Softjourn

Hybrid Events: Why You Should Livestream Live Events

Think that livestreaming will distance your patron attendance? Here's seven reasons why you should offer a hybrid event

October 28, 2020 by Softjourn

Patrons attend in-person events for the visceral, unmatched feeling of being in a crowd, hearing music, or watching sports in real time. So why would you want to livestream your live events

Streaming is typically targeted at viewers that are anywhere other than inside the venue or stadium. It’s a digital medium that’s decidedly removed from what’s considered “live.” 

As it turns out, streaming online can boost your event in several ways! By livestreaming events and offering hybrid events, potential benefits can include increased attendance, new revenue streams, and engaging marketing content. 

Streaming vs. Livestreaming

Traditional streaming is delivering video to computers and mobile devices via the internet. This transmission of video means that viewers don’t have to download content in its entirety to watch, making it much easier to consume. Media like podcasts, webcasts, movies, and TV shows are common forms of streaming content. 

Livestreaming is sending video over the internet, but in real time. Today, many types of media are livestreamed, including sports games, TV broadcasts, and social media.

The two terms are often used synonymously. The difference is that streaming is created before being broadcast and livestreaming is created as it is being broadcast.  

Why is Livestreaming Live Events So Popular?

Livestreaming offers a "behind the scenes" approach that feels unscripted and transparent. This can build trust in a way that other marketing tools can't. According to survey data, customers want video content — 80% of internet users prefer live video to blogs, while 82% prefer streaming video to other social media content.1

The pandemic has caused demand for streaming content to skyrocket. Between February and March 2020, streaming consumption increased 73% in the United States alone.2 

In fact, it’s becoming an important source of audience contact and income for events that have been paused because of social distancing protocols. Many ticketing platforms quickly pivoted to streaming. Event organizers transformed their in-person events to virtual to survive. 

Many businesses have used real-time video to create a stand-in for the traditional in-person experience. It’s quite likely that this demand for streaming will hang around even after the pandemic, since interest in and use of this platform was already trending well before.

What are Hybrid Events?

Hybrid events are the combination of an in-person event and a virtual event. As the pandemic swept the globe, ticketing platforms and event organizers turned to streaming and other virtual means to continue holding some semblance of live events and keep their businesses afloat.

Even before the pandemic, technology has supported and enhanced in-person events. If you’ve ever watched a recorded panel from the San Diego Comic Con or a taped lecture from a university professor through a VOD platform like YouTube, you’ve participated in a hybrid event. 

Hybrid Event Examples

One of the most well-known hybrid events has to be TED Talks. TED conferences are held throughout North America, with presenters’ talks available for free viewing online. By November 2012, Ted Talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide. 3

Webinar World is another hybrid event hosted by ON24. It has been held in both a physical and virtual location for a few years now. ON24 offers sponsors the chance to host their own event sessions, along with placing their logos on the Webinar World website conference keynote slides and within promotional emails. 4

Another great example of hybrid events is Unbounce, which offers patrons the opportunity to purchase tickets far in advance of the actual date. Early-access tickets give ticketing platforms and event organizers the chance to grow their audiences exponentially. 5

Are Hybrid Live Events Here to Stay?

Sixty-two percent of event planners say they will keep virtual audiences even after live events can be held again. Per Swapcard at Event Tech Live 2020, 82% of companies believe that there is a “push toward hybrid events, more digital elements at events.”

Virtual events have become the new normal during the pandemic. While live events will always be an important part of any robust event program, combining them with virtual offerings creates a powerful platform. Why throw that away?

The virtual portion of hybrid events meet unique needs, and if another pandemic or similar event occurs, virtual supplies a way for businesses to continue to meet consumers.

Why You Should Offer Hybrid Events

Increase Attendance

The main question everyone is concerned with when it comes to streaming an event is, won’t attendees just stay home to watch? The surprising fact is that live video can actually improve ticket sales! The New Yorker found that 67% of patrons are more likely to buy a ticket to an in-person event after watching live video from that event.3 It’s possible that a livestream plays on a sense of FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” encouraging viewers to want to experience the real thing.

Let’s look at an example. Hamilton’s premiere on Disney+ earlier this year was successful for the platform. Disney+ grew to over 60 million subscribers after premiering the performance. Perhaps most interestingly, 30% of viewers who had not seen a live performance of the play said they wanted to after viewing the VOD version.4 Even if just 10% of that viewer base wanted to see a live performance of Hamilton, that’s still six million potential attendees. 

This is just one example and an outlier at that. Not every performance garners attention like Hamilton has. But it provides a strong case study for the power of livestreaming events.

