Livestreaming content online is huge. And the last year or so of people spending a lot of time at home has only increased the demand for livestreaming, and the desire to participate in it. In this article, we’re talking about restreaming your content onto multiple platforms. We’ll cover why you might want to do it, how to multistream, and what your options are.
Do You Want to Stream to Multiple Platforms?
The appeal of restreaming, or multistreaming, is that you can host your livestream on more than one platform at the same time. This seems like purely a good thing, but here is a quick list of pros and cons, as a content creator. The pros and cons are different for businesses that are streaming a live event or a conference, and in fact most of the cons disappear. If you’re streaming gaming, music, or podcasts, read this list. If you’re streaming conferences, courses, or product launches then you can probably skip ahead to the next section.
Pros of Restreaming
- You can reach a potentially wider audience. Followers and fans can engage with you on whichever platform they choose, or see that you’re live on whatever platform they happen to be scrolling through.
- Your content will be more accessible. Needless to say, being available on multiple platforms lets people chat with whatever accounts they already have, and they won’t feel like they need to create yet another new account somewhere.
- You can grow on multiple platforms easier. Why schedule separate streams for different platforms when you can just stream simultaneously?
- You can keep a consistent feel on more social media platforms. Branding, presentation, and voice will remain the same, no matter the platform.
- You’ll have a backup plan. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is risky. Restreaming to multiple platforms and starting to build an audience on each provides a fallback if one of the platforms shuts down (RIP Mixer).
Cons of Restreaming
- It becomes hard to focus on growing a single social media channel. For example, if you split your streaming efforts on Twitch and YouTube, you may not grow to your full potential on either. If you want to make it big, having 60 viewers on one platform is likely more valuable than having 20 viewers each on three platforms.
- You will have the same voice for different platforms. Each social platform has its own way of interacting, and in some cases its own language (looking at you, Twitch, with your poggers and your weirdchamps). By streaming the same thing to different platforms, you lose the ability to take advantage of the unique traits of each platform.
- It’s hard to keep up with multiple chats. Keeping up with chat feeds from various streams is difficult and sometimes confusing. It’s certainly confusing to someone watching on YouTube when you answer a question from Facebook chat that they can’t see. (Some restreaming services do have the ability to combine chats from multiple platforms)
How Multistreaming Works
To the end user, multistreaming simply sends the same stream to multiple platforms. On the creator’s end, however, there are some decisions to make. Streaming from a device takes a certain amount of processing power in order to record what you want to stream and to encode it for streaming. You can use computer hardware with multistreaming capabilities (a powerful CPU or graphics card) or use multistreaming software, which is also demanding on your hardware.
With both of these solutions, you must also keep in mind the internet bandwidth needed to upload a stream to multiple sources. The other option is a cloud-based multistreaming tool, which has the same bandwidth and hardware requirements as only streaming to one platform – the cloud service will then distribute the stream to other platforms. If you have a weaker computer or a basic Macbook, then you may want to consider the cloud option. If you have a powerful gaming computer and a fast internet connection, you will probably be able to stream using the hardware you already have.
Restreaming services work with popular streaming encoders such as OBS Studio and XSplit, so the actual process of streaming is very much the same – you’ll just tell the multistreaming service you use which platforms you want to stream to, and it will handle the rest.
As mentioned in the cons list, Twitch in particular does not like simultaneous multistreaming. More specifically, Twitch requires you to wait 24 hours before restreaming your Twitch stream onto another platform if you want to maintain partner status. If you want to abide by these rules still then you can use tools for scheduling and restreaming content at a later date.
Restreaming tools make this easy, by simply letting you schedule a date and time, then uploading a recording of your stream. Of course, you will need to have a recording of the stream. Some streaming platforms let you download the recording, or you can record it directly to your device if your encoding software has that ability.
This might be a little weird for a gaming streamer, or someone else who interacts with their chat. Restreaming 24 hours later removes the point of livestreaming by ditching the live aspect. There is still some value to it, as it means that your channels are “on” even when you’re not there.
However, it’s a great solution for new music videos, product launches, seminars, religious services, and other special events. These events don’t actually need to be happening live for people to enjoy them, but you maintain the aspect of exclusivity that a livestream can give.
FilterGrade has no affiliation with them, but Restream.io is clearly the overall fan-favorite for multistreaming and for scheduling restreams. Their easy-to-use platform lets you:
- Select which platforms you’d like to stream to, and simply toggle them on and off.
- Get detailed analytics about your stream performance.
- Combine chats from various platforms to avoid confusion for you and for your chats.
- Schedule uploaded content to stream live at a future date.
They are a free service but do offer some premium features and more niche platforms in their paid plans.
However, some critics say that Restream.io has spent so long at the top that they are now lacking features that some competitors have.
Castr is another option, coming in at $9.99 per month. They offer a similar selection of streaming platforms, as well as video hosting, embedded video players, and more. Some legs up over Restream.io include 24-hour infinite loop streaming, video-on-demand, streaming to apps like Roku and Apple TV, SRT captions support, and password protected streams.
The Verdict on Restreaming
Restreaming comes with pros and cons depending on if you’re an entertainment content creator or a business. Only you can decide if multistreaming is right for your brand and your goals, but services like Restream.io and Castr make it easy for gamers, churches, and more to reach their audiences across a variety of platforms.