These two terms are very widely and loosely used lately but many are still confused between the two. What is the difference between the two? It’s a common question that our team is asked when we are working with clients from different industries.
A webcast is broadcast over the internet, and can be either live, simulate live (simul-live) or on-demand, for example, webinars. Video conference, on the other hand, is more commonly used in daily work between colleagues in different cities or branches, and it is less complicated to set it up. So, what are the main differences?
The big WHY
Our big question to our clients is usually why do you want to organise this event? What is the objective or the intent? Only by knowing the WHY that we can recommend the right solution for our clients.
Is the session for brainstorming or collaboration purpose? Video conferencing will be the answer if you are expecting more discussion where participants can transit from being a listener to a presenter as well.
Webcasting allow a more defined role of presenter and audience but that doesn’t refrain the audience from interacting as Q&A can still be conducted during a webcast.
Video conferencing normally involves a smaller crowd and in most cases, all participants will require the same software installed or the same hardware to dial-in. For webcasting, the host takes ownership of managing the hardware and creating the set in which the audience will watch, it’s like watching a news broadcasting. Webcasting is definitely more scalable compare to video conferencing and can be viewed by a bigger audience from different parts of the world.
Webcasting require more preparation from event management perspective, from finalising the presenters and moderators to sending out invitations and other event promotions. Video conferencing requires less preparation and setup is a lot simpler too.
Video conferencing usually involves both ways audio and video, in addition to sharing screens and documents during the sessions. Webcasting typically has a larger audience and we normally stream audio and video to the audience from the host at higher streaming quality, and all interactions from polling, Q&A, chat to word cloud will be done from the webcasting interface.
Webcasting also allow multi-ways of audio and video with audience coming together in different pre-set locations. What this means? Assuming the main host is in London with audience watching from a preassigned auditoriums in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The host in London can always see the audience response or even take questions through audio from the different satellite events.
As webcasting is pre-planned like an event and we can always get a higher quality recording, the recordings allow more robust editing which includes adding proper intro including the presenter’s name and session name. The recordings can be more organised before uploaded onto the web for replay or download.
Due to the nature of the video conferencing, the audio and video recorded can be difficult to be edited.
Webcasting offers more comprehensive analytics and reporting, including audience behaviour and interactions to help future planning better or even to determine which leads are more qualified. Video conferencing only offers very basic audience analytics such as the number of audience, duration and poll results.
Find the most suitable option
There are a lot of options in the market. If you understand the intent of the event or session, you will be able to pick the right option. While video conferencing platforms may cost less to use or setup, it may not fit the intent or purpose of the session. Webcasting takes video conferencing to a whole new level and yes, it may cost more but it all goes back to your initial intent.