In the online video world, the hottest new trend is live streaming. It's a fascinating concept, but one that not a lot of people and companies have mastered. Brian Gramo, the founder of theStream.tv, however, is one of the exceptions. He began streaming several years ago out of his bedroom back before Justin.tv, Stickam, and other streaming networks were around.
"We started doing it cause it was fun," said Gramo.
The business quickly grew out of his bedroom and began to gain sponsorships. As Gramo explained to us, one aspect that was and continues to be key to live streaming successfully is consistency. He believes in having consistency not only in content, but also in production value.
Gramo told us that the lighting, sound, and product have to be "awesome." If the production quality is high, it brings about consistency. As a result, it also frees up the talent to do what they do best - be creative. They don't have to worry about audio not working or the stream cutting out and can concentrate on connecting with viewers.
For companies and individuals that want to begin streaming, Gramo said that, in addition to consistency, you need to have a strong, reliable Internet connection. Also, you need to be concerned with latency speeds to avoid delays in the stream. In other words, it's ideal to have a solid Internet connection with low latency.
Gramo also recommends that beginners utilize free streaming services such as Justin.tv, Stickam, Livestream, and Ustream. Although theStream.tv doesn't use the software, it does use some of the services. It uses the Adobe Flash Media Encoder and the TriCaster XD850 to send the signal to Justin.tv to be streamed live. Gramo did point out that they use a separate computer for every aspect in order to make sure the stream is secure.
Another interesting element of theStream.tv is the interactive experience it creates. Each show is first broadcasted live on Justin.tv, and during the program, it has a person monitoring all the conversations taking place online. Gramo said it allows everyone to be on the same page and the voice of the viewer to be heard. Any issues that need to be addressed can be taken care of while the show is airing live.
Gramo also emphasized proper testing before going live. He suggests that the talent and the production rehearse their roles in order to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Going forward, Gramo believes that live streaming will become more popular than television. TV currently has more leverage because it is where the old media buyers that are stuck in the old ways are spending money.
"Once everyone figures it out that you can actually track the amount of people watching on the Internet and the duration that they are tuning in for, I think eventually it's gonna change," said Gramo. "It will switch, but it will just take time."
He went on to say that there is a lot of power of advertising during live programming since viewers cannot fast forward few commercials as they are accustomed to doing with DVR devicea. He thinks that advertisers will soon realize this and take advantage.
By the way, I think it's safe to say that Gramo knows what he's talking about because, even though his business had a humble beginning, theStream.tv now occupies a 4,000 square-foot studio in Hollywood.