Farewell to Blab, Hello Crowdcast, Firetalk, and Huzza

Ross Brand:

Hey, gang. Ross Brand here for LivestreamUniverse.com. We’re asking the question, “What livestream platform is right for me or right for you now that Blab is no longer an option?” We decided to take a look at three potential Blab replacements. All three I think you’ll find will have qualities, features, that are actually better than what was offered by Blab. Some features don’t quite measure up to Blab, but in the long run, I think all three of these are better platforms going forward for your broadcast. Those are Firetalk, Crowdcast, and Huzza. It’s important to note that these are platforms we’re talking about for people looking to host talk shows, do interviews, and any other scenario in which you need more than one person on camera at a time.

Let’s start off with Firetalk. Full disclosure, this is the platform I’ve chosen for doing my broadcast. First of all, compared to the other two platforms, we’re talking about Firetalk is free. I believe the video and audio quality are better than the video and audio quality on Crowdcast and Huzza, although it’s not without some of the weaknesses inherent in web RTC. It’s a stable platform, very professional looking. TMZ, Huffington Post, and Young Turks have all decided to open channels on Firetalk. There is some discoverability, not what there was during the best days of Blab, but you can create events that will show up on the front page of Firetalk and also you can have a channel and give out that link. People can come to your channel. They can subscribe. They can get notified when you go live or if they subscribe, they’ll get notified when you create an event.

It’s a stable platform, very professional looking. TMZ, Huffington Post, and Young Turks have all decided to open channels on Firetalk

You have a channel that’s always on, so you can have a video from YouTube playing on your channel. You get credit for YouTube views. You also can promote what’s coming up or you can put on a replay of a popular show or even create a playlist to run on your channel when you’re not broadcasting live. It’s a very user-friendly setup for running your show. These are some of the positives that Firetalk has to offer. You may have noticed a couple of our popular friends from Blab are already very active on Firetalk. I think the Durham Skywriter, Patricia A. Murray, was the one who led the way over to Firetalk. She’s been broadcasting almost every day on Firetalk, doing her Bull City notes reports and also hosting her Sunday night interview show. She believes strongly in the platform.

Jonathan Tripp started on Huzza, but then he moved Jonathan Tripp Live over to Firetalk. He creates events for each of his shows and then uses his channel for the after show. I asked Jonathan why he made the move to Firetalk.

Jonathan Tripp:

We chose Firetalk for the show mainly because of stability. It had the chat feature. It had the ability to bring in multiple guests on video. It had a certain amount of shareability on the different social media platforms, as well as the discoverability for finding shows and being able to find and share other people’s shows as well. It made a very good platform that fit our style of show and the community that likes to watch it.

We chose Firetalk for the show mainly because of stability. It had the chat feature. It had the ability to bring in multiple guests on video

Ross Brand:

You can find out more about Jonathan at JonathanTripp.com. The bottom line on Firetalk: it’s a free platform. The audio and video quality is a little bit better than its competitors. It’s a professional layout. There is a little more discoverability than its competitors have and you get that unique feature of a channel that’s always on. For me, I would recommend this as the place to start, unless you need features that only a paid platform can offer. It’s probably worth checking this out before giving someone your money for the opportunity to do what you may be able to do for free on Firetalk.

The bottom line on Firetalk: it’s a free platform. The audio and video quality is a little bit better than its competitors

Let’s move along to Crowdcast. Crowdcast is a beautiful platform. Plans start at $29 per month. You need to move up to $49 if you want to unlock more features. The video quality is a little bit lower than on Firetalk, but this is intentional in order to prevent technical issues that occur with a higher quality video, but it’s not bad. It’s definitely usable. It’s definitely nice quality video. It’s a very stable platform, super professional looking. You have customizable pages. They put three people side by side by side when you have three people on camera which is beautiful looking. Just an overall luxurious looking platform. It’s like going from Blab to Crowdcast is like going from a budget to a luxury car.

It’s also a feature-rich platform. There’s the Q&A feature that lets you segment out different parts of your broadcast, which you can then share or people coming to watch your broadcast. We know a lot of people don’t watch an entire broadcast on a replay, so when people come to watch your broadcast, they can actually choose which segment is of interest to them and listen to just that segment. There’s real time analytics, a call to action button, polls. You can collect email data from your viewers and people who sign up and much more. Discovery’s kind of limited. You can follow people and then get notified when they have broadcasts coming up and also viewers only come on air by invite-only. There’s a lot of measures to kind of keep trolls at bay here, which is also nice.

Who’s using Crowdcast? Well, Zef Zan’s using it. Karen Graves is using it. Coach Jenny and RJ Redden. I asked Zef why she likes Crowdcast so much for her broadcast.

