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What is a Simulcast?: Definition, Meaning & How It Works

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What is a Simulcast?: Definition, Meaning & How It Works

What Is a Simulcast?

With the term used online and in the media so often, you may wonder, “What is a simulcast?” Though the definition of simulcast has evolved, a simulcast is generally defined as when content is broadcast on more than one medium simultaneously. We’ll explain what a simulcast is in today’s world of social media, how simulcasting works, provide some recommendations for great simulcasting software and explore the benefits of simulcasting.

What Does Simulcast Mean Today?

Simulcasting originally referred to when radio networks would air syndicated content across many different stations at the same time. It is also used to refer to when news networks air major news broadcasts, sporting events, and other live events simultaneously on radio and television. 

Today, simulcast meanings and definitions have shifted with the rise of social media and online content. When creators use the term simulcast, they usually mean that they’re holding a simultaneous live streaming event where they share their content to multiple social platforms at the same time. You can go live on multiple sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch using a simulcast app or simulcasting software. 

What Is the Difference Between Broadcast and Simulcast?

Though a simulcast is considered a broadcast, a broadcast is not necessarily a simulcast. A broadcast is when a radio show, television program, or online content is transmitted to viewers or listeners through a specific medium. A simulcast is when a program or content is broadcast across more than one service or medium at the same time. 

What Is the Difference Between Simulcast and Multicast?

Many members of online streaming communities use the terms simulcast and multicast interchangeably. While the end result of both broadcasting systems is the same, they’re technically different. Simply put, simulcast systems transmit the same content simultaneously using the same signal and frequency to multiple locations. Multicast systems transmit the same content simultaneously but using a different frequency for each location they transmit to. Multicasting systems are better for reducing bandwidth requirements. 

Why Should You Consider Doing a Simulcast?

You can reach a much larger audience without having to do a lot of extra work by running simultaneous broadcasts across multiple platforms. Having more viewers can mean more opportunities to monetize your content and more recognition within your specific industry or niche. We’ll explain some of the biggest benefits of simulcasting your live streams. 

Benefits of Simulcasting Your Live Streams

Broadcasting your live stream across more than one social channel simultaneously has many advantages. Along with providing new monetization opportunities, it also protects your cast from being ruined by technical difficulties. Some of the other benefits of simulcasting your live streams include: 

Expanding Your Audience 

The most obvious advantage to simultaneous streaming across multiple platforms is the ability to grow your viewership. When you cast a wide net, you’re going to snag more viewers. Expanding your audience is a lot simpler when you use simulcasting software and apps to go live all across the internet. 

Engaging With Viewers More Easily 

Many simulcasting services make it easy for you to connect to all of your audiences in one place while you’re casting. All of your chats from social sites like YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook are combined in one place so you don’t have to search around to see what your viewers are saying. Engaging with viewers effectively is essential to maintaining and growing your viewership.

Time Saving

When you cast your program simultaneously on multiple sites, you don’t have to worry about preparing separate content for upload and download for each platform. You stream and record once, and your content is available for viewing in multiple places. 

Learning From Each Platform 

Every social site has its own unique set of analytics and measuring tools you can learn from. Some type of content performs well on one platform, but not on another. When you simulcast your content you gain the advantage of being able to see the analytics from many different social sharing sites at once. Use these insights to improve your content and find better ways to connect with viewers. 

How Does a Simulcast Work?

You have a couple of options for how you can simulcast your content online. The option that’s best for you will depend on the time you want to commit to setting up your simulcast and your technical knowledge and ability. 

Here are the three methods you can use to simulcast your content online: 

Simulcast via an encoder: This is the most technically complicated way to simulcast your content. An encoder will help you transcode your content so you can cast it on multiple streaming sites at once. Different social sites require different resolutions and bitrates and an encoder will convert your content so that it can meet each site’s specific requirements. 

Cast with simulcasting software: Using simulcasting software or apps to broadcast your content is the easiest and most convenient way to share on multiple platforms at once. Simulcasting software does all of the work for you and lets you go live on major social sharing sites with a few simple clicks. These simulcasting services usually have other features you can use to customize your casting experience. 

Use a share code: While it isn’t technically simulcasting, you can use a share code to get viewers on multiple platforms to stream your content from one place. Some streaming software will provide you with a share code you can use on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites. When a user clicks on the code, they’re directed away from the social site and to your broadcast.

What is a Live Simulcast? 

Whether they’re on TV, the radio, or online, most simulcasts are live. Often major broadcasting networks will simulcast radio and TV news coverage or games of local sports teams live at the same time. Online simulcasts are no different—creators will stream their live content across multiple social sites at once to reach a wider audience and connect with viewers on the platform of their choice. 

How to Live Stream on Multiple Platforms at Once with Simulcasting Software

There are many streaming software programs on the market that provide simulcasting features you can easily use to get your content to more viewers. These programs do all of the hard work for you so you don’t have to worry about encoding or transcoding or filming multiple streams for multiple platforms. We’ll explain what simulcasting software is and provide some of our top picks. 

What is Simulcast Software?

