Webcasting vs. Webinars

Aug 23, 2013 | Multimedia

Whether you conduct a webinar or a webcast depends on your ultimate goal. Thus, it is important to know the key aspects of each.

Webcasting and Webinars

People often have trouble identifying the differences between webcasting and webinars. Today’s blog will break down each, aiming to explain how they differ and which is best for your bottom line.

Static vs. Dynamic

In our previous blog, "What is Webcasting?" we defined webcasts as the process of video broadcasting live over the internet. As the name suggests, webcasts are web-based broadcasts. On the other hand, webinars are simply web-based seminars. Webinars typically utilize pre-recorded audio with PowerPoint slides, usually allowing for questions at the end. Whereas webinars are generally more static, webcasting is more dynamic. Whether you conduct a webinar or a webcast depends on your ultimate goal. Thus, it is important to know the key aspects of each.

A Difference in Set-up

Webcasts and webinars are generally set up differently. Webcasts occur live with a multi-camera/multi-media setup, offering a variety of camera angles. Audience members can participate by streaming the webcast and entering the associated chat room. These chat rooms allow the audience to ask questions and receive answers in real-time. The presenter typically speaks directly to the camera, as opposed to webinars where a voice-over narrates a slide show or video presentation. Webinars do allow for audience interaction, but questions are generally held until the end. For this reason, it is difficult to determine if the content in webinars is actually being presented live, or if it is pre-recorded with a live Q&A session to follow.

Emotions and Interactions

Additionally, the types of interaction in webinars and webcasts differ. Since webcasts consist of a live person speaking to the camera, they are able to convey a sense of emotion. Audience members may feel more connected to the speaker if they can see him or her. The ability to ask questions and receive immediate, live answers also adds to the interactivity of webcasts. Since webcasts involve chat rooms, viewers can also talk to one another, allowing for side conversations and separate chat rooms. This can be great for participation but also threatens fast spreading discontentment. Webinars are less interactive since questions are held until the end. When asking questions in webinars, participants can usually call in. This is a point to point conversation, meaning that audience members don’t have the opportunity to speak with one another

When Should you Choose Webcasting?

Webcasting is generally best for presentations in which the presenter prefers to speak directly to the audience and conversation is encouraged throughout. Webinars are typically used when the presenter has a visual content-heavy presentation to give, or when the presentation is prerecorded. If you are looking to present start to finish without interruption, webinars are probably best for you. Overall, both webcasts and webinars are great ways to share information, depending on your ultimate goal.