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April 25, 2024

Fishtank Case Study


Fishtank Live is a certified internet sensation. The reality show pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, live streaming and recording contestants’ every move through a series of cameras located in various rooms of the Fishtank house. But viewers don’t just watch Fishtank, they can also be part of the show by interacting with anyone on-set in real-time.

The Fishtank Live Phenomenon

Fishtank Live is a 24/7 live streamed reality show with ten contestants living in a house together for six weeks without “phones, weed, or expectation of privacy,” to quote the producers. The show is made with a dash of satire, a pinch of social commentary, and a whole lot of improv, with an element of audience participation added to contribute extra chaos. Viewers can pay to play pranks on contestants, like having their bed removed or turning the heat in the house way up. All this happens amidst the usual reality show challenge competitions, contestant eliminations, and awarding of cash prizes.

After the live streaming portion of the show concludes, producers edit the footage into a more traditional format that viewers can watch on demand.

The unique content format has drawn dedicated fans from across the globe. Viewers monitor the contestants’ every move, interacting with the show and with each other around the clock.

A Unique Set of Streaming Needs

Because the audience can pay to influence the show and interact with the contestants, the live streaming portion of Fishtank Live is essential to the show’s success. That also means a dependable streaming partner is the difference between success and failure.

The show’s setup creates unique demands for streaming content. Every room in the Fishtank Live house is live streaming 24/7 for six weeks, and channel switching for viewers must be instant to keep the audience from leaving the stream. With outrageous behavior like head shaving, improv boxing matches, and heartfelt confessions happening anywhere and everywhere in the house, multiple dependable live streaming cameras and ultra-low latency streaming is essential. Effective access control is also required for subscription-based content monetization.

Choosing Livepeer Studio

Fishtank Live chose to partner with Livepeer Studio for both the live version of the show and the episodic on-demand version after evaluating multiple options across performance, feature capabilities, ease of use, and cost.

With only 1 developer, the Fishtank Live team was able to complete a production-ready implementation within two weeks - something that usually takes up to three months of work.

With the unique demands Fishtank Live has for video streaming, first-class support is essential to maintaining the quality and reliability necessary for building and maintaining an audience. Part of that support involves rolling with the changing demands of a complex video operation. Not having to deal with the delays associated with being stuck in a support queue helped Fishtank remain dynamic and able to respond to the changing desires of the audience.

Controlling Costs While Uncovering Creative Revenue Sources

Fishtank Live found profitability through a combination of keeping costs down while exploring unique opportunities to build new sources of revenue. Dependable, low-cost streaming through the partnership with Livepeer Studio helps control expenditures and plays a key role in building an audience willing to spend money to influence the live show. Overall, Livepeer Studio helped the Fishtank team save over 55% in video streaming cost.

In addition, the popularity of Fishtank Live has influencers asking if they can pay to be featured in the show through the new FishBNB program. Traditionally, influencers demand a fee to be featured, and this inversion of advertising revenue represents a sea change in how programs like Fishtank could increase their profitability.

Becoming a Platform

Fishtank Live bills itself as “raw humanity,” and the many instances of humanity on the show are being captured through the Livepeer Studio clipping tool. The tool allows users to create clips of active streams provided via API. For Fishtank Live, these clips are starting to constitute a meaningful amount of the show’s total traffic, with the audience actively sharing clips with each other and creating memes based on the clips. According to the show’s creator, “Being on the pages with the clips really makes you start to feel like Fishtank is more than just a destination to watch the show; it’s a real platform.”

The Future

Changing the face of reality entertainment requires many things. An appreciation of the absurd. A strong connection with your audience. Affordable, reliable, and flexible streaming that can roll with the inherent unpredictability of the genre. Fishtank Live found those last qualities in Livepeer Studio, a dependable video partner to deliver the joyfully unpredictable content to an ever-expanding audience.

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