Virtual events using live streaming reached the peak of their popularity after the pandemic forced event managers to reimagine their in-person experiences from behind a computer screen. In fact, The streaming industry is estimated to reach $124.6 billion by 2025.  

Interestingly, virtual events have stayed popular because they provide event planners with many benefits — they’re typically less expensive to run, provide access to a wider audience, and are usually simpler to plan. 

But while they remain popular, we’ve all heard about virtual event fatigue. Live streaming can help keep things interesting, allowing presenters and hosts to interact directly with attendees, with poll questions, Q&A, and more. 

There are multiple live event video streaming services to choose from. We’ll discuss seven options that span from simple to robust. 

  1. Restream 
  1. Webex Events (formerly Socio) 
  1. Webex Webinars 
  1. Facebook/Instagram live streaming 
  1. YouTube Live 
  1. Vimeo live stream 
  1. JW Player 

The best option for you will depend on your event size and goals. Later, we’ll discuss how to choose a live streaming service and dive into each of the services listed above. But first, let’s talk about the benefits of live streaming and considerations when looking for a platform. 

What to look for in a live event video streaming service 

Live video streaming distributes your live meetings and events over the internet in real time. It allows you to interact with people in real time as you’re presenting and expand your reach far beyond the capacity of an auditorium. 

Live events encourage real-time interaction and enable attendees to feel closer to an in-person event environment, even though they’re joining virtually. They can also more easily build connections and engage with the presenter.  

Here are some things you should consider when choosing a platform for your event:

  • Privacy and security 
  • Permission-based roles 
  • Customization 
  • RTMP / CDN 
  • Mobile streaming (multi-device capabilities) 
  • Video analytics 
  • Registration 
  • Engagement tools 
  • Sponsor opportunities

Technical specs like privacy, security, and mobile streaming make the platform experience better for your attendees, while features like engagement tools and sponsorship opportunities can help boost your ROI. 

If you’re looking to stream video for smaller events or meetings, consider more straightforward tools that cater to seminars and conferences. But if you want a live event video streaming service that comes with engagement features, provides robust analytics, and helps you prove event ROI, look for services that offer event management (registration, engagement, analytics, networking)

7 live streaming services for virtual and hybrid events 

1. Restream 

Restream is an in-browser live streaming service that offers powerful multi-streaming functionality. Stream live to 30+ social media platforms, to multiple channels on the same platform (Facebook profiles, pages, and groups), or use RTMP to stream on your server or anywhere RTMP is supported. 

At first glance, streaming to 30+ different social platforms sounds like a lot to manage, but Restream lets you add multiple guests and alert your audience from multiple social platforms when you go live. Restream also allows your viewers to interact with you on their favorite platforms, which increases participation and engagement.  

You can also chat with viewers across all social platforms in real time, via a single interface. Instead of keeping track of chats across multiple streaming services, you can read and reply to messages from one location and set automatic filtering to moderate messaging.  

Restream features: 

  • In-browser streaming 
  • Event scheduling 
  • Stream pre-recorded videos and image files
  • Multi-streaming 
  • Multi-streaming chat from one interface 
  • Chat feeds, CTAs, and overlays 
  • Brand customizations 
  • Customizable chat box 
  • Desktop chat app 
  • Advanced analytics 

Restream caters to events and meetings of all sizes and types, making it a great option for many. However, Restream doesn’t provide an end-to-end solution for event management. If you value features such as a mobile and desktop event app, hybrid event management capabilities, live attendee engagement, and more, consider an end-to-end event management solution

2. Webex Events Streaming (+ Restream) 

Webex Events provides a complete solution for virtual and hybrid events, from registration and data collection to high engagement activities and post-event surveys. Webex Events is your branded event hub for live video streaming, networking, engagement, and sponsor exposure, all under one roof.  

Webex Events’ native streaming (Webex Events Streaming) gives you access to Restream’s professional tier benefits such as full HD, split audio track recording, streaming of pre-recorded videos, and more. Plus, there is no volume-based pricing. Each Webex Events streaming credit allows unlimited live streams. 

Webex Events Streaming also provides a variety of cool features that allow you to create a more broadcast-like live stream with native chat sessions, video overlays, unique layouts, the ability to combine live and pre-recorded segments, and more.  

Webex Events’ platform also provides flexibility for anyone who wants to use another live streaming platform by integrating with all major providers, including Webex, Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook. And if you need something more custom, you can use RTMP to stream to nearly any other platform.  

