From alligators to funerals: Streaming start-up sees boom in first year

The team at Norwich Live-Streaming have covered the likes of alligator dissections for the Norwich Science Festival. 

The team at Norwich Live-Streaming Services have covered the likes of alligator dissections for the Norwich Science Festival. - Credit: Norwich Live-Streaming Services

Many have felt the strain of not being able to see family and friends in person during lockdown - but one business has worked tirelessly to bring some humanity to screens. 

Norwich Live-Streaming was founded by videographer Luke Bryant in August last year and has since live streamed events from funerals to alligator dissections. 

The underlying challenge has been, and will continue to be, making sure online events are safe and respectful forums for clients and audiences alike, according to Mr Bryant. 

Mr Bryant said: "There is a great deal of prep that goes into live streams - days worth of security checks as well as lighting, connectivity, and liaising with clients. It's not as simple as setting up a couple of cameras and getting a video online."

Behind the scenes at Norwich Live-Streaming Services. 

Behind the scenes at Norwich Live-Streaming Services. - Credit: Norwich Live-Streaming Services. 

The livestream which has so far taken the most prep was the dissection of an alligator as part of a project with the Norwich Science Festival. 

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"We were very fortunate - we thought that, if any of them, this project may be the most likely to get some online comments we would need to monitor," he added.

"We put a lot of work into making sure the live stream stayed appropriate for anyone watching - which we knew might include school children. That meant coming up with a list of phrases to ban prior to the event as well as having someone on standby to monitor comments. 

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"Of course platforms like YouTube already have these kind of safety nets built in but when you're handling content like this you want to be more careful."

Norwich Live-Streaming Services

Norwich Live-Streaming Services launches last year - Credit: Norwich Live-Streaming Services

As well as streaming educational content the team of five, based in Earlham Road, is also working with the Diocese of Norwich and Norwich Cathedral. 

On top of that they are also streaming sensitive events including funerals. 

He said: "The main thing we've learned is to establish what the customer is comfortable with from the first conversation. 

"We realised pretty early on that people may not be comfortable with having a funeral streamed on Zoom or Facebook. Of course, people can still use these options and we can create meetings and passwords which keep it secure, but we wanted to have an independent option too. 

"We invested about £5,000 to launch a website where we can privately host events like this - and that offering has landed well with our customers. 

"So far we've had no issues when it comes to funerals and any guidelines for what can and cannot be posted online - and to be honest I think we've got a formula both we and our customers are comfortable with."

He added that having turned over in excess of three times the amount of total start up costs, the business is set to grow. 

"We're all videographers as well and we're already having requests from clients to start that work up too. 

Norwich Live-Streaming Services

Norwich Live-Streaming Services works with institutions all over Norfolk - Credit: Norwich Live-Streaming Services

"Obviously we're all looking forward to seeing people face-to-face but I don't think live-streamed events will disappear when we go back to normal. Businesses have learned now that they can save a lot of costs by not having staff travel from all over the country. 

"It's also meant so much to people that they can tune into events like funerals from anywhere in the world. We've had people logging on from China and Canada for example, who wouldn't have been able to be involved otherwise." 

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