Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming [Review]
Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming: What Is It?
Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming is an award-winning* web-based livestreaming service/platform targeted at virtual and hybrid events that require scale, security, reliability, and media-level picture quality.
Easy to integrate with any virtual event platform or tech stack due to its well-designed APIs and top-tier developer support, the product uses its advanced encoders and processing power to create video players that can responsively adapt to multiple formatting needs and internet speeds — making live streams available to users globally in the highest resolution possible, with no buffering required regardless of device or bandwidth changes.
*In 2021 Brightcove won two Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards for its streaming technology.
Main Feature Categories
Brightcove’s product automatically transcodes live stream videos in order to accommodate multiple video formats and resolution levels in real time. This unique feature makes content accessible to all users, regardless of where they are, what device they are using, or the network bandwidth they have access to.
For example, if someone is watching an event on a WiFi network and then switches to mobile data (as can happen when changing locations), the video stream will automatically adjust the video’s compression level to meet the new bandwidth limitations without buffering or interruptions — in fact, the person watching won’t even know it has happened.
High resolution live-streaming
While Brightcove partners with many key event tech companies and notable event producers in the industry, the company also caters to media houses. This means the quality of the streams Brightcove broadcasts has to be of the highest standards where even the tiniest mistakes are unacceptable (think international award shows and major sporting events — two common use cases for Brightcove technology).
Essentially, virtual and hybrid events are streamed at the same quality as Netflix.
With the Brightcove player, content producers of all kinds can create customized and branded experiences via an editable HTML5 player that allows you to share videos on your desired platform, either as an embed or as a fully-integrated solution.
Creating new players is relatively easy with Brightcove’s responsive and robust player features. Available customizations include the option to design the look and feel of multiple players across various platforms, click-to-edit functionality, thumbnail previews, closed captioning, and a robust plug-in framework.
The player feature also gives a choice of iframe codes, standard or more advanced (the recommended option). Further, content can be restricted via a “white-list” of allowed domains (such as specific URLs, regions, or IP addresses), with security built-in at the player level. In other words, if a bad actor copies the embed code and pastes it into their website, the player will not work — only white-listed sites are able to use the code.
Live content clipping and sharing
Usually, content producers have to wait until after the event has taken place to edit content and release promotional clips to external channels, like social media platforms, other event pages, etc.
However, with Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming, the producer can capture segments from the live stream while the broadcast is still happening — enabling the event marketing team to create posts that act as real-time event teasers across a variety of channels. Since the product allows for multiple team members to be given different access levels to various sections of the backend, a team member can be assigned to collect these snippets during the live event.
This feature is enabled by clicking on the “Clip” option in the left-hand menu of the event’s control room, then scrolling back to the desired section (which immediately becomes accessible as the video is broadcast), and selecting the desired start and end time. The clip can then be shared directly to social channels from within the Brightcove control room.
Brightcove offers unlimited scale, ranging from hundreds of event attendees into the millions of live or on-demand concurrent viewers. The size of the viewership will not compromise the quality of the video stream. Resolution adjustments are made only to accommodate fluctuating bandwidth levels from the end user.
Automated content management
For those with a high output of content production such as major enterprise event producers, APIs can be utilized to upload videos programmatically. Under this system, files can be transferred via content and asset management systems that are fully integrated with the Brightcove platform. For example, if a content producer is using Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) to produce and organize videos, they can use AEM to define the details of when and where to upload the content into Brightcove’s player(s). The content will automatically be uploaded to the correct Brightcove player on the end platform as it’s finalized. This kind of system can save high-volume content producers a lot of time that would otherwise be spent having to manually upload videos into the player.
Last year, Brightcove bought HapYak to increase engagement and uplevel video interactivity. Brightcove’s players now allow live stream producers to overlay chapters, quizzes, links, custom forms, surveys, clickable “buy now” CTAs, and viewer sentiment tools.
However, in most cases, Brightcove’s Virtual Event Streaming player will be integrated or embedded into a virtual/hybrid event platform that will already have its own live chat and Q&A functions.
Virtual and hybrid event producers can use the best event platform on the planet, but if a live stream drops, the event will not be successful. Essentially, Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming is a content publishing and live streaming SaaS platform that ensures optimal quality, reliability, and scale for any virtual or hybrid virtual event, regardless of the event tech stack that is being used.
The company has over 17 years of expertise in the streaming space. While the company has built a reputation serving major broadcast studios, some virtual event clients are just as keen to avoid grainy images, buffering, and interrupted streams. Once an event producer has dropped a player into place, their virtual event can deliver adaptable live streams optimized for performance and quality across multiple devices and platforms. The Brightcove player also includes an editable design that allows event producers to create a custom and interactive video experience.
