With Evinar, you can’t bring audience members onto a live streaming stage with you, but you can broadcast anything else. Evinar is a new Facebook Page app launching today via TechCrunch that lets you stream to a live audience nearly nearly any type of content, including YouTube, Ustream, Hulu, Facebook photos, Flickr, SlideShare, tweets, or uploaded text and images.
Evinar definitely lacks interactivity. You can’t collaborate or video chat with the first 10 viewers like on Hangouts, or pipe in the webcam streams of any audience member like promising startup OnTheAir. Plus you can’t stream your own webcam directly. Still, web celebs and thought leaders could use Evinar to connect with their fans in more ways than a standard video stream.
Hosts control Evinar from a separate web interface, while viewers watch via the Evinar app on the host’s Facebook Page. Setting up a broadcast takes just a few seconds, and then you can promote your Evinar event with tweets and Facebook updates, unroll the graphic curtains on your stage, and start broadcasting one of the supported content types. You don’t even need embed codes — just paste in a URL from your address bar and Evinar scrapes and embeds the content.
Evinar lets you broadcast to up to 50 viewers for free, so if you’ve got a Facebook Page you could watch YouTube videos with friends or show them your vacation photos. Premium accounts cost between $9 for 500 simultaneous viewers and $49 a month for 10,000. Hosts can allow viewers to freely text chat with them and each other below the video, or require messages to be approved before appearing.
Evinar co-founder Adeel Raza tells me he built the product because he thought Livestream and Ustream were too focused on streaming webcam feeds rather than other content types. The team proofed the idea for a Facebook Page to fan communication app with a group chat app called Clobby that it says has received 3.5 million installs. Ad revenue from Clobby is giving the bootstrapped company some runway, but it hopes premium account subscriptions will eventually support it.
For now Evinar’s biggest strength is that viewers don’t need to download anything or have a Google+ account to watch. Otherwise Hangouts is a better, much more interactive solution. The lack of a native, direct video streaming option in Evinar is a big annoyance, but the team tells me it’s currently building that functionally on top of the TokBox OpenTok API. The ability to watch from outside Facebook would be nice too.
My biggest gripe with Evinar, though, is that most of the content types including Facebook photos, twitter content, and SlideShare can only be broadcast from a paid account. If Evinar is going to grow, at the very least it needs to make these features available for all users to demo. So in conclusion, a cool app that could kill itself by trying to monetize too aggressively.