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11/11/2010
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Facebook Gets Live Video Streaming

Livestream enables fan pages on the leading social network to broadcast real-time video feeds.

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Livestream on Tuesday premiered a free tool that enables Facebook fan pages to host live video on the social media site.

The live video-streaming service, which partnered with the social media giant on Facebook Live, lets Facebook fan page organizers embed an existing Livestream channel directly into the Facebook page. Fan-page owners also may customize the viewer and organize multiple tabs, according to Livestream.

To get started, Facebook Fan page users take a camera, webcam, or produced video feed, download Livestream's free Procaster desktop app for Macintosh and PC, then stream video with one click, Livestream said.

"Everything will be recorded and made available in an on-demand library," the company said in its blog.

Livestream also develops custom live-streaming applications such as pay-per-view, donation, like-to-watch, live blogging, and multi-channel. In addition, the developer offers show-production services. Prices vary.

Livestream's free plan is ad supported, has unlimited channels, and a 10 GB limit. Its channel plan, which costs $350 per month or $3,500 per year, includes one premium channel and unlimited free channels, has a 1,000-GB limit with additional storage available for 25 cents per GB, 3,000 viewer hours, and offers higher quality. Livestream's top-of-the-line network plan includes 10 premium channels plus unlimited free channels, 15,000 viewer hours, 1,000-GB limit with additional storage available for 25 cents per GB, and costs $1,250 per month or $12,500 annually.

Since being founded in 2008, Livestream has received about $13 million in funding from private angel investors and publishing giant Gannett. The company broadcasts more than 1.4 million channels, and has more than 22 million unique monthly viewers in this increasingly competitive market.

Rival Ustream, which opened its doors in 2006, has raised about $86 million, and is backed by investors such as Softbank Group, DCM, Western Technology Investors, Band of Angels Fund, and Infinity Partner Ventures. In late October, the company disclosed it will unveil Ustream Open Pay-Per-View program and Ad-Free Broadcasting. Ustream Open PPV will allow any Ustream broadcaster to apply directly to Ustream for the ability to charge viewers for content, while Ad-Free Broadcasting will give broadcasters more control over their viewers' experience, Ustream said.

For its part, Justin.tv -- which has 1,996 channels -- is backed by $7.2 million provided by Alsop Louie Partners, Tim Draper, and Y Combinator. The startup had 3.7 million unique visitors in September, according to ComScore, following the release of apps for the Android and iPhone.

In September, YouTube conducted a limited test of a live-streaming platform. Based on the results of this test, YouTube will evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to partners around the globe, the company said at the time.

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