Livestreaming can be valuable for events of all sizes, especially for events and venues with a limited attendance capacity. Streaming can expand sold-out events into a virtual space, allowing attendance to grow. One example of this is Salesforce’s 2015 Dreamforce Conference, which reached 75x the number of people who attended in person via video. There were 150,000 in-person attendees — and 10 million attendees via video.

Monetize the Livestream

Livestreams from hybrid events can be easily repurposed. By converting the stream to video, you can offer segments to patrons on demand and monetize the offering for added revenue. You can make your content available through subscriptions, pay per view, or license it to others for use in various ways.

Research by Unruly shows that recorded video can increase buyer intent by 97% and brand association by 139%. That translates into more tickets and increased loyalty among patrons.

Opportunities for New Revenue

A livestream provides more opportunities for sponsor and advertising placement. Different partner companies can sponsor various segments of the broadcast. 

Sending the stream itself through a sponsor’s website or other industry portals could result in enough earnings to cover some event costs or even drive more revenue. 

Online content also presents your events and business to prospective clients — new artists and venues. You can reach individuals in your niche or individuals outside your usual market who may not have otherwise thought to partner with you.

Reach New Markets

Live video streaming is a great way to improve visibility. You can gain a new audience who might not have heard of your event before, or couldn't attend for various reasons. 

Streaming your local event makes it accessible to a worldwide audience. With a livestream, you can reach viewers where they are and drive traffic back to your website or social presence.

You can also catch the interest of artists, entertainers, sports professionals, or content leaders, potentially creating new relationships. With a hybrid events, you can reach viewers on different platforms, in different places, on their schedule.

Offer New Content Types

Your livestream can offer new and different perspectives. Take attendees on a virtual tour of popular venues, interview favorite artists or athletes, or create VIP experiences like behind the scenes of popular events. You can offer interesting insights and layers of engagement to your livestream with augmented reality

Livestreaming Platforms for All Budgets

Hybrid events don't have to be expensive. There are livestreaming solutions for all budgets. From Vimeo and YouTube to Wistia and Zoom, there’s no end of existing structures to send your hybrid event stream through.

Using streaming in your event marketing is likely to return more than you spend. There are many ways, described here, that video can drive ROI. Per Hubspot, 52% of marketers globally said that the kind of content with the best ROI is video. 

Grow Marketing Impact

You can use snippets of the video on social media, in blog content, and other channels. By gating the content behind a lead capture form, you can collect information about viewers of hybrid events. These insights can tell you more about your current audience, as well as new prospective audiences you can cultivate.

You can grow brand awareness by nurturing these leads via email and social media until your next event. Overall, this can have a positive impact on event ROI. 

Livestreaming a live event has many potential benefits, including increasing attendance by as much as 67%.

Think that livestreaming will distance your in-person attendance? Here’s how it can boost your next live event.

Make Livestreaming Part of Your Event Strategy

There are still some areas to consider before starting to livestream your live event. Just because everyone else is offering hybrid events events shouldn’t be your only reason for joining in. Don’t jump into streaming because it’s the hot new trend. Instead, make it part of your event strategy.

Streaming can offer all kinds of advantages to almost every kind of event. To find that benefit, you have to consider your remote audience. How you want them to interact with the hybrid event will inform the what, where, and how of your event stream. 

Consider what you want the stream to achieve by thinking these questions through:

  • Do you want the remote audience to have the same in-room experience as people at the event?
  • Would you rather just offer a window to the event and have the remote audience be a fly on the wall?
  • Is the stream’s purpose to help professionals with career skills and industry knowledge?
  • Do you want your remote audience to be able to network?
  • Is the main goal to showcase your brand?

Answering these questions can help pinpoint your target remote audience, what you want their experience to be, and the purpose of your hybrid video.

You’ll also want to consider how much of the event you want to stream. For some types of hybrid events, it works well to stream everything. Other events are better served with a limited section streamed to a remote audience.

Ready to Livestream Live Events?

Now that we’ve discussed why you should livestream your live event, ready to get started? If you still have questions, the right technology partner can help! You don’t have to go it alone when creating hybrid events. 

Softjourn is a global technology services provider focused on working with Media & Entertainment services. We design and develop services for live events, live video, and video on demand for those in the Media industry.

 

1Livestream.com, The New Yorker. (2017). What Audiences Expect from Live Video.
2Nice People At Work. (2020, May 05). How COVID-19 is Changing Online Streaming Behavior Globally.
3Livestream.com, The New Yorker, . (2017). What Audiences Expect from Live Video.
4Brode, N. (2020, July 01). The Disney Debut of 'Hamilton' Could Tip The Scales for One-Third of Those Who Intend to Subscribe.
5Salesforce. (2020, September 29). Salesforce Announces Dreamforce 2015, The Largest Software Conference on Earth.

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