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Media server fees explained

Is there a usage fee for media servers? You’ve probably wondered how YouTube and Facebook can provide free livestreaming services while other providers charge money for it. It’s quite simple: they do charge for it, just not from you. Both social media giants thrive on advertising and delivering ads to you with great efficiency, thanks to the vast amount of user data they possess. This allows them to display targeted advertisements. They finance their massive IT infrastructure, which enables you to stream without having to pay a usage fee for a media server, using this revenue.

Usage fee for media servers

The media server (streaming server) is a central component of live productions. For example, a video production team sends the broadcast to a media server from the broadcasting van, which viewers can connect to over the internet to watch the selected content. Today, internet itself supports the connection to the server. Content Delivery Network (CDN) networks assist viewers in accessing content at roughly the same speed and quality from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, video streaming consumes data traffic. This is the most important parameter for video streaming because media server and CDN network operators charge based on it.

Media server usage
Who pays for streaming data traffic?

Logic of data traffic in livestreaming

It’s not an unsolvable mathematical puzzle: the more people watch a live stream on the internet, the more data traffic is generated because we use more bandwidth. Moreover, the higher the quality of the stream, the more traffic is involved on the internet, and the more expensive it is to operate the streaming infrastructure. Therefore, the streaming server fee is closely related to viewership. However, this fee should not be examined in isolation. It is very useful to project the cost of the server per viewer during the planning stage, as the success is likely to be measured in viewership for you as well. We provide accurate statistics for this purpose.

Viewership pitfalls

How big is your viewership? It seems like a simple question. But it’s not. It’s no coincidence that YouTube and Facebook never reveal the exact number of unique viewers who watched a video. Yes, there is a number provided, but analytics clearly indicate that when someone clicks on a YouTube video, it is counted as a view in the video-sharing platform’s statistics. We are bombarded with statistics on how many seconds were watched, click counts, engagement data, but do these matter for a live stream or the number of different people who consistently watched your live stream? If you choose the platform we recommend, we can provide such statistics as well. We can even tell you how much each segment within a stream was viewed.