Watch a live demo of Webex Events Streaming Studio

But Webex Events isn’t just a live-streaming tool. Webex Events is an all-in-one event platform that powers continuous engagement to drive better results for virtual, in-person, and hybrid events. It provides the backdrop for engaging events and enhances live streaming capabilities with its many features, from Simulive and Video on Demand to event gamification and attendee networking.  

With Webex Events Simulive, you can upload pre-recorded content to your event content and schedule it to go live at a specific time. It looks just like live video streaming, and your audience might not even realize it isn’t live unless you tell them.  

Interested in learning more about Webex Events’ new Video Center for Simulive and Video on Demand? Check out our on-demand webinar, New Year, New Event Tech.  
 
With Video on Demand, you can keep your attendees engaged even after your events by sharing pre-recorded video they can access at any time. 

Webex Events features and benefits: 

  • Quick and easy to launch 
  • CTAs on videos 
  • Fully customizable branding
  • Pre-recorded, shareable content 
  • Live attendee engagement (live chat, Q&A, polling) 
  • Gamification 
  • Mobile event app (iOS, Android) 
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Robust analytics  

Webex Events is fully customizable and easy to use; no technical experience is required. The end-to-end event management platform integrates your live streaming event with state-of-the-art attendee engagement, high video quality, and networking capabilities that power amazing events.  

Check out more of Webex Events’ features here or request a free personalized demo

3. Webex Webinars 

You might not be hosting a large-scale event, but if you still need live streaming software for your internal meeting, seminar, or webinar, consider Webex Webinars by Cisco.  

Webex Webinars helps you transform your company meetings, training sessions, and corporate gatherings into secure, reliable, and engaging virtual events.  

Integrated video and audio allows participants to see and hear presenters and panelists in high definition. Plus, internal and external audiences can join events with their mobile devices no matter where they’re located. 

Customize your webinars with branded elements and curate the attendee registration experience to delight attendees and keep them connected.  

If you’re looking to host a smaller, corporate event, consider using Webex Webinars to improve the quality and increase the security of your online event. 

4. Facebook/Instagram live streaming 

Facebook and Instagram Live are free streaming services geared toward consumers and businesses to connect with their audiences. B2C companies might use Facebook/Instagram live to share experiences, sell merchandise, and provide internal video content for customers.  

B2B businesses can also use Facebook and Instagram Live if their audience uses the platforms. For example, B2B companies might share product demos, behind-the-scenes videos, and educational content. 

Facebook/Instagram live streaming features: 

  • Event scheduling 
  • Live chat 
  • Live chat moderation 
  • Live polling 
  • Featured linking 
  • Graphics sharing 
  • Monetization via ad sharing 

Facebook and Instagram do not offer multi-streaming capabilities, so your audience reach is limited to those platforms. Regarding events, Facebook live streaming might be beneficial for small one-off seminars, but they are not a good long-term option. Besides being limited to those platforms, there’s no customer support or white labeling, and ads can disrupt your viewer’s experience.  

If you’re hosting a large-scale event or even a good-sized conference, consider more sophisticated live streaming that can integrate with your other tools and provide engagement capabilities. 

5. YouTube Live  

YouTube Live is another great video platform for creators, media outlets, small business owners, or companies that want a live streaming service for ongoing marketing or promotional videos or “behind-the-scenes” content. Plus, it is completely free to use.  

Another benefit of YouTube Live is the size of YouTube’s community, with 2.1 billion users worldwide. Live streaming videos appear in YouTube’s Live feed, accessible by all users. Your subscribers will also get notifications when you start a live stream and chat with you in real-time.  

You can also leverage YouTube’s encoder streaming for advanced live streams that allow screen sharing, external audio and video hardware, and multi-camera and microphone setups. 


YouTube Live features: 

  • Encoder streaming 
  • Event scheduling 
  • Live chat 
  • Live chat moderation 
  • Screen sharing 
  • Monetization via ad sharing 
  • Analytics 

While YouTube does come with the ability to remove ads (for a fee), it does not facilitate multi-streaming or live in-depth engagement, nor does it have the sophisticated monetization features of a live streaming platform.  

If you’re planning a large-scale event, use YouTube Live to stream behind-the-scenes videos of the planning process. You can also show the venue, branded swag, and other teasers to compel people to register and keep attendees excited. 

