CDN - CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORKS

Content Delivery Network is the technical name for the service or services you might use to get your message out to the digital world.


There are 'free' services and there are 'private secure' networks. Each one has its merits and limitations. 


The 'free' networks cost you nothing however you have no control over what they might do or when they might do it. For example they can, if they feel your content breaches copyright or decency levels, terminate your stream without warning. Which can be very embarrasing, so control over 'any' audio material (even background) is vital to prevent this happening.


The positive with 'free' networks is familiarity. Everyone is used to the name and function of the service, it is distributed world-wide and everyone can watch it with familiarity.


'Private' secure networks are literally that, 'private'. This enables you to have full control over who sees it, how much they pay for it, the content you deliver through it and the safety in knowing your 'visual copyright' isn't going to copied and distributed publicly.


The URL (web address) of your live stream cannot be copied and sent to another person to watch 'free of charge'. Therefore only viewers you want to view are able to.


If you breach 'copyright' you are not going to be automatically shutdown, however it is important to have the appropriate licences in place if applicable.


It is worth keeping in mind that you can stream to both 'paid for' and 'free' service at the same time. With control using the 'free' service to promote the full  'paid' content.

Paid For CDN - Private

The danger with the 'free' CDN's is unexpected stream termination, the ability to copy your stream, concerns about copyright, random deletions, chat room blunders or slander, ability to download your content and total lack of control over who can access it.

These are all catered for via a 'paid' service and they can offer two types of service. (1) Delivery of your content with more control over technical and copyright issues, preventing the instant termination during delivery. This is a complicated cost to work out at the CDN wishes to know, how many people will be watching the  stream, for how long and in which territories. (2) The paid 'ticket' based option which is ideal for the creative world, where performers can 'earn' from the content, have total control over where it is going, and all the other fears are virtually eliminated. 

This doesn't only apply to 'performing arts' but the 'paid ticket' structure has merit for trade, arts and knowledge based content too. Rather than 'giving away' all your skill and knowledge via a 'free' CDN, why not earn something from it too?

Ultimately, a combination of promoting and giving viewers 'tasters' using the free network is a great way to build audience and encourage them over to the 'paid' CDN either during the performance or via promotional activity beforehand.

YouTube - Free

Is vast, has a massive Google based network and everyone has easy to access to view it on any smart device. It offers three kinds of streaming service 'Public" = anyone can view any time. 'Private' = only you and people you choose can watch it and 'Unlisted' = anyone with the link can watch it.

There are strict copyright limitations and a 'strike' system which mean you can be banned from using the service for 14 days or more without notice.

People can chat on screen while you stream and you are advised to moderate this chat. You can select whether the chat is visible 'after' the stream or not.

If you are new user there may be limitations on your stream until you build significant subscribers.

Instagram - Free
Current Instagram doesn't allow live streaming from professional software. It is purely limited to streaming directly from your phone. useful for PR purposes.
Facebook - Free

Is equally vast, and also shares similar 'control' over your content and watches closely for copyright breaches. A breach can include a passing car playing commercial music through the open window which will stop the stream.

The video quality is getting better and there has been updates over if you can stream to a 'page' or a 'group'. The goalposts are always moving with Facebook so do check first if you can stream to a specific group or page before committing yourself.

The stream link can be copied and distributed with no control.

The chat facility stays with the stream recording after it has finished. Moderation is important when streaming.

Twitter - Free

Another large player but one less convenient for watching detail as most people will only view Twitter videos on their phone.

Once again it has very tight copyright and decency controls. Once again the link can be copied and shared with no control.

It really depends on your following and whether this platform is right for you.