ScaleEngine Blog

Why Control Your Streaming?

July 20, 2018

It's easy to stream for "free" these days. You can stream on any number of social platforms. Youtube will give you a channel, so will Twitch. Periscope has direct linkage to Twitter. Facebook lets you add a live video post. Why would anyone pay for streaming when you can get your message out for nothing?

The arguments come down to control, context and independence. The major social platforms are dominated by an all consuming need to funnel their audiences to the most popular, advertising revenue generating content. You can, and possibly should, use them judiciously to promote your content, but ultimately, by giving everything all away you are diluting your impact and message, as it becomes lost in the vast commercial echo chambers of Big Social.

Let's look at control first. Your message is yours. Your content is yours. But it's not if you are exclusively putting it on Big Social. Facebook has multitudinous rules about monetization limits, self-promotion, and what you can and cannot say or show. You are at risk of losing your account altogether if you run afoul of their constantly changing rule landscape. Youtube and Twitch are similarly onerous in their policing of content. Whether you are monetizing with advertising or pay per view, you'll realize much greater returns by promoting a short taste of your content with a call to action back to your website and providing full access there, rather than attempting to get revenue share from Social. Unless you are a page one result on Twitch or Youtube, you're going to be buried under the avalanche of promoted and semi-famous streamers there, and giving away your stuff at that point for a few cents does not make sense.

The issue of context is even larger when you are streaming on social media. Their algorithms are marvels of AI engineering designed to keep their users on their sites. They don't care about your content. They care about the users you will bring to their site, that they can use to make money by showing them advertising and promoted content. Think about the last time you used Facebook or Youtube. You might have gone to look up an old post, or watch a tuturial, but you ended up spending additional time there looking at the content they wanted you to see to keep you there as long as possible. Every second you are there, they are making money showing you ads and promoted posts. Contextually, your content will be surrounded by dozens of other items designed to take the viewer away from your content, and over to the high revenue heavily promoted and advertising rich content. This isn't good for your message, or for your image as the owner of this content. With very few exceptions, Big Social has become about itself, it's advertisers, and the content it wants you to see. You can use its reach, occasionally, for promotion, but your content will get lost in an ocean of car ads, political posts, memes and jokes.

Finally, independence from social networks is more important than ever. Yes, they can promote your message to your followers. They can also ban your account without notice or reasons. Facebook's terms mean you give away what you post there. Youtube will take you down in a heartbeat if you have the wrong background music, or for any DMCA complaint for that matter. You won't have access to your audience, or your archives. You don't own your Facebook account, or your Google account. They do. When you pay for a service, you get control. You set the context. You become independent from the social account vulnerability that these automated copyright/complaint algorithms impose on social content creators.