In today’s day and age, we’re all used to events being live-streamed. It was already established before COVID, and… well, perhaps the less said about that, the better.
I remember back during the early days of streaming, when live streaming an event was a costly and risky endeavor that I rarely recommended to my clients. It meant hiring help and worrying about the state of the venue’s WiFi network.
It also meant worrying that no one would show up.
These days, live streaming is more approachable than ever, which means it’s something every event organizer needs to consider. Should you livestream your next event or not?
Well, that’s the million-dollar question. Let’s take a look.
Should You Live Stream Your Next Event?
1. It allows you to reach people all over the world
When you host an in-person event, you’re limited to only reaching the people who can physically make it to the destination. Even in a big city like London or New York, you’re still limiting yourself. If you host a physical event that’s accompanied by a live stream, it means you can cater both to in-person visitors and to people who can’t travel internationally. It gives you the best of both worlds.
2. It’s easy and cheap
As we mentioned at the start of this article, live streaming has gone from being expensive and difficult to being easy and cheap. These days, all you need is an employee with a smartphone, although you also have the option of scaling your approach if the budget is there and you want to produce something of quality. Either way, the barrier to entry is easier to overcome than ever.
3. It provides immediate feedback
When you’re running an in-person event, you generally can’t expect to receive feedback from your attendees until after the event. You don’t have that problem with live streaming because people will chat about presentations and the event itself in the comments while it’s happening. You’ll get feedback in real time that you can use to make the event better while it’s ongoing. However, you’ll also need to ensure that you have someone monitoring the comments.
4. It provides new revenue streams
Event organizers are always looking for new ways to make money from their events, and live streaming could provide them with the perfect opportunity. It can be a powerful marketing tool, encouraging viewers to purchase merch or pay for resource packs, and the stream itself can often be monetized with advertisements. It’s also pretty common for events to find a partner to sponsor the livestream.
5. It’s super scalable
Scaling in-person events is difficult. If you go from 80 attendees in year one to 300 in year two and 1,500 in year three, you’ll need to find a different venue every year. With live streams, you have infinite scalability, with no limit to the number of people who can watch what’s going on. The biggest barrier to scalability is that you might need to add an extra person to the team to moderate discussions if your live stream gets big enough.
1. It gives you something else to worry about
One of the big challenges of planning and hosting an event is the plethora of things for you to focus on. Given that your attention is already going to be pulled in a dozen directions, it’s easy to see a live stream as just another element for you to focus on and worry about. If that’s the case, it can be tempting to avoid running one so you don’t have that additional headache.
2. Not everywhere has a decent internet connection
We touched upon this in the introduction, and while venues have generally prioritized getting decent WiFi over the last few years, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll have a good connection. If you don’t, that’s going to leave you dealing with technical problems when you should be focusing on managing your event. Also, remember that while the connection might be fine before the event, it might be a lot slower on the day if you’re opening it up to the speakers and attendees.
3. It’s not always right for your audience
As with everything in the event industry, you need to have your target audience in mind for every decision you make. That’s true for live streaming too, so if you plan to do it, then ensure your audience is interested. For example, if your event is a reunion for retired employees, there’s not much to gain from streaming it. Even if there are people who can’t make it, they may not be tech-savvy enough to access the live stream anyway.
4. Some content is unsuitable for broadcast
Another consideration is the content that’s going to be discussed during your event. If there’s confidential information or you’re tackling a taboo subject, it might not be appropriate to livestream the event where anyone could access it. If you’re ever in doubt, check the content guidelines on the platform you plan to stream to. I also like to use the grandma test, which is where you ask yourself if you’d be happy to show the livestream to your grandma. If not, perhaps it’s better not to stream it.
5. Issues with intellectual property rights
Last but not least, live streaming can open you up to all sorts of intellectual property issues. Let’s say you’re playing some music at your event as you bring the speakers on stage. The rights you need to play that music in the venue are very different from the rights you need to play that music during a livestream.
Now that we’ve taken a look at both sides of the argument, this is normally where we’d give you a definitive answer about whether or not we recommend live streaming. But it’s complicated.
Live streaming is one of those things where you have to decide for yourself whether or not you want to do it for your event. It works better for some events than it does for others, and so the recommendation depends upon the kind of event that you’re hosting.
Still, the thoughts that we’ve shared with you today should give you a good idea as to whether or not you want to livestream your next event, and so now you’re perfectly placed to make that call.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think, so be sure to let us know what you decide. We can’t wait to continue the discussion in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on your social networking sites of choice for more. We’ll see you soon for another article!