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What the Experts Say About…Webcasting

Webcasting has become a major concern for many enterprises, both for internal and external use cases. As a result, many of the analysts in the business community have been paying increased attention to webcasting in general over the last few years. What does the analyst community have to say about webcasting?

Why Use Webcasting in the First Place?

So why has webcasting become so popular in the first place? What does it allow companies to do?
In TechRadar™: Video Technologies, Q3 2017, Forrester analyst Nick Barber explains:

“Webcasting technology allows companies to create engaging presentations that incorporate live video, slides, chat, and downloadable material.”

By combining multiple forms of media into a single broadcast, webcasting offers an irresistibly dense form of communication that helps pack a ton of content into one piece of media. The live component adds a special sense of urgency and interaction.
In The Aragon Research Globe™for Enterprise Video, 2017: The Rise of the Visual Enterprise, Aragon researcher Jim Lundy also takes note of the growing importance of live broadcast, and how enterprises are turning to platforms to manage all of the required capabilities:

“The enterprise has begun to catch onto the aforementioned trend that is pervading major social media platforms: live broadcast. Webcasts from corporate communications are becoming more common, as is more use of video in Webinars…Video-enabled live broadcasts can provide a robust environment for communication and collaboration between internal and external parties. The need to manage these video assets is critical because today, search capabilities have become much stronger and users want to be able to find and play recordings at will. This is where Enterprise Video Providers step in –to provide the Platform to manage this growing body of video content.”

As he notes, webcasting has expanded to fill roles in both internal and external communications. Companies use webcasting to reach external audiences with marketing-related broadcasts. They also increasingly use webcasts for internal company communications, allowing executives to reach out to employees for live, unified messaging.
However, as Lundy points out, the growth in content has spurred a greater need for video management, so all the live broadcasts and recordings can be easily handled. Storage, management, and search are becoming major concerns in relationship to webcasts and their on-demand recordings.

A Major Trend: Platform Convergence

Overall, video technologies have been seeing a trend towards convergence: external and internal use cases, one-to-one and one-to-many broadcasts, live and VOD content. While originally, different platforms were used for each of these cases, increasingly, companies are looking for consolidate their number of vendors.
Again from the Forrester TechRadar™ report,

“We have seen the convergence of enterprise video platforms (EVPs) and online video platforms (OVPs) because only the audience differs, not the types of content.”

Similarly, in Forrester Research’s Vendor Landscape: Video Platforms for Customer and Employee Experience, Barber explains

“Using a single platform for both internal and external video is easier for the technology organization to support and easier for producers in marketing, corporate communications, and human resources to use. A single platform means the workflow, interface, and functionality are the same, which reduces learning time and confusion.”

It’s not surprising—multiple systems not only involve more overhead, they require far more oversight, maintenance, and training. By finding a few platforms that can provide many different video functions, companies are able to significantly reduce both cost and workload, while making their systems less confusing and frustrating for employees overall.
In our own survey, The State of Video in the Enterprise 2017, nearly half of companies surveyed were in some stage of consolidating the various video systems—webcasting,  web conferencing, telepresence, corporate video portal, video-based training, marketing, and more—under a few centrally managed solutions.

Recommendations for Setting up a Webcasting System

The best plan when evaluating a new webcasting platform is to consider from the start how video content will be managed overall. Combining live broadcasts and video on-demand recordings from the webcasts with the rest of the company’s video content allows employees to more easily manage and search video content.
In Enterprise Video’s Future Aligns with Customer Obsession, Forrester’s Barber suggests:

“Some companies start on this journey by looking for a content management solution to make existing videos available to employees. But increasingly, a requirement to webcast live video is the impetus for companies to explore a video publishing service. A best practice is to have defined processes for recording live videos and publishing them to a repository that employees can access.”

Later in the report, he mentions an approach to delivering video to external viewers:

“Use an enterprise video platform to deliver content externally…Industry heavyweight Kaltura has been in the online and enterprise video platform market for years.”

Gartner also discusses the importance of a comprehensive video solution in their Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Video Content Management. They suggest that companies looking to deploy a video solution asses their core needs so that they can compare their options not only against their current needs, but their future plans as well. Whit Andrews and Adam Preset note

“Kaltura offers an extremely broad set of capabilities…Thevendor scored well in many use cases, thanks to the comprehensiveness of its offering.”

The last time that a research analyst firm directly assessed the webcasting market was in 2015. At that point, Forrester released a report by Philipp Karcher, The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Video Platforms And Webcasting, Q1 2015. It includes the assessment,

“Forrester uncovered a market in which Kaltura is separated from the pack as a video portal, and the strongest overall choice for combined video portals and webcasting.”

Karcher, too, found a high value in combining webcasting with video management through a video portal.

The Future of Webcasting

So where is webcasting as a technology heading? Perhaps in the future, we’ll see VR or 360 video included as part of webcasts. However, even in its current form, the technology shows no sign of losing steam. In fact, it only seems to be picking up momentum. Where internal webcasting was once restricted to just big town hall type meetings once or twice a year, for example, it’s increasingly being used on a regular basis by all teams that need to stay in touch. Department meetings, sales kickoffs, product launches, and more are being handled through webcasting, often a self-serve version that involves far less of a technical team than required by older iterations. The appeal of a live, interactive broadcast continues to draw companies to take advantage.
As Barber notes in the TechRadar™ report,

“Forrester expects the webcasting market to see significant success because it can augment plain live video and add interactivity. Today’s software- and cloud-based tools can rival professional studio operations, and we expect the ease of use of the technology to attract more customers.”

If you’re not already using webcasting, expect it to become an increasingly compelling part of your video strategy in the coming years. As the experts all agree: webcasting is only gaining in power.

How are real companies handling webcasting? Read the survey “Webcasting Trends and Challenges.”

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