Best Practices

Zoom RTMP live streaming API pros and cons

Amanda Zhu

April 9, 2023

What is Zoom RTMP?

If you're developing an application that works with real-time data from Zoom, you may be interested in Zoom's APIs for live streaming meetings. Zoom offers these live streaming capabilities over RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), which enables you to live stream video and audio over the internet.

Zoom RTMP use cases

Zoom’s RTMP streaming capabilities were traditionally used to live stream Zoom webinars to platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Recently, a new use case for RTMP streaming has emerged: Developers building apps that work with the real-time data from Zoom. For example, if you’re building an app that provides live transcription, you need a way to access the live audio. Using the RTMP integration appears to be the most obvious approach.

However, the RTMP integration method may not be ideal for certain use cases. In this post, we’ll be going through the pros, cons, and alternatives to using Zoom’s RTMP integration for your apps.

Pros of using Zoom RTMP

  • High quality video and audio. If you need 1080p video quality in your live streams, this is the way to go.
  • Out-of-the-box configurations for live streaming to YouTube and Facebook.

Cons of using Zoom RTMP

- Setting up live streaming can be a hassle, with a number of prerequisites: - Only the meeting host can initiate the live stream. - The meeting host must have a Zoom Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise account. - The meeting host must enable live streaming in their Zoom settings. [Here's an example setup for the Colibri app]( - The meeting host must manually start the live stream for every meeting they host. - Alternatively you can build a Zoom App to start the live stream automatically. - However, only the Zoom workspace admin can install your app. This can be a blocker for adoption, especially if your go-to-market is bottom-up. - RTMP is inherently a high latency protocol, so a delay of 10-30 seconds when receiving audio and video is typical. - When live streaming is activated, a pop up appears for all participants stating that “This meeting is being live-streamed”. - This can give the impression to participants that the meeting is being streamed to a public audience. - For internal meetings (like a daily stand-up), this can be worrisome to users. - For events like webinars, this tends to bother users less. - A live streaming banner appears throughout the duration of the meeting, which can be distracting for users. - The resulting recording has a Zoom watermark in the bottom right corner. To change this watermark, the user must contact Zoom and be on the Business plan or above. More information can be found [here]( - The RTMP live streaming integration only works with Zoom. You must find a different way to access live streams from Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and other platforms.

Meeting bot as an alternative to Zoom RTMP

Relying on the built-in live streaming capabilities from Zoom has significant downsides depending on your use case. There are alternatives available, and the most common is building a meeting bot to join the call. This bot will show up as another participant in the meeting. Applications like Gong and use this method.

With meeting bots, the user:

  • Does not need to be on a paid plan
  • Does not need to be the host of the meeting
  • Does not need to be the Zoom workspace admin
  • Does not need to configure any settings
  • Does not need to install an app to programmatically access the live video and audio from the meeting.

The only thing the meeting bot needs is the meeting link.

The easiest way to build a meeting bot is with, an API for meeting bots.


In conclusion, the best applications to use Zoom's RTMP live streaming are those that stream webinars or meetings. This is because the user of the live streaming application is typically the host of the event, audio and video quality are crucial, and a few seconds of latency is acceptable. Examples of such applications include IOIO and Cinamaker.

However, if you want to access the live audio/video data from a Zoom meeting for processing or analysis, it's better to use a meeting bot. This avoids the prerequisites of using RTMP with Zoom, which could be a blocker if the user of your application isn't the host of the meeting or doesn't have admin permission to live stream. Additionally, participants in the meeting won't receive a distracting live streaming notification and badge in the meeting, which might seem out of place for regular (non-webinar) meetings. Finally, meeting bots have much lower latency than RTMP, which is important for building real-time product experiences. To build a meeting bot into your product, check out, an API that lets you send meeting bots to Zoom, Teams, Meet, and other platforms.