Livestream Goes Completely Ad-Free, Even for its Free Service

Today, Livestream announced that all tiers of service on the new Livestream platform will be available on a completely ad-free basis immediately, including the free version. The company also pre-announced a new tier of service that will enable of live stream embedding, with pricing and features to be revealed within the next few weeks. Finally, Livestream announced the availability of a new version of its Livestream for Producers iPhone app that enables users to create an account directly from the app. This lets users download and immediately start live streaming.

Livestream Service Plans

Under the newly announced plan, users can produce ad-free live events for at no charge, but all viewers must have Livestream accounts and the on-demand archives will only be available for 30 days. Or, users can pay $45 per month so that any viewers can watch the event, not just Livestream members, and archives of the live events will be maintained so long as the account is active. Neither account will be able to embed the live event into another website, though both account types can embed on-demand streams in other sites.

For the first time, Livestream co-founder and CEO Max Haot detailed that there will be a third level of service enabling live stream embedding with details to be announced in the next few weeks. This level of service will be true white-label, with no Livestream branding.

Explaining the shift away from advertising, Haot stated that that Livestream is changing its revenue model from an advertising-based structure to a native monetization model that’s less intrusive. Rather than using pre-, mid-, or post roll advertisements that disrupt the viewing experience, or banner or other similar static advertisements that detract from page aesthetics, Livestream will shift to promoted event links targeting Livestream users based on the other content that they have followed, liked, or tweeted.

If users follow a band of a particular genre, for example, a similar band might pay Livestream to notify them about upcoming events. Like promoted tweets and sponsored advertisements on Google, these would be identified as promoted messages but are less intrusive because they integrate more seamlessly with other content and messages from the site.

Haot also clarified the availability of mobile playback for the new Livestream service. When it initially launched, the new service played live on iPhone and Android devices but some on-demand streams did not. Haot attributed this to a technical problem that’s been resolved and estimated that 65 to 70 percent of all on-demand videos now play on mobile devices, and that the company is working towards 100 percent mobile playback compatibility.

Regarding the initial channel-based Livestream product offering, Haot commented that there were “thousands and thousands” of producers still using that platform, and that Livestream would support and update that platform “for the foreseeable future.” With live embedding enabled on the aforementioned third tier of service, however, Livestream expects that many users will transition to the new platform.

Updated Livestream for Producer iPhone App

Livestream also announced the availability of a new iPhone app that, for the first time, will enable iPhone users to download the app and start publishing a live stream without first signing up for an account on the Livestream homepage. The company revealed a video shot in Manhattan that compared mobile streams produced from an iPhone using Livestream and several competing services. Livestream produced the video to demonstrate how it compares in terms of quality at a given bitrate and speed of recovery after breaks in service.

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The updated Livestream for Producers iPhone app makes it quicker and easier to broadcast live from an iPhone.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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