Webcasts and Online Broadcasting

Is there an upcoming event you wish to broadcast online? Find out how webcasting works and how to get started.

Organizing a live event is a large undertaking. It typically requires many people working together to coordinate multiple aspects of event planning. Due to the difficulties involved in organizing such an event, maximizing the number of attendees is often a priority. However, events are often limited by the sizes of their venues. Additionally, potential attendees cannot always attend the events due to geographic or scheduling challenges. Finding solutions to such problems is vital, if you want to maximize the audience for an event and your ability to connect to that audience.

Online broadcasting is one of the best solutions for maximizing the reach of a live event. That broadcasting is typically done in the form of a webcast. Webcasts have many advantages for event organizers, especially when those event organizers are business owners. If you wish to make the most of webcasts, you need to learn about their benefits and how to take advantage of their reach. 

What is Webcasting?

Webcasts are sometimes called virtual events or web events. They are also sometimes mistakenly referred to as webinars or virtual seminars. However, a true webinar is performed entirely online. It typically involves one or two individuals in a room broadcasting live audio or video solely to an online audience. A webcast is a live broadcast of an event held at a physical venue with many in-person attendees.

A webcast is somewhat similar to another popular form of online broadcasting called podcasting. The key difference is typical webcasts are initially live, unedited audio or video online broadcasts. Although, after initial broadcasts they are sometimes also available for on-demand viewing. Podcasts that are initially live can also be defined as webcasts. However, many podcasts are prerecorded hours or days ahead of their broadcast times. They are also often edited for time or content before their broadcasts are published.

What Types of Events Are Commonly Webcasted?

Today, webcasts are seemingly everywhere. They are available to watch on any devices capable of connecting to the world wide web. That makes them valuable tools in a variety of situations. For example, small event webcasts are excellent ways for individuals separated by distance to connect with each other. Such webcasts increased in popularity by leaps and bounds due to the global COVID-19 outbreak causing breakdowns in transportation and restrictions on personal gatherings. For example, wedding webcasts became quite popular as ways for couples to marry while still including their family members and friends.

Webcasts have also long been popular in the business world. They are often used to hold corporate meetings between business partners and employees in different cities or states. Sometimes they are even used to allow business partners in separate countries to attend important meetings. Additionally, webcasts are frequently used to broadcast portions of large business conferences and industry conventions. Those broadcasts allow industry leaders worldwide to learn about new advancements in their industries. They can also often use text chat options to ask live questions during the webcasts. Thus, a global exchange of information is used to improve industry standards. That ability to exchange information makes almost any event a good candidate for a webcast in today's world. Some of the most common other types of live webcasts include:

  • Concerts

  • Entertainment Conventions

  • Sporting Events

  • Political Debates

How Does Webcasting Work?

Some webcasts are available to the general public. However, many are only available to invitees or those who pay to attend. Special software is used to coordinate attendance in those instances. Public and invitation-only webcasts also require proper broadcasting hardware. That hardware may consist of computers, cellphones, or other recording devices. The webcasting process typically requires the selection or setup of the following:

  • A Camera or Webcam

  • An Audio Capture Device (If Not Build Into the Camera)

  • An Encoder to Convert the Recorded Data into a Transmittable Format

  • A Secure, Scalable Delivery Method for the Webcast Data Suitable for the Desired Audience Size

  • A Fast Internet Connection to Broadcast Efficiently

What Are Some Other Reasons Event Webcasting is Beneficial?

The ability to reach a global audience is an excellent perk of webcasts. The same is true of the ability to connect with attendees who cannot make it to a required or necessary physical event for any reason. However, there are also several more reasons event webcasting is beneficial, including:

  • Text Chat Capabilities Provide Immediate Audience Feedback on Products or Practices

  • High-Quality Broadcasting Increases Brand or Product Credibility

  • Real-Time Data Collection Provides Insights About Webcast Engagement

  • Accessibility of Webcasts Increases Diversity of Attendees

  • Customized Invitations Allow Demographic Targeting, When Necessary

What Are Some Top Sites to Help With Webcasting?

Webcasting is a potentially difficult undertaking, especially if you have not done any webcasting in the past. You may not feel capable of creating a successful webcast on your own. If that is the case, you can request help with webcast creation. There are several websites and services that specialize in webcast creation. Some of the top options are:

  • ON24 Webcast Elite is a webcasting platform designed specifically to cater to the need for viewer engagement. It offers more than 20 specific tools designed to increase conversion rates.

  • Samba Live is a completely scalable webcasting service. It is useful for everything from small business meetings to large convention broadcasting. It also features different categorized tools, such as tools specifically for educational webcasts.

  • Cisco Webex is an extensive webcasting service that includes access to certified webcast producers to assist with the webcast creation process from start to finish.

  • GlobalMeet is an ideal service for workplace meeting webcasts. It also provides global video conferencing services for live discussions. Its webcasting services include HD video streaming capabilities and network security.

  • ClickMeeting is a multi-service communications platform. Its services include multiple marketing tools to assist with webcast conversions and product sales. 

How Much Does Webcasting Cost?

You may wonder how much webcasting costs. There is no way to estimate an exact feature ahead of time. Most webcasting services require you to discuss your needs with their sales departments. They provide quotes based on those needs. For example, the size of the audience you wish to reach impacts the cost. On average, most webcasting platforms charge approximately $1,000 to $6,000 for standard services. The best approach to webcasting is to determine your budget. Then look for a webcasting service that can provide the necessary services within that budget.