Five years after launch, Livestream is making it even easier for video producers to begin live streaming events to their audiences — and to do so in a way that doesn’t annoy them with long pre-rolls, overlays, or banner ads. Livestream is giving its producers full access to its suite of streaming tools, allowing them to turn up live events with custom landing pages on the startup’s website.
With the shift to live, ad-free pages, Livestream is essentially shifting to a freemium model for its services. Unlike competitors Ustream and Justin.tv, which rely on advertising revenue from their consumer-facing streams, Livestream is hoping to make money from producers who pay a monthly fee to take advantage of additional features and capabilities. They can stream for free, but if they want to embed the live player on another site, they have to pay $45 a month to do so. Also, the monthly plan enables unlimited archiving of those events, which are only available for 30 days after streaming with the free plan.
Livestream is also launching a new streaming app for producers, which will allow them to stream remotely from their mobile devices. With the app, users can stream for free, while also taking advantage of other features — like posting text updates, photos, and video clips out to viewers. The startup is also working on an Android app, which will have the same feature set. Livestream is positioning video quality as its key differentiator, enabling high-quality streaming regardless of the network connection. With the iPhone app, it will even allow users to stream via 3G data networks.
While the most recent updates are focused on capturing some of the low end of the live-streaming market, the company has captured a fair number of high-profile customers. Livestream has been used by The New York Times, Facebook, ESPN, SpaceX, and Warner Bros. Records, and has more than 30 million viewers tuning into events on its platform every month. Recently, it’s focused more on hardware with its Livestream Broadcaster and “Studio In A Box” hardware.
New York City-based Livestream was founded in 2007, and has 130 employees across offices in Los Angeles, London, Ukraine, and India. The company has raised a total of $12.7 million in funding, including $10 million from Gannett raised in 2008.