Livestreaming for funerals

One of the most important changes we’ve seen in recent years is the shift from physical to virtual events. This shift has changed expectations for what “attendance” means for a funeral service. Now, more than ever, families are looking for ways to connect with their loved ones, even if they cannot physically attend a funeral.

73% of event planners expect hybrid events to be more common in the future.

For context, my company has been working with top institutions across the country, from Columbia University to Forest Lawn, to integrate hybrid solutions into their workflows. We’ve produced tens of thousands of live streams since 2020 and the demand for virtual funerals is still growing strong.

Despite the increased demand, many funeral homes are still hesitant to embrace this technology and evolve their offering to better fit the needs and desires of their families. They think of live streaming as “just a fad”, something that will “just go away” once the pandemic ends. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Live Streaming Is Here to Stay

Convenience is everything, especially in a world as unpredictable and unique as death care. Consumers now have a new baseline for what it means to “attend” and “participate” through virtual technology platforms (such as Zoom). Although, there’s a large wave of people opting in for physical attendance vs. virtual, that doesn’t change the expectations that all special moments will have a hybrid component. Even something as simple as Facetiming Uncle Bob in for a speech is opting in for hybrid.

Live streaming also makes it easier for families to connect with their loved ones. They can watch, listen, and share memories from any device. And, with cloud-based technology, all of the recordings can be stored in one place for families to access at any time.

New Revenue Streams

Funeral homes that choose to live stream their services have the potential to generate new revenue streams. When providing a quality video service, the average family’s willingness to pay ranges between $349-$699 for a private, live stream link and downloadable file. For a simple wide-shot, static camera, or iPhone, there isn’t necessarily room to charge, but definitely helps check the box for accessibility.

Increasing Brand Value and Recognition

All funeral homes strive to provide the highest quality service, with competitive pricing, backed by the trust of their brand. It’s more important than ever to take a step back and re-evaluate your online brand and reputation. They utilize the live streams and downloads as a value that only they can provide, ensuring that they are known as the best option for a hybrid funeral with demos online.

You might be thinking that setting up the iPad and sharing the link is checking the box for live streaming, but the top funeral homes we work with take a different approach. A beautiful live stream and recording is now a must-have for most families, and they love to know their service can be streamed with ease. This increases their online brand and turns viewers into future customers.

Competitive Landscape

In an increasingly competitive landscape, funeral homes need to look for ways to differentiate themselves. Providing a high-quality live streaming service is a great way to stand out from other funeral homes that simply did not adopt the live stream offering. I’ve seen dozens of funeral homes include live streaming as a standard service, saying every single service that takes place here comes with a high-quality live stream and download. Instead of choosing the overwhelming a la carte option for all services, we’re seeing more and more all-inclusive pricing.

What to Think About When Considering Live Streaming

Concerns like “How do we connect audio?”, “Is the picture quality high-resolution?” and “How do I know the stream is live?” are all things to think about when incorporating a live stream. These are all factors that the end viewer perceives as quality, and if it is done well, then you’re set up to impress viewers.

When speaking to vendors, here are some great questions to ask:

  • What do we need to do in the room on the day of a service?
  • Where does the live stream get broadcast?
  • Will there be someone available to help us if needed?
  • Do you have resources to help us discuss live streaming with families?

The technical lift of live streaming can often be daunting for a funeral home, no matter the size of your team. When you consider adding live streaming to your home’s offering, it’s incredibly important to choose the right live streaming partner to simplify the process and customize it for you.

The shift from physical meetups to virtual hangouts has changed expectations for what “attendance” means for the funeral service. Live streaming is here to stay, and it is an important way for families to connect with their loved ones. It is also a great opportunity for funeral homes to differentiate themselves from their competitors and generate new revenue streams. With cloud-based technology, families can access recordings at any time, making live streaming an invaluable tool for funeral homes.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of The Independent® magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

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