This article was written (well, ghostwritten by me in collaboration with Dave Lutz) for Dave’s People & Processes column in PCMA’s June edition of Convene.
You’ve convinced your team that providing a hybrid event is good for your organization, your customers and your stakeholders. You’ve alleviated any fears about the virtual experience cannibalizing your face-to-face revenue. You’ve researched how other companies have used hybrid events successfully to serve their members and positively impact future face-to-face events.
Here’s what you need to know to live stream and extend the reach of your best live meeting content.
You know that a hybrid event will:
- Extend the reach of your meeting’s messages and content
- Increase ROI for a remote audience that would not normally attend the face-to-face experience
- Improve your membership value proposition
- Reduce your remote participants’ carbon footprint
- Help convert fence-sitters from remote attendees to live participants.
You’ve weighed all the options of the following five types of hybrid events:
- Audiocast — telephone-based conference, sometimes with live Q & A
- Bannercast — video broadcast in an in-banner ad using streaming technology
- Backchannel — on-site and remote attendees communicate together about the face-to-face experience, sometimes done through Twitter using a hashtag
- Live Streaming — live audio and video of face-to-face presentation streamed via the Internet
- Slidecast — a set of slides broadcast over the Internet with synchronization of video and audio effects
After careful consideration, you’ve decided that your hybrid event will use a live stream of the general session speakers, along with a moderated backchannel to engage the participants.
Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to live stream your face-to-face experience to your remote audience:
- Digital camera
- Venue with Internet access of at least 512 kbps
- Interface hardware for digital camera to computer
- Laptop or PC
- Online live-streaming provider (there are a variety of free and fee-based options)
- Permission from your speakers and panelists to live stream their presentations
- Twitter hashtag for the backchannel
Here’s how the live-streaming process works:
- Film the event and send it in real time to an online provider via the Internet.
- The online provider software encodes, compresses and formats video.
- The online provider transmits video to servers.
- The video rebroadcasts in real time.
Make sure you check with your meeting venue as well as equipment and service providers before committing to live streaming an event.
- How is the room set?
- What’s the ambient lighting like?
- Will someone be behind the camera or will it be stationary on a tripod or from a webcam?
- What’s your Internet access?
- How fast is your Internet connection?
- Do you have appropriate PC hardware interface?
- What live streaming online provider do you use?
- Is your online provider broadcasts password-protected?
- Does your online provider integrate with social networks?
- Are you going to charge for virtual participants? If yes, just nonmembers or members too? And how much?
- Read the book The Back Channel, by Cliff Atkinson, for tips on how to use a backchannel at your next event.
- Watch Cliff Atkinson discuss how to use a social media and a backchannel at conferences.
- Distribute speaker and presenter Olivia Mitchell’s free eBook, How To Present with Twitter and Other Back Channels to all of your speakers.
- Join the Virtual Edge Institute, an organization for those involved in virtual events and meetings.
- Download The Virtual Edge Institute’s free eBook The Virtual Event Resource Book.
Now that you have your logistics covered, it’s time to think strategically about the differences between your face-to-face and remote audiences. You can’t expect your virtual audience to have the same experience as your face-to-face attendees. We’ll focus on what you can to do onsite to improve your remote audience’s experience while maintaining a quality experience for those attending in person in the next column in Convene.
This post was reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. © 2010
What logistical live streaming tips would you add to this list? What live streaming resources have you found beneficial?