Like everyone during the pandemic, businesses are looking for tools to ease the transition into a world with more remote work. And that has led to a huge burst in growth for services like Restream. That platform has grown more than 300% since January. It serves more than 2 million creators and businesses that want to broadcast one video feed over multiple platforms. Restream makes that easy and without requiring any extra bandwidth. And that has led the company to fast-track the launch of its new Studio tool while also raising $50 million in a series A funding round.
Investment firms Insight Partners and Sapphire Ventures led the funding. And Restream plans to use the influx of cash to bring in more workers and expand its marketing efforts. Essentially, the livestreaming iron has never been hotter, and Restream’s chief executive officer Alex Khuda sees now as the time to strike.
“As the world shifts entirely to online and virtual, live streaming has become an essential way for creators and brands to engage their communities around the world,” said Khuda. “This year, we’ve seen our growth skyrocket. Livestreaming is now critical to every organization’s social media strategy.”
Restream provides a powerful solution for all kinds of creators. It enables you to send one broadcast to its servers that it then splits out to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and wherever else you choose. This means you don’t need to saturate your internet bandwidth to reach audiences on different platforms. But this process previously required creators to learn broadcasting tools like OBS. Restream Studio, however, is now minimizing that barrier to entry.
Restream Studio is like Zoom for broadcasting
One of the reasons Zoom took over the world during the pandemic is its simplicity. You send someone a link, they click it, and suddenly you’re in a video conference without any real downloads or signups. Restream Studio aims to replicate that but for livestreaming.
Restream gave me a demo of Studio earlier this week, and it was clear that the company’s designers and engineers emphasized simplicity. Like with Zoom, you can invite someone into Restream Studio’s web environment. But unlike Zoom, you can also use the Studio interface to quickly add graphics and other visual elements. And then, of course, you can begin broadcasting this shared session out to any platform of your choice.
At the press of a button, you can do obvious actions like share your screen. But Restream also enables you to upload and start playing local video files. In its graphics tab, you can add custom overlays, backgrounds, and logos. Power users will likely stick with OBS and Xsplit, but Restream Studio is for the kinds of people turning to livestreaming out of desperation.
At the same time, I can imagine using this for the GamesBeat Decides podcast — especially because it has its own video conferencing. The only barrier is the pricing.
Freemium Restream … ium
Anyone can sign up and start using Restream for free, but the tools are limited. At this tier, you can broadcast to approved platforms, but you’ll have a watermark. You also cannot add your own graphics.
If you want access to those features, you’ll need to pay. And while plans start at $19 per month for individuals, you need the $49-per-month Professional option to get access to Restream Live Studio Pro. For businesses, the pricing starts at $99 per month.
These options are for people and businesses showing up to livestreaming for the first time in 2020. Paying $49 per month is only excessive because I’m already familiar with OBS and Xsplit. But if I worked IT at a small or medium business and was in charge of getting everyone I work with online and ready to broadcast video, Restream’s cloud-based, simple Studio on top of its core feed-duplicating tech would make it an appealing option.
And that’s what Restream and its investors are counting.