UPDATE 1 FEBRUARY 2017 – Huzza is acquired by Kickstarter and will cease operations on 1 March 2017. Read about this change and six learnings for live streamers.
Update 28 July 2016: New Feature Alert – Huzza enables live streaming to Facebook Live. Read a tutorial here.
If you have been exploring live stream platforms, one of the features you may look for is a way to invite multiple guests in different locations to join you, just as you can with the free live stream platform provided by Google Hangouts on Air.
However Google Hangouts on Air has been problematic for many people to easily invite their guests to join them in.
However, Blab has been problematic for many reasons (from features to stability) and they have now confirmed that it is not a platform that is for shows as they are focusing a new app.
Many people have been experimenting with Facebook Live using third party tools to have multi person live streams and higher production values, but that is too technical for many people.
Late last year another live stream platform launched, initially for musicians, enabling them to monetise their performances. The platform is called Huzza.io and over the last few days I have been experimenting with it as a potential platform to use for live streaming. They launched in November 2015 after some time in private beta, and you can find out more about them here on their feature on Product Hunt.
If you have been frustrated with the lack of stability and the quality of audio when using Blab, especially if you want to re-purpose your live streams into video or podcast content, this is certainly an alternative worth considering.
In this article I take you through some screen shots to help you familiarise yourself with Huzza so that you can consider it for live streaming and hosting events for your organisation.
Note: this article was updated with some new screen shots on 9 June following a live stream that was hosted by the co-founders of Huzza.
Additional Resource For Live Streamers Considering Using Huzza.io
After writing this article, I joined a live stream with the co-founders of Huzza where they talked about the origins of the app and some new features they are working on. They also spoke about a new level of subscription that they plan to launch during the week of 13 June 2016 – read this article to learn more about the discount code that will be available for just one week.
How To Use Huzza For Live Streaming – Creating Your Profile
You can create a free or paid account on Huzza – at the time of writing you get access to the premium features for 30 days.
If you want to host multi person live streams you will need to invest in the paid service.
UPDATE ON PRICING AS AT JULY 2016
You can currently create an account with your Patreon or Twitter identity.
Then you need to update your profile with your name, a description of who you are and what you do (though these do not currently appear on your public url such as mine here). You can also upload your profile picture and connect your SoundCloud, YouTube and Facebook accounts.
If you want to receive payments through tips being given to you during your live stream (this is aimed at musicians) you will need to add your bank details.
Create Your Live Stream Event On Huzza.io
You can create your event page – give it a relevant title, set the date and time including your time zone. Be aware that in your dashboard that even though you set your time zone, all your live streams appear with a PT zone time code.
You can schedule a live stream or go live immediately. In addition you can do a test broadcast which is great forgetting to learn about the platform.
Here are five interesting features you can enable:
- You can do a test live stream that will not be visible to the public and will not show up on the iOS app
- You can add a description to your event page – however any links you include are not clickable
- You can merge subscribers from previous live streams so they are automatically subscribed and can be notified of your events. Do this with care – even with Blab if people want to subscribe they do per show not to hear about all events a host is broadcasting. This could quickly be seen as spam by your audience
- You can get the system to automatically send an email reminder 30 minutes before you go live to your subscribers for the show
- You can also add a background image – unfortunately there are no sizes detailed to help you optimise the image for the event landing page or replay page. It would be good if this were more visible as an important element on your promotions.
You can enable a number of additional features for your live stream including:
- enable or disable Q and A
- selling merchandise during the live stream (a premium paid feature) (Note: Huzza takes a 10% commission on any tips or sales on the platform which includes credit card fees)
- allowing tips and donations
- making the live stream only available to your Patreon subscribers
- making the event password protected.
Here is an example of an email reminder you receive if you subscribe to an event. I really like the fact that people can add the event to their calendar from the email notification.
You can review your event page on Huzza.io and update it as required.
You can connect desktop live stream platforms such as OBS and Wirecast to your live stream on Huzza.io which means you can add multi camera angles, lower thirds and even add multimedia to your live stream.
Your Live Stream Landing Page On Huzza.io
Once your live stream has been scheduled, you will get access to the unique landing page for your event. On that page people can subscribe to indicate they will attend and they can ask questions in advance of the broadcast.
Here is an example of what your Profile Page looks like after I had hosted some test live streams.
Promoting Your Live Stream By Embedding It On Your Website
A helpful paid feature is the ability to embed your live stream into your website. This means that people need never visit the Huzza.io site as they can watch and participate on your website which means you can also feature relevant products and services on that landing page.
Getting Ready To Go Live On Huzza.io
As with other live stream platforms you need to check your mic and camera settings. To do this in Chrome you need to go to Content Settings
On Firefox you will need to check your settings in the top left of your browser.
Before you go live you have the option to invite people to the broadcast using their email address.
You will get a count down timer on your page to indicate how long it will be until you go live.
You can pin a message and a URL for your visitors to see when they watch the broadcast.
At the top of the screen you will see a button to start the broadcast and also to share your screen.
When you live stream in Chrome you need to add an extension which you can find here. I was not able to find a link to get screen sharing to work on Firefox.
The screen share will take over the whole screen but you will still hear the host and guests. Here is an example of what the screen share looks like on mobile.
Growing Your Viewers Of Your Show Through Social Sharing
Note: this feature is not currently available on the iOS mobile app.
When people are watching the live stream, they can share the live event to Twitter and Facebook.
To access this you will see it at the bottom of the screen.
How Does The Video Screen Appear On Huzza.io?
Here is an example of what two people on live stream look like on desktop during a live stream – from the view of the host.
This is what three people on screen look like together on a live stream on desk top – from the hosts perspective.
