The 4 best live blogging platforms for news and media publishers

The 4 best live blogging platforms for News and Media publishers

Choosing between four leading live blogging solutions

In this post, we’re comparing Live Center, Live Blog Pro, RockContent Live (formerly ScribbleLive), and Arena.IM to determine which solution is help you determine which is a good fit for your organization. As with choosing any solution, it’s important to first understand what your needs are and see what’s available on the market that fits those needs. 

To start with, we are going to introduce four live blogging platforms and go through some key aspects you should look at when evaluating them. These range from concrete features and functionality to licensing and cost terms. Let’s jump straight into it!

Four leading solutions

Live Center is built as an extremely customizable and scalable live blogging platform. It is designed to allow the user to create news feeds with any type of news, sports, politics and traffic content in a way that fits the unique requirements of each customer. The solution offers a wide range of customizable features, meaning you can include just the tools your users should have access to across your organization. It also supports an unlimited range of implementations so that it will fit into your technology landscape and other solutions.

Live Blog pro also offers a variety of features that will spark your interest in the live blogging career and help you kick start your community of viewers. While suitable for both niche sites and larger organizations, it doesn’t offer the same level of customization that Live Center does. Providing a user-friendly interface and customer support system to help troubleshoot problems, it is an efficient live blogging tool for beginners and organizations seeking for an out-of-the-box solution.

RockContent Live, or ScribbleLive Engage as it used to be called, is perhaps the solution that started live blogging as we know it today back in 2008. Starting off as an enterprise solution for breaking news coverage and live events, it has transformed into a content marketing platform that is used by publishers, marketers, and event planners around the world. Being the most widely used enterprise solution, it comes with a price and starts between $2000 and $2500 / month according to online review sites G2Crowd and Getapp (a Gartner company).

Arena.im is another major solution provider when it comes to live blogging platforms, although they offer a wider range of live engagement tools such as live chat and virtual events software. Arena also offers some great features such as polling the audience, asking questions, sending one-on-one messages, and more.

A great solution for simple live bloggers, Arena offers simple and intuitive features for the smaller and less complex live news coverage. However customization and control is more limited than some of the other solutions.

Comparing the solutions

Bloggers don’t necessarily have the time to evaluate all the available platforms on the market, so hopefully this comparison and feature highlights will help you get going!

1. Free trial

It’s always a good idea to try out a solution before buying any monthly subscription. Live Blog Pro, Live Center and Arena offer free trials, so you can go ahead and try out these platforms. Unfortunately, RockContent Live no longer offers a trial option.

2. Monthly charges

When comparing the monthly fee for each the platform, Live Center leads the race with the lowest subscription fee starting at 69 € / $ 72, followed by Arena with 75 € / $ 79 and Live Blog 99 € / $ 104, while Rock Content’s fee starts at approximately $2000 according to online review sites.

Live Center, Live Blog Pro and Arena allow you to sign up for a monthly subscription, so that you don’t have to commit to a year-long contract right from the start. On the other hand, ScribbleLive binds you to a 12-month commitment right away.

There are of course even cheaper platforms out there that might be ideal for beginners or anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.

3. Use cases

Live Center is optimally designed for live blogging but its use cases are more versatile than that. Existing customer use cases include online news media, sports news, publishing, newspapers, blogs, media providers and sport betting sites. Similarly, Arena focuses on sports events, news and media, broadcasting and financial news coverage. RockContent Live and Live Blog pro on the other hand are mainly used for online news media.

Live Center as well as Arena provide users with more diversity in the type of content they want to create. As an example, Live Center accomplishes this through an extensive library of extensions, which allow users to add extra functionality in an easy way, like creating live scoreboards or election counters.

4. Editor

When choosing a live blogging solution, it is of utmost importance to select one that provides an optimal and intuitive user interface! The good news is that all of these solutions are not only user-friendly but also offer editing capabilities on mobile for direct contribution or instant updates. News or sports coverage as well as all other live blogs often require journalists to update their live feed while being on the spot.

Native apps available on the IOS or Android’s Appstore are great in theory and have been instrumental in publishing on the go. However, modern mobile browsers such as Safari and Chrome make many apps redundant as they are able to render perfectly without an app thanks to implementing the right frontend technology.

Even though most users have been hooked on the idea of a native app in the past, there are several benefits to not building and maintaining one. Some of these include reducing sources of error due to supporting three different technology bases (Web, IOS, and Android), faster development of core solutions and reducing the need for users to download the app since editing is possible directly in the browser.

Being at the forefront of this movement, Live Center has no native app and provides a modern interface that supports all major mobile browsers.

5. Customer support

All four live blogging platforms have support processes in place. Customer support provides help and guidance to users through help guides and documentation whenever any troubleshooting is needed.
LiveBlog Pro and Live also provide priority support. Live Center offers Slack and phone support in its enterprise subscription, which enables you to reach customer support in seconds and get help right away. Similarly, Arena also offers real-time chat support, email and phone support in their enterprise subscription.

6. Training

Live Center, Live Blog Pro and Live provide training to their users in multiple ways. Training methods such as online training, webinars and documentation have made it incredibly easy for a user to learn and improve their content. Live Center also provides extensive How-To guides on their support site, where you can also chat directly with support and get answers to anything you are missing.

7. Product features

While all those platforms provide features that make live blogging more efficient and fun, Live Center provides the user with an extensive range of features to help them create live feeds that fit their ways of working.

What’s most unique about Live Center’s features is that they can be switched on and off to only show what users really need. If you want to be able to capture videos directly on your phone through Live Center and publish them in seconds, that feature is easily included in the editor. Otherwise, it can be simply removed to make the editor interface more streamlined.


Unique key features in Live Center

1. File sharing

Being able to share files and documents allows user to have a greater variety of content and attract more viewers – and in turn more followers. Live Center can, for example, consume files from a media library such as photos, videos, or article drafts that are available inside the editor as a draft. Journalists can then easily select the drafts and publish in seconds.

2. Multi-user support

Supporting multiple journalists working inside the editor for a live blog at the same time is key for larger organizations, or live blogs covering hectic sporting events. All these solutions support multiple users while Live Center even allows comments and Q&As to be divided up into several steps. While one journalist can be responsible for approving comments, another can scroll through and publish answers.

3. WYSIWYG Rich Text Editing

The What You See Is What You Get is our favorite feature in Live Center.

The WYSIWYG editing feature allows users to simultaneously see a preview of their live post while providing the possibility to edit it. Even if you have a custom designed live blog, this feature is reflected inside Live Center’s editor.

Customized editor for VOX Media’s live blogs

4. Publish Scheduling

Another important feature that allows you to make sure your live blog feels live for as long as possible. This can be achieved if you consistently update your blog’s live feed, thus your posts would constantly appear on your subscribers’ screens and get more audience. However, it is nearly impossible for anyone to always be available to update their blog. The publish scheduling feature in Live Center allows the user to pre-mediate the time when they want their live blogs to be posted, and thus appear to users when they tune in.

This also helps SEO ranking ahead of a key event by allowing you to publish posts ahead of time which get indexed by search engines. When the event is about to start and readers search for it, your live blog will likely rank high up in the results.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to choose a new solution amidst the existing choices available on the market. Regardless of your needs and budget, it’s important to try out any tool before you sharpen your pencil and sign up. 

Check independent comparison sites to see what real users think about these solutions – software review platforms Capterra and G2 do just this.

Meanwhile – why not trying out Live Center for free if you want to explore some of the features for yourself!