Pros and Cons of Live vs. Delayed Church Video Streaming

Matthew Fridg looks at differences between Live and VOD applications to better understand the impact in churches today.

For our purposes, we are going to define live video as event based productions delivered to our viewers in real time. This would be services, sermons, conferences, concerts, or other event made available via television or internet live streaming as it is happening. We will consider VOD as the same type of production but delivered after the fact, whether an hour, a day or even a month later.

Where Are You Now?

You may be thinking about what your church is doing currently. The question is, are you creating maximum impact based on your production goals and the resources you have? Some of you may be stretching yourselves so thin because you are trying to accomplish a live production that is beyond your monetary, time and equipment resources. Others may be missing a golden opportunity to reach more people with your content because you are settling for an VOD only option.

Live Video
The great thing about live productions is they are a collective experience. When you see a stadium filled with people ready to watch the big game or even just a living room crowded with friends, it is all about sharing something together. This has incredible implications for the church. Since the church is about being together, live services have been the center point of our collective experience for millennia. When we deliver our church services live, we are allowing those who cannot attend in person to share in a collective experience. Even in the case of a satellite or campus model, those in the overflow, second campus or simulcast are able to experience something together, in the moment.

Pros of live video:

1. Shared user experience – as I stated before, this intangible is the essence of what the church is designed to be.

2. Real-time experience – the audience is experiencing something as it is happening. The content is fresh, new, hot off the press.

3. Urgency of experience – when something is presented live, there is an urgency to be aware of when it starts, be there on time, and to not want to miss anything. If you miss it, you may not hear it again.

Cons of live video:

1. Creating live broadcasts is high stress. All of the elements must be prepared beforehand. Everything must be ready to go and there are no second chances. Planning from all departments must be coordinated prior to the event.

2. Oftentimes, delivering content in realtime means you need higher bandwidth. If 1,000 people will be accessing the content at once, you need a bigger pipeline to deliver it when it comes to the internet. And bigger pipelines means higher costs.

3. There is a greater potential to miss your target viewer. When something is delivered live, the chances of someone not being available to watch at that specific time increases.

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