After spending the time planning and preparing an awesome streaming experience, finding graphics, visual elements and bringing everything together, you might be left with the question of “which streaming platform should you use”? What started out as a niche space with only one major player has quickly evolved into a monstrous industry, with many different options. Here at Streamplay, we like to think we’re pretty all over the different players, and the advantages they may have over each other. We’ve tried, tested and broken a whole bunch of software and graphics configurations. To help make the decision of which one to use to start your streaming journey, we’ve evaluated the key options for usability and potential- how hard is it to make it? How big’s the pie? Let’s find out.
Is one platform King?
With such a large variety of streaming platforms available, is there an option that reigns triumphant? While Twitch is often crowned as the king of streaming, there are many upstarts that threaten to take that throne. In fact, while Twitch really did begin the whole thing, it’s not even the biggest player. Google and Facebook both offer streaming, and are far and away the biggest giants in the digital content space. But are they capable of beating out Twitch for streaming preeminence?
The answer isn’t quite so simple, each platform is different and has its pros and cons, and have become suited for different streamers and different strategies. Each one is more than capable of delivering an income that will let you go full time, and each one has the tools to go big.
There are many benefits to choosing Twitch as your streaming platform, its entirely focused on providing streaming-only content and has no plans to change that anytime soon. The main benefit of choosing Twitch is an audience of viewers that are ready to commit to a stream, which helps separate this platform from the rest. Twitch is positioned to enable you to create an audience of dedicated stream-watchers, and is more geared towards the hardcore/more serious gamer. Another feature of Twitch that makes the grind more predictable and the road to glory easier to see is the ranking method. While Facebook & Google/YouTube have advanced search and organic reach algorithms that rank the available content, matching people with the content most suited to them, Twitch keeps it old school. Ranking is based purely on viewer count, number 1 spot is held by whoever’s got the most viewers. While this can make it seem biased- really it means the best snowball as hard as they should. Gaining traction is linear, and can blow up when you finally get that magic mixture right.
Part of what makes Twitch great, it’s positioning as a streaming platform first and foremost, is also one of its major weaknesses. YouTube and Facebook both allow for the creation of ‘static’ content, videos and replays that you can edit and upload. Twitch only allows for short snippets, replays, from your previous streams. This means that when you’re offline, you’re not engaging with your audience or driving revenue.
Twitch is also a behemoth, old and firmly entrenched. The key players have been in the game for a long time and they’re veterans of thousands of hours. Taking the down to claim a spot is going to be hard, and take more than just dedication. It’ll take study and trialling of different styles, streaming times, graphics and more. It’s a tough road, but the prize is worth it!
In the world of video hosting, there is no one standing close to the Goliath that is Youtube. YouTube pretty much shaped the internet we know today. It was the first great video hosting site, and has reigned supreme since then. Even more than that, it’s a Google product. Which means seamless integration for Google users, and the world’s greatest marketing power driving traffic to it every moment of the day. This means that the viewership potential is phenomenal, and if you can make it on YouTube, you’ve really made it. One of Twitch’s greatest weaknesses is also one of YouTube’s greatest strengths. As a static video first platform, it’s best suited to content creators and people that aim to create well crafted videos and entertainment. YouTube is also child friendly, and has relevant tools to enable you to reach that younger audience with appropriate content.
As Youtube is mostly focused around static video and has only recently has adopted the live streaming side there are some downsides. Unlike Twitch, Youtube’s viewers might not be as dedicated to watching a lengthy live stream when there thousands of fast-paced videos available. More so, the platform itself doesn’t cater to live streaming, especially of gaming, as well as Twitch does. The menu layouts are different, and the streaming is almost a sub-category, that isn’t easily stumbled upon. That doesn’t mean the streaming tech isn’t brilliant though, and the integrations and premiering options are world class.
The first and probably the strongest benefit of live streaming on Facebook is the constant traffic the platform gets. Social media is, for many people, only a step away from a full-blown addiction, and this makes Facebook gaming a gold mine if you can capture people’s interest. Facebook has millions of people constantly dropping in for a quick look, and their attention is ready to be grabbed. With live streams still being relatively new for Facebook viewers, when it appears on their page it can quickly pique viewer’s interest as something different and out of the norm. It’s the always fast environment and social interaction that Facebook has that separates it from the other platforms. The blend of social media and video also enables you to reach a new audience much easier than Twitch or YouTube, with viral clips and highlight reels.
One of the major cons about Facebook is the same thing a lot of other social media sites face when trying to incorporate streaming. Being known as a social media platform, Facebook’s users spend a majority of their time adding updates to their page, talking to friends, or viewing what other people have posted. Where this is disadvantageous is that a decent amount of the community isn’t prepared to spend the next few hours or even minutes watching a stream, so they end up skipping over live streams they come by. Facebook is great for posting your social interaction and updates but falls flat on grabbing a dedicated audience. Having said that though, it is growing, and growing fast- Microsoft has recently partnered with Facebook to close Mixer, and move the audience to Facebook.
DLive has only recently stepped into the streaming platform ring, but unlike most new platforms DLive has come incredibly well prepared and equipped. Thanks to DLive being a streaming platform backed by famous influencers, there is a need for streamers to make a name on the site. A large majority of popular streamers gained their fans by being one of the only options when the platform was starting, so taking advantage of this now could be a major advantage.
Because this site is so new there are small downsides to choosing this as your main live streaming platform. With an audience that is smaller in comparison to the other options, choosing DLive has a much higher risk, but a higher payoff compared to the rest. If you are considering this platform be ready because it will take dedication and time to gain that starting viewer count.
What To Take Away
Choose a streaming platform that matches what you want. Look over what each one has to offer and decide which one is the best for you, and if you want to you can use a combination to get the best outcome what you were aiming for. Do you want to focus solely on gaming streaming? Consider Twitch. If you want to transition into a well rounded content creator, YouTube might be your best bet. Facebook is ideal for social media gurus and people looking to be an influencer, or are more focussed on transient audiences and casual gamers. DLive if you like a challenge and a gamble! Remember, it’s planning and preparation that’ll make the difference, study your platform of choice, your competitors and prepare your tools. For more information on how to start streaming in 2020, we’ve put together an article that might just get you started.