If you have been using live video for interviews, one platform you may have experimented with was Huzza which I first wrote about last year as a paid live video platform that allowed you to engage with users and later released an integration with Facebook Live.
It has been used for a number of notable shows in the area of social media – but all that changed this last week as I reported on the Live Stream Insiders Show on Sunday.
Some weeks ago, we had reported on the Live Stream Insiders Show that Kickstarter was using Huzza to help creators engage and share about their inventions, so it was not really a surprise to hear that Kickstarter has acquired Huzza.
What does this mean for broadcasters using Huzza? The platform will remain open until the 1 March 2017. After that date, your data will no longer be available via Huzza (this includes embeds).
Huzza are working on a data export tool that will allow you to export all of your recordings, chat messages, Q&As, selfies, and subscriber details.
This seems to have left some users scrambling for alternative solutions for their shows as they had no back up plan. The announcement on the 1 February was picked up by tech blogs and was later supported by a post on the Huzza site; later that day users received an email (myself included).
At least the Huzza team had the courtesy to communicate to their users unlike other live video platforms that have closed in the past.
Hopefully the acquisition by Kickstarter will help the Huzza team with processes and infrastructure including customer support – this is the one area I have always felt that the team were lacking in – for example, their founders had to apologise a number of times to me for either missing messages requiring support, or being slow to respond to support questions – some of my emails remain unanswered even today!
What Can Live Video Producers Learn From This Announcement
Remember that live video platforms, while not new, are developing at a rapid pace so here are six points to note and learn from:
1. Always have a plan B for your show – never rely on a single platform even if you are paying for it as was the case with Huzza, so should you need to quickly move to a new platform you know the direction you will take
2. Be cautious if you plan to embed your content from your live stream on your website. In the past year and a half we have now seen three notable platforms close – Katch, Blab and now Huzza. There have even been WordPress plugins developed to make it easy to embed live streams on your site. I suggest you do this sparingly – you do not want to have to go back and edit tens or even hundreds of pages and posts where you have embedded your show if the platform closes
3. Keep a backup of your recordings of your show – do not rely on third party platforms as the only place your archive can be viewed – have other platforms where you can direct people to watch your achives and ideally have your own back-up
4. Do not rely on building a community on the live video platform you are using – you need to nurture your audience so they know where to find your live how no matter where you stream from and so you can communicate with them. For example, entice viewers to subscribe to your email database
5. Own your own domain name for your live streams so that people can follow you wherever you decide to stream from – that is one of the reasons that I have my own dotLive domain name
6. Ignore the live stream production studios that tell you the only way to progress is using expensive live video streaming tools – that may be the right move for some organisations, or for businesses prepared to pay for a show to be produced. But for many people getting started with live video you can make use of the free and low cost solutions for live video – just be prepared that as you do not own every part of the live video production suite, there could be changes that you have to navigate with short notice such as this announcement from Huzza and Kickstarter.
I am sure this is just the first of many consolidations we will see this year in the world of live video platforms. What do you think and have you been impacted by this announcement from Huzza and Kickstarter?
If you have questions about how to integrate live video into your business communications, you can schedule a confidential discussion with me here.
I do hope that Huzza enjoys their future with Kickstarter – I am sure their experience with their early users helped inform them and provide useful insights on how to develop the platform. But I do wonder when live video users will stop being satisfied of being ‘fodder’ for these platforms and will get fed up of being ‘testers’ as developers decide on their approach for live video solutions.