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.

Vimeo’s Best of 2018: Live streaming, OTT, and Stock

We spent our last broadcast for the year recapping and reflecting on our biggest launches from Vimeo Livestream, OTT, and Stock. Didn’t get a chance to catch us live? We’ve got a recap and event recording for you right here.

Industry stats on live streaming and OTT video

We kicked things off with a recap of some of the more impressive (and mind-boggling) statistics from the live streaming and OTT video industries:

Live streaming continues to rise:

 

OTT is on the up and up:

  • Today, 48% of viewers are more likely to start their viewing with an OTT service, such as Netflix, Hulu, or a DVR (StreamingMedia)
  • American households collectively watch more than 8B hours of content each month through connected TV devices (Nielsen)
  • 17.9M households will solely consume content via OTT in 3 years’ time (Video Advertising Bureau)
  • OTT revenues will reach $83.4B by 2021 (DigiDay)

 

Creators and businesses are investing more in content:

 

Catch up on the full event below, or read on to get a quick recap.

2018 updates from Vimeo Livestream

We sat down with Nathan Lundie of the Vimeo Livestream team to dive into some of the big launches this year — including new hardware and long-awaited software updates.

First, we gave a sneak peek of the Studio One switcher and encoder. Compact, powerful, reliable, and nicely priced at under $5,000, it’s a great piece of hardware for those looking to get started with live streaming with a minimal upfront cost.

Then, Nathan walked us through some of the new features in our Studio 5 software. We’ve launched new ways to deepen engagement with viewers, including adding comments from Facebook or YouTube into Studio graphics. You can now use a web page as a browser source in your live stream, too, meaning you have another way to share content to your viewers.

Vimeo Livestream also brought in features to help you produce amazing live events. Additional updates to Livestream Studio includes connecting with remote IP cameras through RTSP — a feature that’s been a long time coming! — as well as a full release of our macOS software.

Get an in-depth walkthrough of our Studio software and hardware updates in our on-demand webinar.

New features from Vimeo OTT

Megan Wright from the Vimeo OTT team shared several features that give creators autonomy over how and when they distribute (and monetize) their content, including the option to deliver and monetize live video.

Vimeo OTT now gives even more control over how you manage and prioritize your content. Not only can you schedule videos to publish in advance with time windowing, but you can see which of your videos perform best with the Top Videos tool.

We also introduced two new ways to better share content and engage with your audience.

1. Free video access: If you’d like to tease your content, you can now give customers free access to your channel for a limited amount of time.

2. Registration-based viewing: you can even make your channel free to review and registration-only, which is especially useful in nurturing and retaining your viewers.

Finally, for organizations that need an added level of privacy and security to their content, such as trainings and internal communications, Vimeo OTT now offers private portals. Customers who use Vimeo OTT’s private portals can also embed a Sli.do widget, to facilitate questions from employees and other participants. Learn more about our Sli.do integration and private portals here.

Affordable, beautiful stock footage

Stephen Nangeroni from Vimeo Stock joined us to talk about how SMBs and creators can utilize this new consumer product.

Vimeo Stock is the best platform to find top-notch stock footage from world-renowned creators. In our ongoing effort to put creators first, Vimeo Stock partners with members of the Vimeo community to bring their stock footage to the masses — contributors keep up to 70% of generated revenue from all Vimeo Stock sales.

You can browse Vimeo Stock for free, and Vimeo subscribers earn 20% savings on all stock footage.

While Vimeo Stock’s collection is currently invite-only, you can let us know you’re interested in licensing your footage by filling out this form.

 

While we’re proud of what we’ve launched this year, none of it would be possible with the support from the amazing members of our community. To everyone who’s used and shared feedback on Vimeo Livestream, OTT, or Stock this year — thank you.

We’ll continue building and improving our services to help you do more with video, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019. Cheers!