Explaining Exactly What Is a Webcast?
Many people don’t know that live streaming on the internet dates back to 1993 when people were still using dial-up modems. But today’s webcasts extend far beyond the audio-video quality and one-way broadcast capabilities of the first live streaming solutions.
A webcast leverages state-of-the-art video conferencing, live streaming, and chat solutions to deliver live video to audiences across the world via the Web. Participants log in via any internet-enabled device, including a smartphone, Mac, PC, or tablet, and can interact with presenters via chat, Q&A, audience polling functions, and two-way audio-video capabilities.
Who Uses Webcasts?
Virtually anyone from small business service providers, e-commerce websites, and enterprise-level Fortune 500 companies can use webcasts for a variety of purposes. Companies use webcasts for:
- Press conferences to announce exciting company news, new products, or services
- Investor relations meetings and earnings calls
- Lead generation
- Building brand loyalty with existing customers
Companies can also use webcasts for internal purposes, such as:
- Company training
- Town hall meetings
- Disseminating benefits information
Benefits of a Webcast
Webcasts carry tremendous benefits for the companies that present them and their customers. They provide flexibility for customers and prospects to watch from anywhere. Features such as audience polling and Q&As provide two-way interaction to encourage engagement.
Plus, every webcast provides a record of registrants’ email addresses allowing for easy follow-up after the event to improve conversions and increase the ROI of the time, money, and technology it takes to produce a webcast.
Webcasts can also be recorded and re-played on demand. This gives consumers and business partners the capability to review the materials at a later date, so they might retain the information even better.
Companies that present webinars save money on travel costs and make it more convenient for presenters and speakers at their event to speak from anywhere they might be. All that’s needed is a camera, microphone, and high-speed internet access.
Webinar vs. Webcast: What’s the Difference?
You may hear the terms “webinar” and “webcast” used interchangeably. People also use the words “virtual event,” “online broadcast,” or “livestream” to describe many internet-based events. Let’s clarify what the different terms mean.
A webcast describes any live streaming event on the Web. Some may be recorded for on-demand playback at a later date, but the original live event is considered a webcast.
A webinar describes a live or pre-recorded event broadcast over the Web. Many companies use them for lead generation or sales. Some webinars may be live webcasts if they are broadcast live. But not all webinars are webcasts. A webcast always takes place live, encouraging audience interaction, while a webinar may be pre-recorded. Webinar is a portmanteau of the words “Web” and “seminar.”
A town hall meeting may be a live webcast, but it’s not a webinar. Similarly, there are many different types of virtual events, including investor relations calls, industry conferences, and even concerts. Many are not webinars. They can be considered webcasts if they are first broadcast live.
The terms livestream and webcast can, however, be used synonymously.
Whatever you opt to call your virtual event, the right technology makes the difference between a successful webcast and one riddled with connection problems and poor quality audio and video.
Count on PGi to help you produce your webcast seamlessly and professionally. Reach out for a demo today.