Zef Zan:

As a broadcaster, I am also a content creator and marketer, therefore I need a little bit extra as a way to incorporate some of my marketing strategies. Crowdcast has great features that help marketers like me automate some process and there’s many ways … There’s a lot features that Crowdcast has that kind of helps me cut back on time and creating content. That’s why I stay with Crowdcast. I’ve checked everything and it really is a great tool for a content marketer who really wants to find ways to automate, number one, and number two, to generate leads. It’s a great tool. That’s why I started using Crowdcast.

Ross Brand:

You can find out more about Zef Zan over on the left in the image here at ZefZan.live. Bottom line for Crowdcast: you pay a little more, certainly more than you do for Firetalk, which is free, but you get a beautifully designed layout and website and the largest and most impressive array of features, solid quality, and very few trolls. It’s a great platform for marketers who want lots of features and analytics and those who want to provide a safe environment for their community.

Bottom line for Crowdcast: you pay a little more, certainly more than you do for Firetalk, which is free, but you get a beautifully designed layout and website and the largest and most impressive array of features, solid quality

Moving along to our third of the three options, Huzza. Plans start a little bit lower than they do on Crowdcast at $15 per month. If you want to be able to embed your broadcast, then you have to go up to $49 per month to unlock that feature. The video quality can be better than Crowdcast, but I don’t find it’s quite as good as Firetalk, but there isn’t that much difference between the three platforms.

Not as stable as Firetalk and Crowdcast in my experience. I had some issues getting guests on when I hosted on Huzza. I don’t know whether that was just my bad luck or timing or whether that’s a larger problem that plagues people who host on Huzza. It’s certainly a more professional appearance than Blab, although I don’t find the interface for running the show nearly as user-friendly as I do with Firetalk, but there are a load of features that Huzza offers. They offer Patreon integration, email data, and ways to monetize your broadcast, whether it’s getting tips or opening a sales shop up. They definitely think about how users can monetize.

there are a load of features that Huzza offers. They offer Patreon integration, email data, and ways to monetize your broadcast, whether it’s getting tips or opening a sales shop

As well, much the same as Crowdcast, discoverability is quite limited. You can, I believe, follow people, or at least, when you sign up to one of their broadcasts, you’ll then get notified of future broadcasts. The big thing that Huzza is going for,  and why I’m keeping an eye on Huzza, is that you can now stream to F with one press of a button. They’re the first to market on this. In order to take advantage of this feature though, you do need to request it, but it’s pretty easy. It’s a beta feature. You just go onto the dashboard and ask it and you should have access to it. Like I said, it’s really just one press of a button and your broadcast will be on Facebook Live. You don’t need an encoder or any software. There have been some people who say it’s a little bit behind, the synching is a little bit off, but overall, very impressive that they were the first to market with this feature.

Let’s take a look at who’s using Huzza. Rachel Moore is. Jen and Mitch from TheShow.live, and of course, our good friend from Wine Antics, Jen Nelson. I asked Rachel Moore why Huzza is the platform for her.

Rachel Moore:

Huzza.io has several features that are similar to or even better than what Blab had. It’s got multiple streams. You can have up to six seats. It has the sidebar chat, including a Q&A tab so you can keep track of all the questions people are asking, which is really crucial if you want to track the conversation and see what people are saying and also keep links up there. It also has email capture, so people can enter their email. The host gets to keep it and then those people get an email reminder one half hour before the show starts. It’s a great platform and I hope to keep using it and building my community there.

Ross Brand:

You can find out more about Rachel Moore at Really.Social. Bottom line on Huzza: it’s a platform with potential. Right now, I believe it’s not quite as good as Firetalk or Crowdcast and its hosting interface isn’t as intuitive. It is the only platform to let you stream to Facebook Live with the press of a button. If streaming to Facebook Live, which has a lot of advantages in terms of getting your content in front of people who may not even know that you do livestream broadcasts. If that’s important to you, check out Huzza. I think the team there understands the broadcast community and is very responsive to the features that broadcasters are looking for. This is a platform, I believe, that has potential and is worth keeping an eye on.

To wrap it up, there’s three good options that, I think, you’ll find in a lot of ways are better for broadcasters, provide a better broadcasting experience, a better user experience, than Blab ever did, and those are Firetalk, Crowdcast, and Huzza. Certainly more stable than Blab was late in the game. Maybe more stable than Blab ever was. More professional, nicer design, but without some of the cool features that Blab had like the discoverability and the ability to press the start button when you want to record rather than needing to edit off the beginning and ends of your broadcast.

It is what it is. We say farewell to Blab, but I think people who say hello to one of these three platforms, Firetalk, Crowdcast, or Huzza, will be quite happy with their choice. That is it for which platform is right for me. For livestreamers, go out there and keep going. The community lives on beyond any one platform and we look forward to seeing what your broadcasts are, as you continue to develop and move onto other platforms. For LivestreamUniverse.com, I’m Ross Brand. Thanks again and have a great day everyone.