6. Vimeo 

Vimeo started as a video hosting and management platform similar to YouTube and adopted live streaming capabilities when it acquired the Livestream platform in 2017. Vimeo has been touted as an alternative live streaming service to YouTube Live for those who want more bells and whistles like event registration, brand customization, overlay graphics, and more. Vimeo also allows more sophisticated monetization opportunities. 

Vimeo features (some features available with premium and enterprise plans): 

  • HD live streaming 
  • Video management and archiving 
  • Cloud transcoding and CDN 
  • Adaptive streaming 
  • Live interaction (live polls, chat, Q&A) 
  • Brand customization 
  • Live overlay graphics 
  • Event registration 
  • Analytics 

With Premium Vimeo plans, you can live stream to Facebook Live and YouTube or embed a player somewhere else with cloud transcoding & RTMP input. Enterprise plans include more features such as Single Sign-On, unlimited storage, auto-archiving, enterprise Content Delivery Network, multiple streams, Q&A moderation, event registration, viewer-level analytics, and more. 

7. JW Player 

Starting as an HTML 5 video player for on-demand content, JW Player is a robust, user-friendly platform that offers live streaming capabilities with advanced features. 

Stream your video from any device and simulcast to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or any other RTMP platform. JWPlayer also offers real-time analytics so you can monitor views, viewer location, devices, and more as you’re streaming live.  

JWPlayer features: 

  • HD live streaming 
  • Adaptive streaming 
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) 
  • HD encoding 
  • Cloud transcoding and CDN 
  • Brand customization 
  • Analytics 
  • Outstream advertising 

JWPlayer has a lot of features for modern businesses. However, they do not offer full-scale event features such as gamification, attendee engagement, sponsor management and opportunities, networking, video rooms, event mobile app, and other features that solidify large-scale events. In that case, you might need an end-to-end event management solution that offers advanced live streaming capabilities.  

How to choose the right live streaming service  

So, how do you know which live streaming solution is right for you? Price is a big factor, but the right live streaming solution must meet your needs as well.  

Start by identifying the problems you’re trying to solve and your event goals. 

Budget 

When reviewing your budget, consider the features a live streaming tool offers that will help you save in other areas. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. For example, if you choose an all-in-one event management platform that costs a little more than a basic live streaming tool, you might save the money you budgeted on registration and attendee engagement software since those features are included.  

Live stream frequency and number of attendees 

Each platform has different pricing structures for different technical needs. You’ll need to make sure the platform you choose can handle the number of attendees at your event. 

Event goals 

If you’re looking to live stream a large-scale virtual event and provide an immersive experience for attendees and sponsors, you’ll also need interactive features that easily integrate with your live streaming capabilities. In this case, having an all-in-one platform like Webex Events is an advantage. 

Integration with other tools 

If third-party integrations are important to you, you’ll want to make sure the service you choose offers them. Start by making a list of all the integrations you need for your event, then compare your list with each platform’s offerings.

Reliability and customer service 

Determining the reliability of a platform and the quality of its customer service can be a challenge. One of the best ways to decide if a live event streaming service will meet your needs is to read their reviews on websites like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius. Look for reviews that mention reliability and customer service. 

The live streaming solution for simple and effective modern event planning  

If you’re running a webinar or small seminar, you likely don’t need a large platform like Webex Events. In that case, use software like Webex Webinars to live stream your event and enjoy some attendee engagement features.  

But if you’re hosting a mid- or large-scale virtual or hybrid event, the benefits of using an end-to-end event management platform that has state-of-the-art live streaming capabilities built in are clear: 

  • Live chat, moderated Q&A, and polling 
  • Event registration
  • Dynamic ticket sales 
  • Customizable to your brand 
  • Gamification 
  • Mobile event app 
  • Community-focused social wall 
  • Sponsorship and networking opportunities 
  • Live Streaming, Simulive and Video on Demand 
  • Community platform  
  • Comprehensive data and analytics 

And with Webex Events Streaming, you’re getting the benefits of a top-tier live event video streaming service (no AV team required), plus the comprehensive features a powerful end-to-end event management platform provides.  

Take your events to the next level! Request a free personalized demo to see how Webex Events can help you engage and excite attendees and drive event ROI.  

Olivia VanCuren
Olivia VanCuren

Content Marketing Specialist @ Webex Events (formerly Socio). Words enthusiast. Passionate about events that foster meaningful connections.