Brightcove’s Virtual Event Streaming platform is built on flexible and extensible APIs (application programming interfaces) for simple or custom-coded integrations with any platform or tech stack. When event platforms partner with Brightcove, they have full access to analytics while also shifting the responsibility for all streaming services to Brightcove and its content management systems. The client’s CRM can also be integrated with Brightcove’s analytics, so attendee/audience data is shared automatically.
Stream health is also monitored throughout events via live event support, which helps to identify potential issues and troubleshoot problems before they occur. Safeguards include protecting against dropped or redundant streams.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming offers powerful and reliable live streaming while delivering the same user experience regardless of scale — streaming can be as big as it needs and supports smaller events too. However, their main focus is keystone events where the failure of a stream is not an option, like external educational and entertainment events with high visibility and the need to de-risk every aspect.
Brightcove’s partner network includes both end-to-end and specialized event platforms (like Bizzabo, Cvent, and Rainfocus) looking for full, direct live stream integrations into their systems. In addition, the product is designed for event production agencies, event system integrators, and consulting firms that take a “best-in-breed” approach when producing events.
WHO’S IT NOT FOR?
While Brightcove offers a suite of other event-related products that appeal to the mid-market, Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming is a premium product. Further, because the product is not a production platform but rather a final publication tool, it is not suitable for creatives (think video editors and content creators) editing or producing content. Instead, it is a SaaS product for creatives to stream content to audiences. In other words, Brightcove’s Virtual Event Streaming primarily handles the distribution rather than the production of video content. (Its players are editable, but it does not include tools for modifying multiple speaker views, for example. It can, however, be integrated with solutions that provide this functionality.)
- Security: Protections via DRM (digital rights management) and restricted “white list” domains, geographic regions and IP addresses, etc.
- Data: real-time stream quality analytics
- Advertising: Support for insertion of ads or commercial transitions into live event streams, with the option to add clickable CTAs
- Integrations: Seamless integration into any event tech stack or virtual event application, with a comprehensive set of API guides readily available
- APIs: Flexible, extensible APIs for simple or fully custom integrations.
- Platform compatibility: Can integrate with any platform that can create an output source, such as video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, browser-based live stream production studios like Restream or StreamYard, or even downloadable professional production studios like OBS. The video feeds from these platforms are sent to Brightcove, transcoded, and broadcast to a highly scalable audience.
- Support team: Live event support is included as part of the Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming package. Brightcove monitors stream health with the production team, preventing problems before they occur. Live support stream is in contact with the production team throughout an event, meaning there is no need to worry about event streaming logistics.
- Campaign option: The campaign option is designed primarily for marketers, as it augments high-level analytics by default while pushing data to something like Google Analytics or Adobe Experience Manager. This option can also integrate with marketing stacks and generate user-level metrics — valuable insights to gauge the effectiveness of campaigns.
- CRM/MAPs: Can integrate directly with marketing tech stacks and tools, where information is relayed directly instead of stored on the Brightcove system.
- Enhancements: Brightcove provides enhancements to some of their tech partners, like authentication and event registration, and can integrate into any platform.
Pricing and Plans
Brightcove is a premium virtual event streaming platform that bases its pricing on three aspects of client needs:
- Streaming hours
- Bandwidth used or needed
- The amount of live concurrent channels required
The Brightcove Live virtual event streaming package includes streaming services, the customizable Brightcove player, and white glove event support. Because they operate on yearly contracts, the package can be spread out across multiple events or used for a major one-off show.
Pros and Cons
- High-quality streaming with no buffering
- No downtime
- High level of security
- Automatic transcode adaptation to suit any device, platform, or bandwidth
- Scalability to a virtually infinite number of viewers for live and on-demand content
- In-depth support pre, during and post event
- Easy-to-use visual interface
- Advanced analytics
- Free API access to all clients
- 16 Global Data Centers
- GDPR compliant and S-DPP Certified (Seco Data Protection Practitioner)
- Premium product offering that may come with a higher price tag
- The offering does not currently support virtual reality
- Editable multi-camera scenes are not available at this stage (unless provided through another integrated platform), as Brightcove runs from a single stream and does not coordinate multi-speaker video conferencing within its own platform
When event producers are looking for a “best-in-breed” virtual event live or on-demand streaming service, Brightcove is a great option because of its unique and powerful features and capabilities. Their product caters to any scale, provides top-class security and dependability.
Due to this and their vast experience, knowledge of the space, and ability to integrate with any tech stack, Brightcove Virtual Event Streaming remains a leader within their niche.
Click here to learn more about Brightcove.
Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.