Any streaming platform or software that includes simulcasting features is considered simulcast software. With the demand for both live streaming and simulcasting capabilities growing, most software providers have developed to be a one-stop shop for creators. Below are our recommendations for the best simulcast software on the market today. 

Riverside.fm

Riverside.fm is a great option for podcasters and other creators who use an interview style for their content. This powerful remote content creation platform lets users record, edit, share, and live stream all from the same place. You can use Riverside to simulcast to Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, LinkedIn, and any custom RTMP destination.    

Pros:

  • Automated video editing features 
  • Live media soundboard
  • Custom RTMP compatibility
  • Local recordings of live streams in up to 4K video resolution 
  • Automatic transcription feature 

Cons:

  • Requires a subscription
  • Max streaming resolution is 720p (only recordings are up to 4K)
Dacast

Dacast provides users with hosting for video-on-demand services and with services for live streaming. The platform allows for a lot of control over user-generated content and doesn’t place limitations on uploads or streaming content. Aside from offering simulcasting features, Dacast has many different monetization opportunities and provides content creators with detailed performance analytics. 

Pros:

  • Supports RTMP ingest, streaming, and playback
  • Includes an embeddable HTML5 video player
  • Many different pricing plans  

Cons:

  • No advanced simulcasting features
  • Isn’t intuitive to use 
  • Limited options for platforms to cast to
Vimeo

A company or professional streamer looking for a streaming and simulcasting solution should consider Vimeo. Using the web interface can be a bit tricky at first, so users should prepare to spend some time learning the ins and outs of the platform before using it to stream and simulcast. Vimeo allows creators to sell or rent their content to viewers through the site’s video-on-demand service. 

Pros:

  • Video management and hosting
  • Low-budget friendly 
  • Privacy controls to restrict video access 

Cons

  • Can only live stream with premium plan
  • Limited video storage capacity 
  • Vimeo mark appears on videos with most plan options 
OBS Studio 

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Studio is an open-source software program that provides support for video recording and streaming. The program has a vast number of features, but you have to be willing to put plenty of time into learning how to use the software as it's not for beginners. Intermediate and professional users can use the program to create high-quality recordings or streams for YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming platforms. 

Pros:

  • Free to use 
  • Intuitive for beginners 
  • Performs well with poor internet connections 

Cons

  • Plugins have limitations
  • Not a dedicated simulcasting solution
  • Some video editing features are basic 

5 Best Practices for Simulcasting Live

There are a few steps you should take to ensure your live simulcast is as successful as possible. Follow these five simulcasting best practices to help increase the viewership and engagement for your next live simulcast streaming event. 

1. Cast Everywhere You Can 

Broadcast simultaneously to as many online platforms as possible. Many simulcasting services and software make it easy to go live on most major social sites with only a couple of clicks. The more places you can broadcast at one time, the more people will be able to see your show. If you have the time, create accounts on social sites you may not be using and build a following. Ask your followers on the social sites you already use to follow you on any new platforms you want to try out. 

2. Advertise Your Live Streaming Event

The more people who know about your live simulcast, the higher the chances you’ll attract a larger audience. Spread the word about your live simulcast online through social media channels and on your website if you have one. Facebook ads are a great way to target specific users and advertise directly to people most interested in the type of content you create. You can also create short-promotional clips to post as teasers all over social media.

3. Be Prepared 

Have a clear understanding of how your equipment works and know the specifications and limitations of the simulcasting software or simulcast app you’re using. If you plan to have guests on your cast, give them a rundown of how things are going to go and make sure they’re comfortable using any equipment they need to connect and participate. 

4. Practice Makes Perfect 

No matter how familiar you are with your equipment or how comfortable you feel in front of cameras, you should do as much testing and rehearsal as possible. Run at least one sample live stream before your actual event to test things like video and audio quality. Make sure it’s easy for viewers to access your simulcast so they won’t have any issues the day of the event. 

5. Keep an Eye on Your Simulcasts 

Even if you’ve planned and practiced, something could go wrong on the day of your live event. Constantly monitor the video and audio quality of each of your broadcasts. Ask for help with monitoring if you need to. Many times a technical issue can be corrected during a live simulcast, but if you’re unaware that something’s wrong you could miss out on capturing valuable viewers. 

Conclusion

Though it’s been around for a while, the meaning of what simulcasting is has changed over time. It was associated with events being broadcast to radio and television in the past, but today people associate simulcasting with streaming live on multiple social media platforms at the same time. There are many advantages to simulcasting your content and simulcasting software and apps make it easy for you to reach a larger audience.     

What is a Simulcast FAQs:

Do you still have questions about simulcasting and simulcasting services? Take a look at our helpful FAQ section for more information on what simulcasts are and how they work. 

What Simulcasting Software Should I use?

The best simulcasting software for you will depend on your unique needs. The most important thing to consider is whether or not a piece of software will allow you to cast to the platforms that are important to you. Not all simulcasting software allows you to stream to every social sharing site.

What is Simulcasting Online?

Online simulcasting is streaming your content to multiple social platforms at the same time. This can be accomplished using a simulcast app or other simulcasting services. Check out the sections in the article above to learn about the advantages of simulcasting online and for recommendations for great simulcasting software.

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