The Internet has created many opportunities to share and disseminate information but none have had more impact than video. Video is incredibly popular online; consider that YouTube is the third largest search engine in the world. Apparently, we like getting our content delivered with motion and sound.
As the Internet has matured so has its capacity and capability to transmit video content. This improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed in the business community. Early adopters have managed to leverage Internet video in many unique ways; probably the most effective is as an outreach tool to both clients and distant employees.
Before digging in to Webcasting, it might be helpful to discuss a few key terms in the field of Internet based conferencing, video and presentations.
Webcast vs. Webinar
By now most of us have heard the term ‘webinar’ and the majority have likely attended at least one. Originally the term ‘webinar’ described an online slide-based presentation with a presenter providing the voiceover narrative. Webinars could be presented live or as a prerecorded event. Many webinars provided two-way communication between the presenter and the audience via chat, email or fax.
A ‘web conference’ differs from a webinar in that the web conference tends to have a dial-in option for voice communication between those involved. Like a conference call where everyone can also view a shared computer desktop or presentation.
Finally a ‘webcast’ is a presentation that tends to have presenters seen onscreen, much like the host of a TV show. Webcasts can also include slide-based content, inserted video or computer screen captures, live computer demonstrations, and even remote live video. Webcasts often feature a live audience that interacts with the presenter or host. Depending on the technology available, many webcasts will also support chat for viewing audience Q&A.
Of course the lines between these neat definitions have been blurring since day one. There really are no hard and fast rules, users mix and match technologies and presentation types to suit the need of the moment and the message.
Webcasting Saves on Travel
Webcasting is beginning to come into its own. Businesses that used to pay thousands of dollars to gather far flung employees into one location for a meeting are now saving a fortune by using webcasting. They realize the same benefits of a group meeting without the transportation and housing costs. And since webcasting easily lends itself to frequent broadcasts, information is delivered in a more timely fashion. Webcasting means there is no need to wait months before key players can all gather in one place.
Webcasts are often used as education venues, reaching large audiences with live demonstrations as well as Q&A. Many new products or services have had their début through webcasting; what better way to announce a new product than to present it to an audience that chose to attend?
Webcasts can be free to the viewer or based on paid admission. Some models offer the live broadcast for free but charge a fee to download the recording after the event. Often recorded webinars continue to earn revenue for months after the event as for-fee downloads.
The Flexible Solution
Webcasts are time flexible, some last only an hour where others can stretch to days. The content of a webcast can be well choreographed or informal and easy going. The format of the webcast is always personalized by the presenter, making webcasting the most engaging way to speak to an audience without actually being in the same room with them.
Take a few minutes and think about how webcasting can benefit your business:
• Through more timely delivery of important information to staff or your target audience
• Reductions in travel and hotel costs
• Maintaining a closer connection to your staff or target audience
• As a revenue stream from paid webcast attendance - or as a fee-for-download model
Learn more about Informatics’ Webcasting services. Or call 888-363-3795 for a needs assessment appointment.
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