Do you have a hybrid event coming up? One of the biggest budgetary decisions will be how your virtual audience will watch your event content. We discuss the four most common ways, and give you tips on which one might be the best choice for you:
1. Stream All Sessions Live
Streaming all sessions (general and breakout) live is usually the main option planners think of. It’s the best solution for both onsite and online audiences to consume content simultaneously, and it can facilitate greater engagement in breakouts, no matter the location.
But success is incredibly dependent on the internet quality at your venue, and you’ll need to make sure the quality is consistent across all session rooms. You’ll also need a streaming technician and equipment in each room, so this plus the internet charges often makes it the most expensive hybrid option.
(Psst – we spoke about this – and much more! – in our latest session: AV for Hybrid Events. Click here to get a free copy of the presentation and its accompanying materials.)
2. Stream General Sessions, Record Breakouts
Another popular option is to have all your general sessions (usually and opening and closing) streamed live to your virtual audience while breakout sessions are recorded onsite and posted for your virtual viewers to watch at a later date. There is a content delay, but it can usually be uploaded in just 24 hours. It also means you’ll likely need an on-demand platform, which can translate to more revenue through additional sponsorship and registration sales.
We’ve helped planners get creative with this option by having two different event schedules for their attendees. The live crowd follows a typical agenda with sessions covering 2-3 full days. The virtual viewers will have a few extra days – starting a day late for the breakout sessions – reducing the amount of consecutive hours in front of their computer screen. A bonus: the breakout presenters are available to answer questions exclusively from the virtual audience since the online session is at a different time.
On hybrid budget scales, this option tends to fall in the middle.
3. Stream General Sessions, Pre-Record Breakouts
Here, your online attendees still watch the general sessions streamed from the venue, but all the breakouts have been pre-recorded. Attendees watch the scheduled sessions “live” as well.
While it does take some extra planning, in our opinion, this is an underutilized option. You get to run your event simultaneously for both audiences and you greatly avoid technical problems trying to stream from the venue. And since the breakout sessions are produced and edited, your virtual attendees will be watching broadcast-quality content, which is proven to increase engagement.
You can choose to have your speaker join live at the end of the virtual session to answer any Q&A that the audience may have. We recommend having a staff member monitor the chats and pull out a few of the top questions for an efficient Q&A.
If you needed another reason to consider this option, it’s the least expensive streaming and recording combo.
4. Record All Sessions Onsite for Content On-Demand
This was the most popular hybrid option before 2020, where all onsite content was recorded then posted for attendees following the event.
It of course has the least amount of interaction between audiences and speakers, but it’s a very cost-efficient way to reach a wider group of your base, especially if your main goal is group education. Not every session or presentation type is built for interaction, so there are plenty of times when a content delay isn’t a big deal.
Utilizing an on-demand platform again increases revenue and sponsorship options, is great for offering CE credits, and removes traditional financial barriers (like airfare and hotel) for attendees. Since no sessions are streamed live, this is the least expensive hybrid option. Keep in mind that not all general session speakers allow their presentations to be recorded, so you’ll need to work those details out in advance.