Original Post by Kristen Rich
From clips of national news stories to snippets of late-night comics and pet antics, webcasting has become part of our daily online experience. In both our personal lives and as consumers, we use online videos for entertaining and practical purposes.
Only recently, however, have corporate, education, and government organizations started adding webcasts to their communications toolbox. A recent whitepaper from Wainhouse Research, Webcasting Goes Mainstream, says three factors previously kept executives away:
- Challenges with creating high-quality content
- The perceived expense of implementing webcasting technologies in an organization
- A general lack of market understanding about the ROI that online video creates
Now the tide is turning, with more and more organizations using webcasting as a way to communicate a message, build a brand, and generate sales leads. Here’s why:
Lower-Cost Webcast Technology
There’s greater variety nowadays in how webcast platforms are deployed. For example, many organizations are licensing these technologies as a hosted service — aka Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This approach allows business consumers to pay a monthly fee for use of webcasting capabilities instead of making six-figure investments up front to implement the technology. Overall, this can cut the cost of initial webcast implementation and ownership.
Greater Ease with Content Creation for Webcasting
Executives once worried their online presentations would look amateurish compared to professional broadcasts. All of that is changing, says Wainhouse Research. Exposure to webcasting has increased familiarity with the technology, and that gives executives the confidence to produce quality content suitable for online distribution.
Increased Trust in Webcast Reliability
Network administrators have historically been wary to allow streaming data into corporate systems. Viewers in years past were also annoyed with pesky “buffering” messages appearing when they clicked videos. With improvements in webcasting security and viewing, this is no longer the case. Webcasting technology is ready for mainstream use.
Webcasting Provides a Broader Reach
Originally designed for Internet-connected PCs, webcasts now reach smartphones and tablets. This means greater accessibility and more chances to engage viewers. Though organizations have been slow to implement mobile device technology, interest is growing. For example, nearly 30 percent of companies surveyed by Wainhouse Research say they deployed solutions last year for distributing webcast-style content to mobile devices. That’s a significant jump from 2013, when only 19 percent had hopped on board.
Using Webcasting in Business
There are many ways one-to-many streaming can benefit an organization. Among them are three general usage categories that deliver significant returns:
- Marketing and Lead GenerationIncreased revenue is an obvious priority for sales and marketing executives. Webcasts are an effective way to generate leads. Registration tools built into streaming platforms can identify prospects attending online events, measure interest in marketing messages delivered during an event, and help prioritize sales follow-ups with prospects.
- TrainingEmployee training is the most popular use of webcasting, and its biggest driver is the time and money it saves organizations. Rather than having employees, partners, or customers travel by plane and stay in hotels for training sessions, webcasts deliver the information right to them.
- On-Site Content CaptureWebcasts are shifting from corporate conference rooms into the field. Thanks to improvements in mobile capabilities, events can be captured for both live distribution online and on-demand replay. This allows businesses to reach a wider audience. For example, an executive making a speech at a trade show can have more prospects and partners hear the message if the presentation is captured via video and re-purposed for online distribution.
Though webcasting has been around for years, has your organization tapped its value? As streaming technologies become a mainstream communications tool for businesses everywhere, how will your brand stand out?