Ustream’s New Interface, a Boon for Bands and Fans

By Jason Epstein

On October 3, Ustream is launching an upgraded site with brand new features, and to celebrate the launch they’re holding the world’s largest “watch party” for the first 2012 Presidential debate.  Ustream began in March of 2007 and has since broadcast live events from all over the globe.  Their service can be used by anyone with an internet connection and a camera to broadcast to friends, family, and fans anytime from anywhere.  Ustream broadcasts a variety of live-stream content like sporting events, movie premieres, conferences, talk shows, interactive games and of course, live musical performances.  It’s unclear if all of their new features will be available for standard members or only for premium members, but premium membership is a totally reasonable $3.99/month.

Many of Ustream’s features seem to lend directly (if not purposely) to benefiting the interaction between bands and their fans.  With Ustream, bands can do things like hand out cameras and give fans the ability to broadcast concerts, simulcast interviews, film, and broadcast live performances from multiple angles simultaneously and much more, especially now that their format makes it easier than ever for both Ustream page owners and fans to connect with each other.

UStream’s new channel page features, which are now available in beta, include:

Top Background
This allows premium members to customize the top background surrounding their video player (similar to changing your background picture on Facebook).

Customized Background
This is a pretty self-explanatory customization of background space underneath the top of the page, but again requires that users have a premium membership.

An Apple-esque inclusion of banners, maps, widgets and other items to customize your channel.

Channel Extensions
These extensions allow users to add modules for Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and PayPal to help promote and monetize their presence.

Additional Features

  • A new video player design that allows user to tint the rest of the screen so the video is more prominent (Hulu has a similar functionality).
  • Premium users have the ablity to broadcast in HD.
  • Ustream has switched from “Crowds” to “Follow” which encourages viewers to keep up with the user’s activity, receive email updates and get real-time notifications for broadcasts.
  • A one-stop content display for live events, recorded videos and highlights.
  • Facebook commenting that can continue when the channel isn’t live.
  • Channel viewers that can RSVP to events right from the user’s page.
  • Ustream’s editorial team will now assist users in programming and planning events, including ones with multiple simul-streams.

Keep an eye out for your favorite band’s content on Ustream.