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What is a Webcast?: All Companies Need to Know on Webcasting

What is a webcast? Find out how you can use live webcasting to boost your brand presence and grow your business online.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
October 18, 2022
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

In the age of the internet, broadcasting technology can help to revolutionize your marketing strategy, making it possible to reach a large audience and take your business to the next level.

Allowing for unique engagement opportunities and live communication, webcasting offers a new way to connect with consumers. By producing live video and audio content, you can build meaningful relationships in support of your company goals.

Wonder what you really need to know about webcasting? Here's our Riverside guide for business owners and company leaders just like you as you begin to consider the power of webcasting for professional development!

What is a webcast?

A webcast is an online web-based broadcast, usually relying on live-streaming technology. Allowing you to produce and share video content simply, a webcast is a unique way to engage and connect with online audiences.

While some webcasts are produced in real-time, web-based broadcasting doesn't have to be live. Webcasts can be filmed ahead of time before being shared on the internet, as they are usually minimally interactive.

Providing a new pathway for virtual connections, webcasts can be used for a variety of purposes, making them an asset for companies around the world. Whether you operate a retail business or a not-for-profit organization, you can use webcasting to reach new people with your message and your mission.

Webcast vs. Podcast

Like podcasts, webcasts are growing in popularity, but that doesn't mean that these things are the same. A webcast is a unique format and is distinct from other content types.

The main difference between webcasts and podcasts is the centrality of the internet in the way that content is consumed.

Typically, a podcast is an audio or video recording that can be downloaded to any device and listened to with or without a stable internet connection. Generally, podcasts are episodic and non-interactive.

Conversely, webcasts often include both video and audio content streams and almost exclusively rely on a stable internet connection to support consumption of broadcast media. They are often once-off broadcasts with great audience involvement.

Webcast vs. Webinar

Webcasts also differ fundamentally from webinars despite sharing some common features and elements with webinar content.

The main difference between webcasts and webinars is the capacity for and focus on real-time interaction.

In mosts cases, a webinar is designed to serve as a web-based seminar for a small audience of fewer than 1,000 people, which provides plenty of interaction opportunities.

On the other hand, webcasts are designed to target large audiences, sometimes broadcasting to as many as 50,000 people at once. This means that interactivity isn't always possible.

In short, webinars cater to small audiences and are much more interactive than webcasts.

What is the purpose of a webcast?

Webcasts serve many important purposes, allowing organizations to develop high-quality digital content and share content with viewers from around the world.

By producing webcasts, you can begin to build meaningful relationships with the people who care about your company. You can consistently provide value to large audiences, making the most of unique engagement and marketing opportunities.

For many businesses, a webcast presentation can offer an easy way to share educational materials with customers and staff alike. From training new employees to providing clarity for consumers, a webcast can give you the voice you need to support the people your business matters to.

Benefits of webcasting for your brand

Webcasting can offer a range of benefits for branding and business marketing. If you learn to make the most of these benefits, you can create a successful strategy and promote ongoing company growth.

1. Scaling your business

When used correctly, a webcast can hold the key to scaling your business and achieving your next professional goals. By allowing you to host large-scale events without logistical restrictions, webcasts make it possible to reach the next level of your potential earlier on in your brand journey.

2. Reaching global users

Another important benefit of webcasting is its capacity to help you reach viewers from around the world. With scope for international communications, webcasts help you target customers on a global scale. This means that businesses can use webcasts to engage online with potential clients or customers anytime, anywhere.

3. Building your audience

Looking beyond globalization, webcasts can help you build your audience, encouraging new users to tune in. By allowing you to communicate meaningfully with a large audience, webcasts support ambitious companies working to develop broad and diverse consumer networks.

4. Producing quality content

Like any other type of online content, webcasts must achieve the highest possible quality! Producing a high-quality webcast can help to enhance your brand's overall professionalism, building trust in the products and services you offer. You can use a webcast to represent your company and the quality your team provides for customers.

5. Promoting your mission

Finally, a website can help you promote your company's mission! By giving you a space to broadcast your goals, values, efforts, and results, webcasts help you advertise your brand. Whether you're focusing on retail product launches or charity donation collections, you can use webcasting technology to share this with the world.

Types of webcasts and examples

The diversity of webcasting means that the format is used for a range of different contexts.

Live webcasts

Often, webcasts are shared in real time using live-streaming technology. 

When used to facilitate live broadcasts and events, webcasting can be a great way to connect with customers while offering fun, memorable, and meaningful experiences.

Live webcast content can help you provide your audience with entertainment and value all at once. Events may include participants globally, and when hosted live, they can accommodate real-time engagement opportunities.

On-demand webcasts

On-demand webcasts are designed to be viewed on demand in the audience’s own time. 

By allowing content to be consumed at any time, on-demand webcasts provide a unique opportunity for audiences to stream content at their leisure. This can support broader viewerships. 

