The last few months have proved challenging for our world, to say the least. With the constant need to stay on top of evolving needs, each industry had to learn new technologies and ways to be available to their employees and customers. Tools like webcasting, web conferencing, and webinars are a big part of that. But while many people use those terms interchangeably, they each have a specific meaning and are used for different purposes. In this blog post, we will focus on webcasting, and how webcasting can genuinely be a game-changer for you. Webcasting has proven itself to be a trusted helper during these confusing times, and even before the world decided to turn upside-down.
More than half (60%) of event professionals pivoted an online event to virtual events due to the impact of COVID-19, and more than half (68%) of event professionals are looking for hybrid event technology that supports both in-person and virtual events. The same holds true for company-wide meetings. The world is turning more and more to virtual events and meetings. Even before Covid-19, in-person events proved to be costly and time-consuming. Before social distancing became the norm, small companies would often gather up the employees and sit them down in a room to attend corporate meetings. Arranging a timeslot where all the employees could attend the discussion proved challenging to coordinate even at a small scale, and the technical difficulties associated with getting the presentation up and running were typical. For large companies with offices spread throughout regions globally, getting everyone in one place was virtually impossible.
Webcasting improves corporate communications by allowing everyone to tune in from where they are at the time. Long gone is the need to cram everyone into a stuffy meeting room or arrange expensive flights. Now everyone can simply join the conversation from where it is most convenient for them. Those who do tune in late or miss the broadcast, DVR and VOD make it possible for them to catch up. It’s an ideal tool for making corporate communications simultaneously unified and personal, providing the CEO with the opportunity to reach every employee (almost) face-to-face.
Before we go into the why and how, we should first review the what.
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So, What is Webcasting?
Simply put, webcasting is an event streamed live (over the internet) to an audience in real-time. Whether broadcasting to a small audience or a large one, broadcasting a live stream of audio, video, or presentation is covered under the broad scope of webcasting.
Webcasting allows corporations to stream one virtual event to audiences from all regions, rather than hosting multiple local events at different times. Webcasting lends itself to company town halls, product launches, highly anticipated lectures, and all-hands meetings.
Webcasting is only the name of the service, but not all webcasts are created equal. The Kaltura webcasting solution, Townhalls, offers a vast range of interactive features that create a more engaging, measurable, and easy to use webcasts at all scales.
Why is Webcasting a Great Option?
There are many benefits to using a webcast platform to create and broadcast an event, even if the event also has in-person attendees.
The first is that this type of event allows for the participation of remote teams or attendees. As companies become global, and corporate events shift increasingly online, the ability of participants worldwide to join a webcast is essential. This approach also saves a significant amount of money for off-site participants who would otherwise have to travel. Speaking of travel, lessening the need for travel eliminates emissions that are harmful to the environment.
An additional benefit to webcasting is accessibility. Being able to join a live webcast rather than a physical event supports inclusion and ensures that people with disabilities or other constraints don’t miss out on valuable content or the overall experience. Just as the live content of a webcast can be used to ensure accessibility, the recorded content can be reused for a variety of purposes: marketing, training, or for participants who could not make the original live-streaming time.
The Difference Between a Webcast and a Webinar:
Webcasting is an incredible option for all the benefits discussed above and differs from webinars and web conferences for similar reasons. Although webinars and webcasting generally have the same functionality, however, webinars are designed with the technology to work at scale. Some webcasts even incorporate webinars into them where the audience can take a more interactive role in the discussion.
How Does Webcasting Work?
So, we’ve covered the what and why. Now, let’s discuss the how.
Webcasting, as a stand-alone concept, is really just a broadcast over the internet. However, to ensure your webcast is as beneficial and professional as possible, using a webcasting platform is the best way to go.
The first part is the production of the webcast itself in the in-person location. Whether you have a professional team or are running the event in-house, you must make sure that you have working microphones, a well-lit presentation area, and a reliable internet connection. If you do not have a professional in-house team, don’t fret! Kaltura offers end-to-end white-glove production services and support. To get a sense of what goes into producing a webcast, it can be helpful to read about the behind-the-scenes process other event managers have experienced.
The second part is the casting. The webcasting solution is what comes into play between the person presenting live, and the people watching and experiencing your presentation from afar – the technology makes the casting possible.
