When tech geeks say that the world has become a global village, they are not exaggerating. Though the digital revolution seems to have begun just yesterday, it has actually advanced beyond measures.
In the past few years, we the Homo Sapiens have indeed made the world a small village with seamless outreach, accessibility and connectivity across the globe.
Talking about the events industry, which event prof is unaware of the revolutionary event tech trends that we are fashioning every single day? One such trend that has been with us for quite some time now but has in a true sense given us global accessibility is Live-Streaming.
Unless you are a cave human who has just entered the modern civilization, you are probably already aware of this term and some of its implications. However, just for a reference, let us go back to the Oxford dictionary meaning of the term:
Transmit or receive live video and audio coverage of (an event) over the Internet.
Streaming of audio content began around the 1920s when Muzak, one of the first streaming platforms came into the business. That was before the invention of computers which is why the streaming was limited to audio content.
Coming to the complete audio-visual streaming, this trend began much later in the early 1990s. Until this time, computers were fairly accessible and streaming an event live over the internet actually made sense.
One of the first events to be streamed live on the internet was the speech of Harry Truman at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference, San Francisco, 1951.
After this event, the live streaming technology advanced swiftly and today in 2017, live streaming has become a seemingly ordinary thing for us.
Live Streaming and the Event Industry
When live-streaming emerged in the event industry in the 1990s, it was seen only as a luxury. The cost of tools, platforms, etc. for live streaming was way too high for small-scale events.
However, in the current scenario, things have become pretty convenient for event profs. You don’t need to splurge for streaming your event to a live audience. You can very conveniently use platforms like Facebook, YouTube, etc. and stream your event for free.
You can also use your very own event website to live stream parts or your whole event. But before going into the advantages of live streaming, let us look at some of the practical benefits of it.
Live Streaming Platforms
Today’s event tech market has an abundance of platforms that can host any scale of live events. Here is a list of a few of them:
- Facebook Live
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. You don’t even need to be an event prof to know that Facebook Live can help you out. It has reached the masses and helps ordinary people live stream easily.
If you are hosting a small-scale event and want a free platform for streaming your event, Facebook is your best option. However, one minus of using this platform is that only your followers would be notified and given an access to your stream. This way, you can’t increase your follower-ship.
- Instagram Live:
Currently one of the most popular photo sharing apps in the market, Instagram added the live-streaming functionality to stories back in 2016. Since then, the app has gained a lot of popularity among millennials with many popular events, especially festivals and sports events have preferred Instagram for live streaming the event.
Events constantly strive to make it ‘Instagram worthy’ for the attendees. With more than 400 million daily active users, it is a great platform to promote your event through your attendees.
- YouTube Live
Again, if you are planning a small-scale event and would prefer a free streaming platform, YouTube Live is a pretty great option. One great thing about this is that even after your live stream ends, the video stays as a part of your channel’s on-demand streaming content.
However, just like Facebook, on YouTube as well, most of your live audience would constitute of your regular follower-ship.
UStream is currently the market leader when it comes to live-streaming. The fact that its clientele includes names like NASA and Facebook, not only show its worth but also its efficiency.
You get a lot of freedom in configuring the type of streaming content if you use UStream. However, it is a premium service and you need to spare a decent amount of budget for that.
- Twitter Live
You might be familiar with Vine, Twitter’s initial video sharing platform. Post Vine, Twitter launched Periscope back in May 2015. With Twitter’s Periscope application, more than 200 million users were able to live stream videos and tweet them to their followers.
Another live stream platform Meerkat was in competition with Periscope when Twitter acquired the rights and eliminated Meerkat from its social graph.
Apart from these, image and video sharing platforms like Snapchat also have the option to add a user’s media to a live story for an event. These platforms are gaining quite the momentum, especially with millennial users.
Popular professional networking site LinkedIn has also announced a test platform for live-streaming 30-seconds videos. It has rolled out this feature to selected 500 influencers to test the waters.
Live Streaming Events and the Practical Advantages
With all these platforms out there, how can event professionals use this service to their advantage? Live-streaming and user-generated content have great potential at a comparatively low cost.
Here are the practical advantages live-streaming events:
#1 Unmatched Outreach
Outreach is predominantly the main factor why people even consider live streaming. No matter how basic or grand your event is, the live audience that can actually be present at your event is definitely limited.
However, if you go a little virtual and live stream your event, your outreach will definitely be unmatched.Based on the investments you make in the live stream platform, technology and marketing, you can virtually reach as many people as you want to.
#2 Budget-friendly event tech
Live-streaming is one of the event tech additions to your event where you can spend as much or as little as you want to. You are the master who can decide the scale and budget of live streaming totally according to your convenience.
Use a simple camera and Facebook Live or go pro with professional cameras, stream cards and high-end platforms like UStream.
#3 Get some audience engagement
Audience engagement is a totally optional benefit with live streaming. If you wish to have it for your event, you can make use of some User Generated Content (UGC) for your live streaming event.
This can include live streaming by the audience itself, or gamifying your event with an activity that requires them to post some stuff on social media. The opportunities are endless. You can go totally creative and decide what you want.
#4 Show-off some smart skills
Organising a good event requires a lot of efforts. But when a huge audience attends your event, your skills are noticed and can bring you returns in many different ways.
If you limit your event to the physical audience, you will only be able to advertise your skills in front of some attendees. However, if you go virtual, many people from many different parts of the world can notice and appreciate your proficiency.
If you host a similar event the second time, there are high chances that this virtual audience will attend your event.
#5 Increase your follower-ship:
This is a pretty basic yet important advantage of streaming your event live. Think of it this way — If I say that my company is hosting a Coldplay concert and you can watch it live on my website, you are bound to follow me if you like the band.
Chances are that you will also explore other sections of my website and probably become a client.
Thus, live-streaming an event has a lot of practical benefits for an organizer to consider. With the way technology is progressing, this trend is bound to stay and develop even further.
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