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Local Government Live Streaming

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How to Start Your Search For City Council Live Streaming

This post talks about beginning your search for a platform for local government live streaming. It's part of our series on local government live streaming.

If you're a communications director, clerk, elected official, or IT director for a local government, the world of public meeting live streaming can seem daunting.

If you’ve asked around to see how your neighbors are bringing their meetings into the online world, you may have received a wide variety of answers. One town next to you may have a $100,000 AV system while another may be streaming to Facebook Live off of a council member's phone.

If you have been tasked with figuring out the right live streaming solution for your municipality, the variation of options may be making it difficult to start on the process of finding the right solution. In this post, we breakdown both ends of the spectrum and explain an alternative that is a better fit.                                                                                                                                             The Expensive AV setup of the Past

Ten years ago, live streaming production was expensive. To get your meetings live online, you essentially needed an in-house broadcast studio and an IT expert or production team with a deep knowledge of broadcast communications.

You needed a room of fancy hardware and software, a dedicated staff, and a live streaming provider. From equipment to staff time, the setup was expensive.

Only the wealthiest and biggest cities had the budgets for these kinds of solutions. They didn’t make sense for the average local government. Your neighbor may still have a system like this, but the good news is, you don’t need the same.

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free streaming from a phone

On the other end of the spectrum, some cities have taken advantage of Facebook Live to start streaming council meetings for free. With the introduction of streaming on the world’s biggest social media platform, live streaming can be as easy as pulling out a phone and pressing a button-- except when it isn’t.

Towns and cities that have started streaming on Facebook Live have quickly realized that it’s not quite the ‘solve all’ solution they were imagining. From reliance on WiFi, to audio issues, picture quality, and comment policy, they have often encountered more issues than expected.

Facebook Live for local government can be a great solution, but only if executed the right way. Using a council member’s phone and Facebook account is not the way to go.

You may want to check out some of our additional thoughts on Facebook Live here:

3. the middle ground: boxcast

Luckily for you, there’s another option. High quality streaming on a budget is easy with BoxCast.

BoxCast is a complete, easy-to-use live streaming solution for local government. We help local governments bring their public meetings online in a sustainable way. All you need is a video camera and an internet connection, and we can take care of the rest.

With the ability to easily embed your video streams directly on your website, a team of experts ready to help you with any issues that may affect your stream, the ability to minimize buffering for each viewer, automatic archiving, and a desire to help your engagement over all else, we are the complete, easy-to-use live streaming solution for you.

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

We offer a free resource that explores how live streaming can leave a profound impact on your community and increase civic engagement. To download this guide, click the button below.

How to Increase Civic Engagement - Download the Guide!