This is what a live stream with 6 people in looks like on desk top from the perspective of a viewer. While the front page of the Huzza.io website mentions it can host up to four people, you can in fact add more guests simultaneously.
On the replay it looks like this on desktop. The replay is also a lower quality than the live stream.
Engaging With Your Audience And Their Comments On Huzza
As with most live stream platforms, viewers can comment.
At this time there is no way to reply to comments or feature comments. Nor is there a way to slow comments – we know from platforms sucah as Periscope that it can be difficult to keep up with comments however you can scroll up and down the comments.
There is no way to delete comments both if you are the host or if you are person who comments at the time of writing this article.
If you want to focus on the live stream and not be distracted by the comments on desk top as a viewer, you can close the comment area at the top of the screen.
Here is what the live event and commenting feature looks like on the iOS mobile app.
Note that to comment you need to log into the app with your Facebook or Twitter identity.
Some Of The Key Features Of Huzza.io
Make sure you check the pricing and features as some are only for premium (paid) subscriptions.
When you are live viewers can ask questions and they can get voted up so the host can identify what the community of viewers are more interested in hearing about. The host can then choose to share them on screen in the broadcast as they go through the questions in the live stream.
This is what the Q and A feature looks like on desktop and you can see that the questions that have received the most votes from the viewers will appear at the top of the section. This feature can not currently be seen on the mobile app.
The host can enable the ability for viewers to make a donation or take a selfie where they can take an animated photo with their web cam. These features can not be seen at this time on the mobile app.
Here is an example of the selfie in action – it is a great way for viewers to give a thumbs up or down and for the host to get visual feedback from their audience. Don;t worry you can approve the selfie before it it is published and it only remains visible for a few seconds.
The host can share a link in the live stream that will appear on desktop – this is not currently visible on mobile. The link will open in a new browser.
If you have products and services, you can enable the shop feature so that viewers will be able to see them during the live stream.
You can also as the host block someone from commenting in the chat.
You can ‘kick’ someone out of a live stream – see the button where it says ‘stop this broadcast’. I would recommend that you kick your guests out before you end the live stream. I did not do that this week in my test and it meant that the person who was still live when I clicked ‘stop streaming’ could bee seen and heard at the end of the recorded replay.
The Huzza Mobile App
If you download the iOS app that will be the only way that you can see other live streams that are scheduled – you will not be able to easily discover them on desktop. You can subscribe to upcoming live streams – though I have not found any notifications coming through for live streams I am interested in watching.
You will see a broadcast has a red button when it is live so that you can join it to watch and comment.
Review Your Live Stream Replay On Huzza.io
After the show has ended you can go to your dashboard and review the live stream.
You will be able to view the number of people who viewed the replay and in that same tab you can access to the video file which you can download.
The replay on Huzza will show the comments timed in context with the conversation – however they will not be captured in the download video.
You may choose to delete the live stream if you want to repurpose it and use the video elsewhere or if you do not want to make the content available for replay.
Beware Live Stream Hosts Using Huzza – You Need To Comply With Data Protection
When you host a live stream on Huzza people can subscribe to participate and you will under their premium plan get access to a CSV file of the peoples email addresses. I am a little concerned when I hear people experimenting with the platform that they can use the email addresses to communicate with people. A note on the site would be a helpful reminder especially as many of the new live streamers have little experience of digital communications and online marketing.
Remember to check out the Data Protection guidelines in your country. You will probably find that they do not permit you taking those email addresses and then adding people to your email data base as they had not given you express permission to do so.
I am also concerned about the fact that you are able to invite people who previously subscribed to your live stream on Huzza to join you on a future event – again people have not opted in to hear about all your live events.
What You Will Propbably Miss If You Transition From Blab To Huzza.io
I have been listening to a number of live streams where people who have been using Blab are now coming onto Huzza for the first time. It is interesting as even for the free plan of Huzza.io, they are disappointed that a number of features they have become used to having access t on Blab are not provided on the platform.
Here are some of the features you may miss if you move your live stream from Blab to Huzza.io as the platform currently stands.
- you can not easily discover content on the platform – both replays and future broadcasts – Blab currently enables discovery through key works and search amongst other features
- you can not see the names of the people on the live stream
- you can not click through to see the profile of people coming into the show
- you can not follow or subscribe to people in a live stream whether you are a guest or a host
- you can not delete comments
- you can not reply to comments or favourite them
- you can not give ‘props’ to each of the participants in the live stream
- you can not pause and restart the live stream
- you will not get an audio file for your replay
- you can not click through on links that are posted in the chat
- you can not click through to see who people are following and who are following them to discover more people to follow
- you can not click through to peoples Twitter accounts to learn more about them
- you can not go live on air from the mobile app.
These of course may or may not be important features for you.
I hope you find this a helpful resource to help you navigate Huzza.io for live streaming. Do let know if you decide to use the platform.
Huzza offers a lot of interesting features – the question for you however is to decide if this is a better platform for you to use for multiperson live streams versus platforms such as YouTube Live, Google Hangouts on Air, Blab or other live stream and webinar platforms.
If you are not sure where to get started when live streaming you can schedule a meeting with me here for a free consultation.
The one thing I will warn you about – their customer support is very poor in my experience. I can find no tutorials or help pages about using Huzza.io. I understand that the co-founders have been coming into live streams to answer questions – though they have not joined me in any to-date and my email support questions have gone unanswered for over 18 hours. If they want to scale their business with new users, this has to be an area of priority for them.
That said, the platform has some good features, the quality of the video that you download is good – what is unproven at this time is how they will cope with increased numbers of users if lots of content creators migrate from Blab.