An on-demand webcast can allow you to reach viewers where they are, regardless of limitations like time zones or location. On-demand content can even be shared across a variety of easily accessible platforms!

Pre-recorded webcasts

Finally, pre-recorded webcasts are recorded ahead of time for later distribution. 

Whether you choose to make your webcast a one-time-only event or an on-demand broadcast, pre-recording has many benefits, allowing creators to maintain greater control over content. 

By pre-recording your webcast, you can pay closer attention to structure and other elements that will influence your audience’s viewing experience. You can also make it easy for viewers to access high-quality content online.

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How does a webcast work

One of the best things about webcasting is that the format is so versatile. This means that you can use webcast technology to create content that meets audience demand.

When producing a webcast, the video and audio content you capture will be sent to a hardware and software encoder on a desktop device, where this data will be processed automatically.

The encoder system you use will convert information so that it is optimized for web-based transmission. In most cases, viewers will receive content via a CDN (content delivery network), where the user's video player will convert broadcast data for viewing.

What characteristics make an effective webcast

There's no one answer to what makes an effective webcast, but there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your content quality and enhance the professionalism of the broadcast you produce.

Above all, it's important that your webcast has a sense of purpose. The best web-based events are purpose-driven, aiming to provide value for audiences and provide meaningful support, education, or encouragement. A clear call to action is a great way to incorporate this in your broadcast!

It's also important to ensure that your webcast is clear and well produced. This can make a big difference to the viewing experience your broadcast can offer, and this can define your company's professionalism. Better-quality presentations are more likely to leave audiences wanting more!

How to create a successful webcast meeting

If you want to create successful webcast meetings or virtual events, you'll need to be aware of how the webcast you host communicates with the people who watch it. By prioritizing clear, cohesive information, you can ensure that your webcast meeting is a positive experience for your audience.

With a goal in mind, you can effectively target thousands of participants at once, even including questions and other engagement opportunities that allow viewers to have their say, even when direct interactivity isn't possible.

It's also a good idea to focus on your webcast platform choices. How you advertise your webcast and where you share it online can greatly influence who watches your broadcast and how audiences respond.

The more you promote your website and listen to the interests and needs of the people you serve, the more effectively you can target your audience and successfully achieve your webcasting goals.

A step-by-step on how to create a webcast:

While webcasting may feel confusing at first, it's easy once you know what you're doing. To set up your first webcast, follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Plan your webcast

Plan your content ahead of time, ensuring that your information follows a clear and logical progression and that you include a good call to action.

Step 2: Promote your webcast

Advertise your webcast on social media, and ensure that as many people as possible know when your broadcast will be available online.

Step 3: Choose and set up your equipment

Choose your software tool for webcast production. If you want studio-quality video and audio results, consider using Riverside! You will also need a good camera and a quality microphone, along with any additional pieces of equipment. 

Step 4: Produce your webcast

Use your chosen system to capture content, and complete any required edits or changes before finalizing and saving content files.

Step 5: Share and broadcast your webcast

Find somewhere to share your webcast. Often, creators choose to use a common social media platform, such as Facebook or YouTube.

Step 6: Analyze and engage with your audience

Keep an eye on the response to your webcast, and continue to promote your webcast with questions to keep your audience interested and engaged.

Step 7: Assess your webcast success

Revisit your strategy, and start planning for future virtual events that could further enhance your brand's growth potential.

FAQs on Webcasting

Still unsure how to start your webcasting journey? Here are our answers to a few frequently asked questions!

What is webcasting in media?

Webcasting is streaming! Whether you produce a live webcast or share pre-recorded content, a webcast is any internet-based broadcast. This means that you can use webcasting technology and communication strategies in diverse ways as applicable to your company, your employees, and your customers.

Is a webcast like Zoom?

Zoom does share some similarities with many webcast productions! Like webcasts, Zoom calls rely on internet-based video and audio communications and are often used in professional contexts. However, webcasts can often target much larger audiences that can be included in a Zoom call and usually feature less interactivity.

What is webcasting and video conferencing?

Webcasting and video conferencing allow you to produce and share video media with viewers from around the world. Whether you're hosting a staff training session or a virtual event, this can help you connect with other people online, using tele-conference technology to reach and build your audience.

How do I watch a webcast?

Webcasts can be viewed on a variety of internet-based platforms, including many popular social media sites. If you have a stable internet connection, you should be able to view a webcast on Facebook, YouTube, and similar platforms. You can even access live webcast content on other social networks, including TikTok and Instagram!

Is a webcast two-way?

Webcasts make it possible to communicate with large audiences online, which generally means that they are not designed to facilitate two-way communication. As a broadcaster, this means that you can take control of your content results, preserving quality and ensuring that your webcast continues the deliver the best possible value for consumers.

Want to achieve the best possible quality for your first webcast? Start capturing content with Riverside today!

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