in 2020, and the app was downloaded an impressive 485 million times in the same year as the world looked for ways to stay in touch during COVID-19.

Seems like most of the world should know how Zoom works, but we’re going to look at the features anyway.

Zoom features

Essentially, Zoom is a tool that enables online learning, meetings, and communication through video chats with one or multiple people.

What makes Zoom different from a lot of the platforms we’ve looked at is that they don’t offer video-on-demand (VOD), meaning your recorded meetings will need to be uploaded to a different video hosting solution.

In terms of live streaming – rather than any of Zoom’s other tools – you can:

  • Run your live meetings in HD quality, with up to 1,000 people viewing your feed at a time.
  • Host live webinars with up to 50,000 participants.
  • Use augmented reality and studio effects to bring your live stream to life.
  • Host a live chat during your stream and set moderators.
  • Let attendees “raise their hands“.
  • Invite people to share the hosting with you.
  • Add breakout rooms to your meetings and conferences.
  • Let people access your live stream on desktop, iOS, or Android apps.

Plus, they recently launched OnZoom, a marketplace for live streamers to market and monetize their content like yoga, language, and coding classes.

zoom livestream

That’s what it does, now we’ll look at the cost.

Zoom pricing

zoom pricing

Here, we’re showing the pricing for Zoom Meetings, which come in 4 tiers.

As you’d expect, you get more features the more you pay, with the main differences being the length of your meetings and how many people can attend each one.

There are different plans for events and webinars that ramp up the number of attendees and offer analytics, among other benefits.

That’s it, we’re all done and it’s finally time to wrap this journey through your live streaming software options up.

What is the Best Live Streaming Platform?

There’s no doubt that live streaming gives your audience a great viewing experience.

They can interact with you, learn from you, spend money with you…

What’s not to love?

As you know by now, there isn’t one live streaming platform that’s perfect for everyone.

Want to get your events out there to the world? You probably want YouTube Live.

Looking to engage your social media audience? Facebook Live is likely the way to go.

On the hunt for a place to show the world your gaming skills? Twitch is the place to be.

Searching for a DIY streaming solution with technical details? Wowza will be the one.

Aiming to monetize your live streams and give your audience a complete branded experience? We’re going to say Uscreen is the answer.

If we look like the solution you’ve been looking for to give your audience a great streaming experience that they’re happy to pay for, let’s chat.

Book a demo with us and we’ll show you all the capabilities we can offer you and your business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still got questions?

Sure you do.

Finding the right live streaming platform for your virtual event, online courses, or gaming is tough, but we’ve got the answers to questions you’re probably asking.

Q1. What’s the best platform for live streaming?

The best live streaming platform will depend on your needs. The best 17 live streaming platforms to choose from are:
1. Uscreen
2. YouTube Live
3. Facebook Live
4. Instagram Live
5. LinkedIn Live
6. Twitter Live
7. TikTok Live
8. Twitch
9. Facebook Gaming
10. YouTube Gaming
11. Amazon Live
12. Reddit Live
13. Mixcloud
14. Panopto
15. Wowza
16. Brightcove
17. Zoom

Q2. Where can I live stream for free?

Free live streaming is available on the social network platforms:
– Facebook
– Instagram
– TikTok
– Twitter
– LinkedIn
– Twitch

Q3. What equipment do you need to live stream?

There is some basic equipment you need to be able to live stream, including:
– A good quality camera.
– A tripod.
– A gimbal if you’re streaming on the go.
– A case if you’re streaming with an iPad.

Some more technical equipment you might need includes:
– An external microphone.
– An audio mixer.
– Lighting equipment.
– A backup power source.
– A capture card.
Video production software.

Q4. How long can I live stream for?

The length of your live stream will depend on the platform you choose for your broadcast. At Uscreen for example, you can live stream for more than 50 hours per month with our Enterprise plan.

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