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Live streaming budgeting guide: How much should live streaming cost?

Over the last one year, the size of the live streaming industry has grown two times. Intuitively so, the pandemic has created a need to reach out to your audience and subscribers from your house. So whether it is a hobby or it is a means to grow the business, more and more people are taking up online video streaming. The best thing however about live streaming is the versatility and accessibility it provides to both the creator and the audience. Anyone can start hosting videos on the live streaming platform and it can serve multiple purposes for them whether it is expanding the subscriber base, growing the business, as a means for entertainment or to connect with your loved ones regularly. Experts have predicted that online video streaming like live video will capture more than 15% of all internet traffic by next year! If you are a beginner in the field though, you must have a lot of questions and the foremost one is how much should live streaming cost? Read along to get your answer.

What influences the cost of live streaming?

The is not one but multiple factors that can have an influence over the total cost of online video streaming to a live audience. Listed below are few such important factors:

  • The complexity of your streaming – It does not seem intuitive but streaming can be a complex affair. For example, if you intend to have a professional streaming for an event that not only has high quality but also caters to multiple video and audio sources, then it is going to cost you a lot. If you are still not clear, then imagine watching a live sports event having multiple shots from different angles rather than a one continuous shot. The more engineers and equipment you need the higher the costs involved.
  • The duration for your broadcasting needs – This one significantly impacts how much money you are shelling out. There are factors within this that will define how much and how frequently you have to pay for the services. For example, using a premium live streaming platform that will charge based on the bandwidth you use or, the production team you are employing that will cost you more depending on the length of the broadcast you are about to make.
  • The equipment you are using to record the content – This is not surprising at all. A video can be recorded using a cheap Handycam bought from the thrift store or it can be recorded using professional-grade cameras, microphones, and the supporting rigs to adjust the height and distance of the devices from your face and of course the different kinds of lighting equipment that is needed for proper illumination. Needless to say, the more bells and whistles, the higher will be the cost of your cost of online video streaming. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Each of those equipment can be useful for only a particular kind of environment. Hence it is imperative that you make the right decisions if you do not want to spend a small fortune right at the beginning of your live streaming career.
  • Which live streaming platform you are going to use – Last but not least by any means, your online video streaming endeavor will largely rest on the streaming platform you choose. It not only decides your costs but it can also play a huge role in the revenues you generate. The primary choice you make is between a free streaming service or a premium streaming service. Both will have their advantages and each will cater to a particular set of audiences so make a choice depending on your business requirements and target demographics apart from other factors.

Coming to the costs – How much should be ok?

Anyone can start their very own online video streaming from a teenager to someone born in the 1950s and it will not cost much to begin with. The only cost for beginners and hobbyists is the time they spend in preparing the content. The major live streaming platform that are free to use and provide just the right tools to reach out to the world’s audience have the most share of the global live streaming market. Facebook, Twitch and YouTube are the biggest names currently. Given below are some of the pros and cons of free services for live streaming.


  • Does not cost a dime hence available to everyone on the planet. The only money you will end up spending will be on the equipment you use and in that department, the sky is the limit.
  • Incredible reach and the range of demographics is exhaustive. There is a possibility to touch billions of users across the globe no matter what their age is, where they are present, what is their education level and how much time they spend on the internet.
  • The scenarios where these benefit you are if your broadcast is about gaming, if it pertains to art, if you just want to have talk show kind of a format and IRL live streams of locations or events.


  • The downside of free services is that you will not be able to heavily monetize your online video streaming endeavor, not directly in any case. You can have links for products and various services however, there is not subscription fee that you can charge.
  • There is limited to no branding capacities on any free live streaming platform. This means that there are not many features that you can use to make your live stream stand out from the rest in terms of visual appeal
  • Enterprise and business users might not find this useful as it will be difficult to zero in on the audience chiefly because of the entertainment and social-oriented content on such platforms.

With these points in mind, you will have to decide for your streaming endeavor whether you wish to go for a free service or not. If you do decide on opting for premium live streaming services, be ready to spend as low as $50 to as high as $100 per month just for using their platforms. In most cases, the free live streaming platform can get the job done. Content creators go for high-end equipment instead of spending on the platforms.

Having said that, the premium live streaming services do have their set of advantages, the foremost being imparting the streamers the ability to monetize the entire broadcast however they want to. They also provide finer control over demographics and the type of audience you want to cater to. Just make sure that you are clear that there are no hidden costs and charges involved and also that tools like ad analytics and in-depth video analytics available for you to keep tabs on your service. Customer support should also be factored in while opting for the paid live streaming platform. Unless they offer round-the-clock support, it is not worth your money.

If you have decided to become a content creator and live to stream your content, then do not waste any more time. The earlier you start streaming, the better you will get at it. By learning from the mistakes and gradual improvements you will become the best in no time.

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