The Casting part of the technology generally requires an encoder, which allows you to deliver a multi-media presentation to an audience with no mixing needed. Because webcasts tend to consume too much bandwidth, Kaltura’s Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) provides bandwidth optimization and a wide range of video options. The eCDN makes sure the video is transmitted smoothly and at the right quality level and device format to your audience. The eCDN also works to protect your data, making sure that your webcast is only available to those with the right credentials, whether it’s 100 people or 100,000. (Yes, even 100,000 can tune in to your webcast at the same time!)
Kaltura’s events portal is a hub where viewers can access current and past events relevant specifically to them, ensuring accessibility and ease of use. The recorded live content is automatically ingested into Kaltura and into various VOD workflows, like adding captions and translations. Once embedded, the recording includes all of the interactive features, such as Q&A, so viewers get the full experience of the live session. The events portal helps make sure that the available recordings are accessible, discoverable, and have the features you and your audience need. Additionally, your videos can be repurposed and embedded elsewhere on any website as needed.
Now that you are convinced that you need to be using webcasting and understand how valuable it is, we want to tell you why the Kaltura Webcasting Solution – Kaltura Townhalls – is amazing! (Yes, this is the sales pitch, but we promise, it’s worth reading.)
Kaltura Townhalls – The Kaltura Webcasting Solution:
As we’ve discussed, the need for webcasting is growing by the minute, and you want to make sure that whatever solution you choose to go with will be the most comprehensive one, and most suited for your needs.
The Kaltura webcasting solution has taken into account every need a company or educational institution might need and wrapped it into one powerful product. The webcasting solution can be customized to your look and feel – this is your event, your meeting, your lecture, and you can make sure it feels that way. Live broadcast events with Kaltura can have an unlimited number of viewers, without losing the quality of performance or streaming. Whether your company wants to use Kaltura webcasting for a C-suite meeting, or a conference, you can produce it all yourself in house, launch it from your desktop with our self-serve option, or use Kaltura’s white-glove service for a production-level webcasting option. Additionally, the Kaltura webcasting solution seamlessly integrates into existing systems and workflows, so you can launch and view webcast events from your familiar work environment. As an example, you can easily create, edit, launch, and view events directly from your invite in MSFT Outlook!
As we mentioned above, analytics are an extremely valuable part of your webcasting experience. Kaltura Video Analytics, Live Dashboard gives you a window into your audience engagement and your video streaming quality of service. Get detailed dashboards that provide actionable insights on engagement and video usage. Optimize your video content to meet your viewers’ needs and achieve your goals, while fine-tuning your delivery performance to ensure a perfect viewing experience. Kaltura Video Analytics gives producers the tools they need to make sure they meet their video goals. Additionally, you will be able to interact with your viewers via polls and Q&A and gather insights from their responses from the same platform.
We know that while this all sounds very exciting, some of you might be feeling a tad overwhelmed, and for that reason, we have you covered with end to end professional support. Kaltura also offers a white gloves service that takes care of all your technical needs and allows you to focus on what really matters, your presentation!
We know there are a few other platforms out there who try to compete with our webcasting solution (we are the best, obviously) and to put your mind at ease, check out these details:
With Kaltura Townhalls, you can stream to both a primary and secondary source, meaning, if one system goes down, you always have a backup to ensure your live stream is successful even if your network is down.
Now, if you are still not convinced, feel free to listen to what our customers have to say. One of the most successful technology companies in the world, Oracle, runs dozens of internal events a year, from small organizational meetings, to quarterly CEO townhalls, all the way up to their recent annual live global employee “summit” event, where they reached over twenty thousand employees in over 1500 locations around the world, on both desktop and mobile. Here is what David Boyll, Senior Director of Media Technology at Oracle, has to say.
Webcasting has many moving parts, but it can be simple to implement and a powerful tool when selecting the right product. When choosing a webcasting platform, make sure to choose one that meets your specific needs. Check that the solution offers high-quality playback, analytics, and interactive features, provides accessibility and enrichment, and allows you to customize it to your look and feel. By choosing Kaltura Townhalls, you ensure that your webcasts will be delivered at high-quality, high-security, and unlimited scale. Anyone in your company will be able to be a professional broadcaster with an easy to use platform that guarantees a successful event.
If all of this was not enough, you will gain valuable insights into engagement to keep improving and reaching your audience.
Want to learn more about different types of online meetings? Check out “Virtual Conference? Webinar? Online Event? Town Hall? How to Tell Them All Apart.”