[Case Study] How 92nd Street Y Creates Community with Live Video

If you live in New York City, you may have attended a talk, taken a class, or participated in a High Holiday service at 92nd Street Y. Founded over 140 years ago to serve the Jewish community, 92nd Street Y – or 92Y for those in-the-know – is a beloved New York cultural institution.

“As a non-profit community and cultural center,” their mission statement reads, “92Y seeks to create, provide, and disseminate programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental health of human beings throughout their lives, their educational and spiritual growth, and their enjoyment.”

For Andrew Krucoff, 92Y’s Director of Digital Content, that mission extends far beyond the walls of a building on the corner of 92nd Street and Lexington Ave. “Live video enables us to express our values and reach people beyond our physical location and beyond the limits of New York City.”

In 2012, 92Y did their research, tested the available platforms, and decided on Livestream as their live video solution.

Streaming Events with an In-House Production Team

Krucoff and his team manage 92Y’s Livestream Events, which include everything from a panel with the cast of Schitt’s Creek to an evening with famed American astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Photo Credit: Rod Morata/Michael Priest Photography

Whether they’re streaming to Livestream, 92yondemand.org, their Facebook page, Twitter/Periscope, or all four destinations (simultaneously!), 92Y never fails to produce high-quality broadcasts. With an in-house production team, 92Y achieves exceptional production value every time.

“Livestream makes it easy to set up, push a button, and go live,” Krucoff says.

Simulcasting to Multiple Destinations

Livestream Simulcast has helped Krucoff and his team expand their reach exponentially since the feature launched in 2017. That year, 92Y acquired 365,162 views on Livestream and 360,947 on Facebook Live, doubling their anticipated viewership by streaming simultaneously to multiple destinations.

“Being able to stream directly to Facebook is huge,” Krucoff says. “Facebook is such a force – you need your content there right now.”

This January, 92Y hosted a talk with TED Talk celebrity Simon Sinek and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. The Livestream Event acquired 290 views on the Livestream platform and an enviable 85,000 on Facebook. That’s 85,000 pairs of eyes that wouldn’t have seen their content if they streamed to only one destination.

But, while Livestream Simulcast expands their reach, Krucoff is quick to mention that it’s not all about views. What really makes the feature valuable is the engagement it sparks. “Reach is important, but that’s not what it’s all about. We want to make sure these conversations are being delivered to the right people. What means the most is meaningful engagement to the dialogue.

And that engagement has certainly been unlocked: the Simon Sinek stream now has 878 Reactions, 585 Shares, and 289 Comments.

Engaging with Brand and Celebrity Fans on Facebook

Since the Simulcast launch in early 2017, Livestream customers have been able to stream to multiple Facebook pages at the same time. This is the perfect tool for institutions like 92Y that host programs with guests and brands with huge followings. When a stream is pushed to their page, that means millions of Facebook users will be notified when the stream goes live.

“Facebook has such a great reach, and there’s huge potential in the communities of other organizations and public figures that we work with,” Krucoff says. “We want to speak to the fans of whoever is on our stage. Get them to interact. There’s a different audience, different comments. It’s a totally new experience.”

Streaming High Holiday Services

While celebrity talks are exciting and attract a large audience, Krucoff has a different favorite series: High Holidays. True to their roots as a center that serves the Jewish people of New York City, 92Y hosts High Holiday services in-person and online.

“The [High Holidays] community really loves the livestreams. My mom watches from her home in Maryland. There’s a couple in Iowa who live three or four hours from the nearest synagogue. Being a part of the services is very important to them.”

Whether they’re streaming a panel for thousands of fans around the world or reaching High Holiday-viewers in neighbor states, 92Y’s live video strategy focuses on creating and fostering community. “It’s great to be able to use live video in a true community sense,” says Krucoff. “People around the world have never stepped foot in the door here, but they have a relationship with 92Y, and that’s why we livestream.”

For more information on streaming your events, watch our recent webinar: Livestreaming Cultural Events: How to Engage and Grow Your Audience.

Header Photo Credit: Gianna M. Bertoli/Michael Priest Photography