Webcasting is a linear mode of broadcasting events online using a streaming software. This means of broadcasting is non-interactive because the target audience does not get the chance to engage face to face with the person speaking.
Webcasting is used for a variety of purposes. On a social level, event organizers and promoters use webcasting to broadcast their events in a bid to promote their messages or to entice viewers to attend the event. In the corporate scene, webcasting is used to convey presentations to investors and to help manage investor relations. Webcasting is also used as an e-Learning tool where students can access lectures and tutorials online through streaming sites. Webcasting is also a tool that has recently gained popularity in the advertising sector.
It should be noted that webcasting is not the same as web conferencing. Webcasting has no possibility of interactions between the presenter and the target audience, while web conferencing is an interactive medium. Just like any medium of communication, webcasting has both advantages and disadvantages. Let us review each of them.
Cost. Whether you are trying to advertise a product, service or simply trying to share a certain message, webcasting is definitely a more cost effective way to do this. Traditional broadcasting requires the use of satellites that is more expensive to connect to than the streaming platform on the internet. These days several apps on smartphones and other mobile devices give the user the option to live stream on social media and other platforms at simply the cost of your internet service subscription. This is a great benefit of webcasting, because in truth, everyone is always looking for a convenient way to save on costs.
Audience. Because it uses the internet as its platform, webcasting allows the presenter to access a large number of viewers at the same time. Millions of people use the internet in one second and webcasting exposes you to all these internet users. Effectively using the already existing internet traffic is another advantage of webcasting as a communication tool.
Mobile Devices. If you like what you watched on the webcast, you can always save the video on your mobile device and save it for later. Sites such as ezTalks has a catalogue of easy to access webcasts that you can always go back and visit even if you did not catch the live stream. It is less convenient to save and access satellite broadcasts after their first showing or release.
Target Audience. Webcasting has an advantage over print when it comes to the advertising sector. This is because, when you buy a catalogue or a magazine the editor has no way of knowing what captivates your interest. The best they can do is place in their magazine content that seems to be popular within your demographic. This is where the advantage of webcasting comes in. When a consumer is searching for a particular product online can be targeted by a webcast whose concept is based on that specific product.
Internet Connectivity Disruptions. Webcasting relies solely on the effectiveness of internet connectivity and reliability. If you are in an area that experiences poor internet connection or disruptions in the network, then this mode of communication will not be appropriate or effective because the quality of the cast will be severely compromised. Some of the disruptions that you may experience due to poor connectivity include loss in audio, video distortion and lags in the transmission. The disadvantage of webcasting here is that the internet stands a higher chance of disruptions than satellite broadcasting.
Non-Interactions. This mode of broadcasting is not one that allows for two-way interactions. There is limited engagement between the presenter and the viewer. This means that webcasting is not an appropriate method of interactivity oriented communication. You, as the viewer, do not have the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification on the same forum. If you need clarification you will have to attend another forum to get this, making it less convenient than a forum that is interactive in real time.
Professional, Audio and Visual Specialist. For higher quality webcasts, you will need to hire professional audio and visual communication specialist who are familiar with the appropriate settings and strategic bandwidth specifications. You will need special cameras, lighting and audio devices which will obviously incur your costs. This extra cost in your budget is a definite disadvantage. For business needs, you may need to seek out professional companies that specialize in video conferencing and offer the required equipment, such as ezTalks which is a reliable company in the trade.
All in all, we do believe the benefits of webcasting outweigh the disadvantages. It is easier and at the most basic levels, can be done in the comfort of your home.