Planning an event these days can be expensive. So why limit the reach of an event to just the people who can be there in person? There are potentially thousands of people who may be interested in the topic of your conference or event but cannot attend due to time, distance or financial constraints.
The internet is making the world a closer place and companies are now leveraging advancements in technology to cut costs. Streaming an event live on-line can offer the benefits of extending audience reach without having to hire bigger venues or fly colleagues in from across the world.
SO WHAT IS LIVE STREAMING?
Live streaming is the process of taking one or more video feeds from cameras or PowerPoint presentations at an event and mixing them together with sound and on-screen graphics to produce a streamlined video which is available on-line in real-time for viewers at home. It's sometimes known as web-casting or simply video streaming.
HOW CAN LIVE STREAMING HELP?
There are two main benefits of live streaming an event; reaching a wider audience and immortalizing the event to be watched back at any time.
Reaching a wider audience will help increase brand awareness and can allow you to deliver the same message to many people with no physical boundaries. This, for instance, could allow training to be delivered to all company employees worldwide simultaneously, or it could allow members of the press to see your latest product launch together. Awards shows may be streamed purely to allow parents and family members to watch the success of their kids.
Professionally recording events allows them to be re-watched over and over; for instance, a conference could be referred back to for reference and may even become a valued online source on that specialist subject.
WHAT CAN BE STREAMED?
Anything. Sports matches, conferences, awards shows, festivals, comedy nights, product launches and pretty much anything that has a physical audience could be interesting to someone watching at home.
WHAT DO I NEED TO LIVE STREAM?
In theory, anyone with a computer and a webcam can stream an event using one of the many free platforms available online. DIY live streaming has its place, but in a real venue, there is more than just the video to think about.
Lighting, sound, graphics and multiple angles all need to be taken into consideration. If you want to be able to hear and see your event properly then it's time to get a professional company involved.
The other side of this is to consider the streaming platform itself; a professional company will have equipment suitable for providing a top quality result to thousands of viewers online.
Whilst you feel you might be able to cobble something together to stream your event, also bear in mind backup options and how you will cope if a particular piece of hardware fails. Again, a professional company will have multiple methods of ensuring a stream remains available even in the most difficult of conditions or failures.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN A LIVE STREAMING COMPANY?
A good video streaming provider will be able to offer the entire package from planning to production and broadcast. It may be that the venue you are using already can provide an A/V technician to handle sound and lighting, but the video company should be involved from the start to ensure the venue's requirements are up-to-scratch for providing an on-line experience that's almost as good as being there. Your chosen video supplier should be able to provide you with assistance when planning your event and support you with integrating the live user experience (for instance, Twitter or a Q&A integration – allowing viewers to write into the show as it's live).
A good quality streaming platform is also important. This ensures your stream can be viewed on a variety of devices (mobiles and tablet devices have become so important as tools to deliver interactive content in recent years). They should also be able to offer features such as pay-per-view or on-demand playback if required.
BUT ISN'T ALL THIS VERY EXPENSIVE?
That depends, and it's important to say at this point that you should explore multiple options to ensure you get the best for your application. Live video is becoming more affordable and there are many companies out there now taking advantage of the latest technology to reduce the cost and complexity. Of course, as always, be wary of anyone offering a price too-good-to-be-true – you want to ensure your event will be streamed professionally using good quality equipment and operators after all!
It's important to consider what you actually need from live streaming (how many angles, how much setup time, etc). The more complex a venue the longer it will take to rig the equipment for example. All of these things your chosen provider will be able to advise on.
There are of course some interesting avenues that can be explored with an on-line platform, and the two most important ones are video advertising and pay-per-view. You may find you can get someone to sponsor your on-line stream and perhaps even cover the cost of it by placing their companies video adverts in the show (great if you have time in your event schedule to fill with 'commercial breaks').
With pay-per-view (and this works especially well if your event is paid entry for the audience) then you can charge viewers a fee to watch your stream. Even charging a small amount adds up and could potentially pay for the cost of running the stream. Offering on-demand playback could ensure a revenue stream from people who want to relive the event.
Our final words of advice are to not be scared of on-line streaming and the benefits it may bring to your event. At least give it a go, try talking to a supplier and ask for their view on suitability – you may be pleasantly surprised on just how affordable it can be too. Video is an ever-growing medium so why not let your company be at the forefront of this digital age revolution? If you are interested, then get in touch and we'll happily provide a no-obligation free quotation for your project.