Livestreaming for Governments: How to Reach Your Community

Livestreaming has become a valuable tool for governments to increase civic engagement. Governments of all sizes have taken to streaming city council meetings as a way to communicate their message to their community. Several cities such as the City of New York have passed bylaws that require local governments to start streaming city council meetings. By livestreaming, governments are demonstrating transparency and accountability; it also provides real-time and accurate information to citizens quickly and efficiently.

Why You Need to Stream Your City Council and Government Meetings Online

Mobile + Digital Is The New Normal

According to a Nielsen Company audience report, the average American spends over 10 hours a day online. Technology has become an everyday part of our lives. Gone are the days where someone will physically make a complaint at city hall. They’re more likely to voice their concerns over phone, in a tweet, or an email. When constituents want to look up community events for the month, they are also more likely to look online. Streaming press conferences, town halls, and government meetings online gives governments and city councils a real opportunity to meet their constituents where they are.

Constituents May Not Be Physically Present

While constituents may want to attend every meeting, the reality is that they can’t always be physically present. You might be located far away, transportation might be a challenge, people may be on vacation. Give constituents the flexibility to fit your meeting into their day – whether by livestream or on-demand – and be rewarded with a more engaged audience as a result. Give constituents the option to watch the livestream at a time that suits them, from the comforts of their home, and they will very likely get more out of it and tune in more often.

How Local Governments Are Using Live Video

Many municipalities and governments are addressing these challenges and providing their residents with more ways to observe and engage by streaming city council meetings.

In 2014, New York City passed legislation requiring all community boards to livestream their board meetings.

The city of Austin, Texas streams 3,100 video clips to its residents each month.

Many others in Arizona, North Carolina, Chicago, and Los Angeles are also streaming city council meetings several times a week on average.

6,959,622 viewers watched 241 politically-focused streams on Livestream from November 2016-17, leaving 5,355 comments.

48,284 viewers watched the US Department of the Interior’s Livestream in 2017.

Over 112,000 views have been generated by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s Livestream account of more than 8,000 followers, as of February 2018.

388 government organizations across 70 countries used Livestream to broadcast 10,597 events in 2017.

2 million live concurrent viewers and 3 million live watch hours were generated across 6 news networks that used YouTube to livestream the first 2016 US presidential debate. (Source:TechCrunch)

80% of audiences would rather watch live video than read a blog. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

82% of viewers prefer live video to social posts. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

78% of people watch videos online every week. (Source: HubSpot)

67% of viewers say quality is the most important factor when watching a livestream broadcast. (Source: Livestream and New York Magazine “Win a Free Mevo” Survey)

100m hours of Facebook videos are watched every day. (Source:Recode)

A livestream of a Chicago City Council meeting.

5 Things You Need to Consider for Your Government Livestream

Smarsh’s “Facebook Live: Best Practices” shares a few best practices to make livestreaming for your city council or government a success.

#1 What Is the Purpose of Your Livestream?

As with any strategy, your livestream should be built on a goal or purpose. Some considerations: Who is your target audience? What information do you wish to communicate? That purpose may evolve as your livestreaming efforts expand, but it’s important to bear in mind what the main focus of each livestream is, who you aim to reach, and how success will be measured.

#2 Announce and Promote Regular Broadcasts

“LIVE” doesn’t mean “by surprise,” says Smarsh, an archiving platform. Announce, promote and share upcoming livestreams through your social media accounts and remember to direct them to the channel or platform you’re broadcasting from. Smarsh recommends regular scheduled broadcasts, such as a weekly or monthly community wrap-up, to build a consistent following over time.

#3 Train Your Spokesperson for Branding and Consistency

Do not underestimate the importance of training your live video representatives to ensure messaging of your organization is consistent across the board. Consistency and emphasis will help reinforce your livestream “as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of quality information in the community,” says Smarsh.

The City of Chicago livestreams its Police Academy Welcome.

#4 Repeat Key Information

When livestreaming during an emergency, it’s worth noting that viewers are more likely to retain key information when they are repeated. Smash recommends repeating key details such as phone numbers, websites, names and locations at least three times during an emergency. They should also be shared on social media channels and your website.

#5 Drive Your Audience to Social

Whether it’s a livestream or on-demand video, make a habit of sharing or forwarding the content on social media platforms and encourage your viewers to do the same. “This built-in audience is essential to helping you spread the word to your entire community,” says Smarsh.

What Governments Are Saying About Live Video

“Livestreaming board meetings is an efficient and inclusive way to encourage more citizen involvement in the county government process.” – John Barkley, County Administrator, Greene County, VA

“Livestream has been tremendous in facilitating the Chicago Mayor’s Office’s ability to connect with residents. Chicagoans can just go to the City’s website from any device and view the mayor’s events live in real time.” – Ankur Thakkar, City of Chicago Office of the Mayor

“2.9b people are online. If you can’t use video to get to them, you’re irrelevant.” – Dana Berchman, Chief Digital Officer of Gilbert, AZ

Looking to livestream your next council meeting? Find a platform plan that suits your needs and budget.

IBC 2018 Recap: New hardware, software updates, and industry insights

This September, the Vimeo team was back for round two at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC). We had an amazing time joining 55,000 attendees from around the world to share the latest updates from our Livestream and OTT services.

Thousands of people stopped by the Vimeo booth, many of them checking out our Studio product line, including the popular Mevo camera, the all-in-one Studio HD550, and our new Studio One switcher and encoder. We also showcased the new features in our Studio 5 software, including the ability to use a web page as a browser source in your live stream, and add comments from Facebook or YouTube into Studio graphics.

Want to get up to speed on the latest additions and features to our Studio product line? Watch our webinar.

Insights from successful video businesses

Vimeo’s OTT service piqued the interest of many attendees, as well, in part due to great booth programming. We were thrilled to feature interviews with special guests from myriad industries, including British Telecom, action sports channel Insight TV, UKTV Play, Bollywood network Eros Now, and Ellation.

Through these conversations, it became clear that organizations and media companies are shaking off industry fads and zoning in on how to run their business effectively, plain and simple. One programming highlight came from an interview with Nate Daniels, Marketing Director at Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). A leader in faith-based programming, TBN recently transitioned their services — 32TB of video content — to Vimeo OTT in only 3 months.

Not only were they able to pull of a massive content migration on a tight deadline, but TBN garnered substantial savings by partnering with Vimeo OTT. Their use of Vimeo’s branded apps has boosted their app rating to an impressive 4.8 in a matter of months, further proving that it is not necessary to invest exorbitant amounts of money in custom features or a bespoke platform to provide a high quality app experience for viewers. We’ll be diving in to his story in an upcoming blog post; stay tuned!

Vimeo is proud to be a leader in democratizing live and on-demand OTT services for creators everywhere. Learn more about what OTT can do to monetize your live video content here.

How to engage and retain video subscription customers

Beyond programs at the booth, Vimeo also made an appearance during one of IBC’s Content Hub sessions. Vimeo’s own Kathleen Barrett, SVP of Enterprise and Head of Creator Success, presented at Growing an OTT service: How to engage and retain customers and manage expanding operations.

Speaking with other leaders in the OTT space, including executives from Integros, Paywizard, and IABM, panelists shared their insights and expertise to help content creators scale and sustain their audience, in order to succeed with OTT.

In case you missed it, watch the full session on IBC’s website to learn straight from OTT experts on how you can improve your customer experience and retention.

 

Interested in learning more about what Vimeo can do to help you monetize live content and grow your audience? Watch our on-demand webinar now.