Whether it’s a Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow-esque town meeting or a large-scale candidate forum, live streaming local political events creates opportunities to bring communities closer together. And real-time interactive streaming (RTIS) takes things even further by allowing an even wider group of people to engage with their highest-priority issues and candidates. Here are a few ways video strengthens these local events.

Accessible Meetings

Local government meetings have been broadcast on TV for years, and for good reason. Town halls and other local discussions provide community members with transparent views of their local government. Broadcasting these meetings makes regional politics accessible to those who can’t make it to the event in person, whether due to illness, disability, lack of room in the event space, work, travel, or other cause. It’s a way to show respect for all members of the community. It also allows people to show their support for the issues they care about, even when they can’t physically be in the room for the discussion. Interactive streaming in real time adds another layer of accessibility to traditional broadcast cable methods by reaching people who may not have cable access or may be traveling outside of the range of their community cable broadcast area. Anyone with an internet connection can join in, whether from a phone on the soccer field or a cafe in Bali.

In our current video-centric world, live streaming has never been easier. Red5 Pro natively supports protocols such as WebRTC, HLS, RTMP, and RTSP, and restreamer plugins provide support for other ingest methods such as IP cameras. Hardware transcoding and other technologies ensure streams with minimal latency.

By streaming these political events, municipalities can make it easier than ever to attend local meetings. Constituents can join meetings with the click of a button without having to leave the house. Video feeds may not only be hosted on local TV station and government websites, but with social media pushers, they may also be sent to platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live so that anyone can follow along, leave comments, and ask questions.

Interactive Debates and Candidate Forums

On the topic of asking questions, it’s important to remember that participation is key to a successful debate and candidate forum. For true accessibility, community members must be able to interact with their representatives and with each other, even while attending virtually. One way to encourage participation for virtual attendees is through a watch party-style broadcast combining the in-person event with the virtual. Organizers present a main video stream of the event, provide commentary, and also bring on virtual guests to ask questions and interact with organizers and candidates.

Alternatively, for discussions held entirely online, a watch party allows for completely virtual meetings and debates, with real-time conversations that involve participants across the city, county, or even country. The technology supports hosts who invite speakers, have the ability to mute or pin users, and can pull in live feeds of guests from the audience to share their concerns or ideas. They also can present visuals alongside each discussion. And thanks to real-time interactive streaming (RTIS), supported by Red5 Pro and our partners, these online interactions finally feel natural due to minimized latency.

Scalable for a variety of events

Depending on the event, the issues being covered, and the population of the area, audience numbers can vary greatly for local political events. For example, with large fundraisers or candidate forums using hybrid setups (where attendees can join in-person or online), the number of viewers might change drastically as various topics arise or new speakers or entertainers take to the microphone. This is where an Autoscale setup becomes important.

With Autoscale, the number of servers is automatically increased and decreased in response to influxes of traffic, preserving resources when they are not in use. Autoscale accounts for large changes in viewership throughout candidate forums and debates so that organizers are ready to support as many watchers as possible without racking up an unnecessarily large bill. It also encourages community involvement by allowing for higher attendance numbers since limited in-person space is no longer an obstacle.

Interactive live video brings new life to local political discussions. Red5 Pro can help create the ideal streaming setup for your community. If you’d like to work with us, please reach out to info@red5pro.com or schedule a call with our team.

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