Should Live Streaming be allowed at Conferences? The discussion continues

I’m noticing that the questions I raised whether or not live streaming helps or hurts conferences. I certainly want to support conference organizers in helping them have successful events that support the community, although I see there’s some debate on the Shel Holtz blog on whether or not live blogging or live streaming should be allowed.

Even if live streaming caused a decrease in attendance, there’s equal opportunity to extend the knowledge and experience globally, as well as to monetize any live streams through advertising, sponsorships or premium pay.

What do you think?

1) Is live streaming a help or hurt to conferences?

2) Does it matter on the size of conference?

3) What are ways for conference organizers to leverage these tools?

4) Will virtual conferences start being the norm?

5) Will social media tools become some effective that schoomzing and relationships can be built as effectively online as well as in person?

  • I think streaming conferences should be allowed on an amateur level. There’s going to be some hefty debate about the loss of income/interest…but that’s inconsequential. Ultimately, the highest value in physically attending conferences lies with the ability to meet and speak with others. Truth is, most conferences don’t allow enough time for deep knowledge on a single topic to be taught & retained.

    So streaming should then bring an opportunity for organizers. Have a vastly reduced price for virtual attendance, high quality video, downloadable presentations, exclusive 15 min. online chat with a presenter. If there’s any printed educational material that comes with the physical conference attendance, offer to ship these to the virtual attendee. Perhaps conference sponsors could help defray that cost by including their brochures. Just some ideas to throw around…

  • I’ve been in on one of your webcasts. Why? Not because I would’ve attended; that was out of the question, unfortunately.

    The fact is that there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction in the end. Many years of .net-experience tell me that. Thus the danger to conference revenue is minimal because arguably, those whom would attend the webcast would be more likely to not have gone anyhow.

    Having said that, I think it would be wise–esp. for a “Web2.0” Expo–to encourage, and license the webcasters. In other words, like press get press passes, streamers could purchase/be sponsored for passes which give them the right to do so. I’ll leave details on the financials, logistics et al. to conference organizers. Nonetheless, it would be wise to encourage it. It’s not disruptive and gives an additional audience a window into participation. In the end I would believe that those persons would be encouraged to attend future conferences.

    If lost revenue is a concern for conference organizers, it would be a case of short-term thinking which denied them the ability to see the power of having legitimate outlets for this inevitable evolution.

  • Gone are the days when people inside corporations have the travel budgets to attend a zillion conferences a year (unless they are in sales). And many startup entrepreneurs don’t have those budgets either. If you don’t live in San Francisco, all these conferences go on without you, and if they aren’t streamed, the effort that goes into holding them is lost.

    AlwaysOn streams its conferences. Always has. It partners with a professional provider. It leaves the information up on its site. The conferences are expensive, and BIG.

    I think streaming adds to the usefulness of conferences, but I think the IP should be the property of the conference organizer and should be on the organizer’s site or the conference’s site.

    We podcast our Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences and put them up after the conference. If someone volunteered to stream them for us, I would.

  • A great case study here is eComXpo, a virtual trade show about online retail covering search marketing, affiliate marketing, and other topics. It’s free or dirt cheap for attendees; revenues come from sponsors that line virtual trade show floors.

    I’ve spoken at these events, and they can be good educational forums, but I never get to build new relationships there, and I don’t even get business cards from attendees afterwards. The value isn’t the same. Real life trade shows will still exist.

    Consider that for interactive marketing, there are real life trade shows spanning online advertising, search marketing, blogging, widgets, affiliate marketing, domain parking – you name it, and hundreds of these things. Most are doing pretty good business. Attendees could get all the info virtually, but that’s not where the value lies.

  • Hot Dang, great feedback here. I hope conference organizers read this discussion in the comment area, there’s lots of win/win ideas here.

  • Here’s my humble, understated opinion:

    The value of conferences is not in the information offered from the podium.

    Most of that is good, but not earth-shattering.

    The value in conferences is in getting a group of up-to-speed people (who you don’t have to explain the basics to) in a controlled and interruption-free space to flesh out the good ideas heard from the podium.

    The networking, the brainstorming, the different views flying around – all waiting to be picked out of the air by an enterprising attendee.

    You get little to none of this through the webcast. And it isn’t the value of the event.

    Dan

  • As a tradeshow marketer, I would say that I’m all for streaming conferences live. It’s another opportunity for my presenters to get our company name out in front of a qualified audience and to spread the word about the good works that we do. In addition, I agree with the comments above that most of the people who would attend the live online event would probably not have attended the event in person either way. So now, I’ve reached a broader audience with the same amount of effort. Sounds win-win to me.

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  • I've been in on one of your webcasts. Why? Not because I would've attended; that was out of the question, unfortunately.

    The fact is that there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction in the end. Many years of .net-experience tell me that. Thus the danger to conference revenue is minimal because arguably, those whom would attend the webcast would be more likely to not have gone anyhow.

    Having said that, I think it would be wise–esp. for a “Web2.0” Expo–to encourage, and license the webcasters. In other words, like press get press passes, streamers could purchase/be sponsored for passes which give them the right to do so. I'll leave details on the financials, logistics et al. to conference organizers. Nonetheless, it would be wise to encourage it. It's not disruptive and gives an additional audience a window into participation. In the end I would believe that those persons would be encouraged to attend future conferences.

    If lost revenue is a concern for conference organizers, it would be a case of short-term thinking which denied them the ability to see the power of having legitimate outlets for this inevitable evolution.