Webcasts have the potential to be so much more than just a quick, thrown-together Internet broadcast of an event or conference—and they should be. Although there’s nothing wrong with a casual presentation, webcasts contribute heavily to your digital presence and branding efforts, while providing valuable performance features. Companies should invest as much time, effort, and money into webcasting as they do into their other content.
Don’t think of webcasting as a purely real-time endeavor, either. Many of our clients choose to craft it in a finished and edited context and then broadcast it “live” to people who sign up later. This can still have that unscripted feeling while providing that added advantage of a polished and error-free program.
The first step a company can take to improve their webcasting efforts is to seek out a webcast provider. Not sure what to look for? We’ve got you covered. Here are five critical features any good webcast provider should have at their disposal.
When looking for a webcast provider, you’ll want to be sure that whatever company you hire has access to up-to-date technology. If you choose to work with a webcast provider that only uses equipment from the early 2000s, you’re pretty much asking for something to go wrong, and you will certainly be missing out on many of the latest capabilities that growth in this industry has developed in recent years. Set yourself up for success by taking the extra time to check that your prospective webcast provider has access to up-to-date—if not state-of-the-art—technology.
That said, cutting-edge technology is useless in the hands of employees who don’t know how to use it. This brings us to our next point: make sure your provider has an experienced team working for them. There’s no shame in asking for resumes, or at the very least a list of clients, they’ve worked with.
If you’re able to confirm that the team is capable of doing the work before the webcast and event, you’ll avoid having to deal with a last-minute meltdown on the day of the event, or a team that can’t fix any technical glitches swiftly and quietly.
Staging and Setup
As the saying goes, many hands make light work. Staging and setup can seem like a pretty daunting task, but a webcast provider with a setup crew can streamline the process and prevent complications from occurring during the live broadcast.
In the best scenario, your webcasting provider would also be your trusted production company. Working with an experienced partner will provide you with front-end production quality that will make your webcast stand out from everyone else. This means high-quality cameras and operators, perfect audio quality, and graphics that lift your content up and operational execution on par with what you would expect from live television.
Again, you shouldn’t be shy about asking your prospective webcasting provider to walk you through the setup process, so you can understand how they’ll put your webcast in a position to succeed.
Technical issues are quite fluid when it comes to live production, and even in video on demand deliverables, there are always shifting issues that could present challenges before, during and after the webcast. Getting ahead of these challenges is the mark of an excellent webcast partner.
Considering both upload and download internet speeds, firewall issues, diverse platforms on the viewer end, video quality options, mobile users, and more, your partner should come up with solutions that ensure you have a stable, trouble-free experience.
Integrated solutions can cover a wide range of service features, which your production company partner should be quite familiar with.
The top ones to watch for are live moderated chat, adaptive connectivity that will auto-adjust elements like resolution to your available bandwidth, a branded landing page, archives and on-demand video, comprehensive analytics and more. The best live streaming and webcasting solutions will ultimately combine those elements, and all the of the others we’ve outlined above, for an experience that’s as seamless for you as it is for your viewers.
If you’re looking for an experienced partner after reading this, don’t hesitate to contact us!