If there is one thing that is constant about live stream platforms at the moment it is that they are constantly changing their service.
Previously love stream platform Blab closed down with no notice to users and annoying many people – and now they are seeking beta users as you can see from their Twitter account.
Now it seems to be the turn of Firetalk to change their free service for users.
As you may be aware my weekly show has been successfully hosting our weekly Live Stream Insiders shows on Firetalk and publishing replays on YouTube until a few weeks ago.
I have really enjoyed using Firetalk especially the events feature which we have used for our show.
Unfortunately for the first anniversary show Firetalk has not been able to recover our replay from its technology providers.
That resulted in us making a change to test out the new feature from BlueJeans Primetime which is currently available for free trials as I wrote about here and which streams directly to Facebook Live.
Today however Firetalk announced significant changes to their platform for free users. I happened to see this in a post from their page on Facebook.
Changes To The Free FireTalk Live Stream Service
Here is what they announced in terms of the limitations for free users which they call their Tier 1 plan – they will be restricted to:
– a 10 Minute Free Broadcast – All free users can broadcast up to 10 minutes each day. Broadcasts will feature a countdown timer so that hosts can keep an eye on their time. At the end of 10 minutes, the broadcast will end.
– 10 Concurrent Viewers – Tier I broadcasts can host up to 10 concurrent viewers per stream. If there are already 10 viewers on a stream, other viewers must wait until a viewer already watching drops off the stream.
– 1 Guest – Tier I supports 1 Guest and the host (two simultaneous on-screen streams)
– No Archives – Tier I does not support archiving, episode recording, or replays
– No Screen Share – Tier I free broadcasting does not support screen sharing.
Questions About The Free FireTalk Service
UPDATE: FireTalk came back to me on 29 September with the following information – I have updated my questions with their responses. It is good to have these responses, but perhaps the next time they implement a change they will communicate to users in advance and not rely on people having to contact them for a response.
If you have questions they invite you to post them to their support channel on FireTalk. Here are some of the questions I think many people will be interested in learning about and when I hear back I will post the responses here:
Question: Is this change with immediate effect?
Answer: This is an immediate change. However, given your long-standing relationship with Firetalk and the consistent content you produce, we would like to offer you a 30-day free pass to continue your broadcasts as normal while we release the additional paid tiers. As you are a valued member of our community, we would like to extend this offer in gratitude for your feedback and support for over a year. We have marked Live Stream Insiders for this trial. If you have other accounts associated with your broadcasts, please let us know.
(NOTE: this same extension of service has been given to other FireTalk users that I know of when they contacted the platform through support).
Question: Some people have noticed video ads on streams on desktop – though I have not seen them on mobile – will these also run on tier 1 streams
Answer: Video ads appear on every other channel/event join for viewers (but not for hosts) and will continue to run on Tier I streams
Question: What if people want to host events can that still happen on Tier 1?
Answer: Tier I events will be limited to the Pay-per-View option and will be updated soon
Question: What happens to our previous archives – are you going to make them available for some time if we have been using the free service?
Answer: Previous archives remain available in your dashboard
Question: When will we know what the next level of pricing will be especially if we stream for more than 10 minutes and want to host events?
Answer: We hope to release the next tiers as quickly as possible and while we cannot guarantee a timeline, we are confident that the 30-day pass will provide ample coverage until release
Question: Will you be emailing all users about the change?
Answer: When we have released all tiers, we will send a message to all users; previously scheduled events also will not be affected by these changes.
Implications For Live Streamers
This is just another good reminder that if you are using live stream platforms, it is important to keep up to date with their service changes by subscribing to them on social media – it seems that at this time the change of introduction to ads has not been announced at all by FireTalk and the update to their platform today has been through social media channels an not communication direct to users such as through email or a post to your channel when you log in.
It is also a good reminder not to promote your free live stream platform url without using a redirect that allows you to take people to wherever you decide to live stream from -a tips I shared in the Live Stream Insiders show last week.
Will this change influence your use of live streaming to FireTalk?
I am waiting to hear about the next level of service, but for now we will continue to experiment with platforms for the show that enable us to bring multiple people on screen such as BlueJeans Primetime, Smiletime and Huzza.
If you have questions about live streaming for your business you can schedule a conference call with me here.