Live Streaming and Events: Top Five Predictions of Event Influencers

May 6, 2015

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According to The Guardian, ESPN SportsZone was responsible for streaming the first live radio broadcast on September 5th,1995 of a baseball game between Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees with the help of the Seattle-based startup, Progressive Networks. Live streaming has progressed with tools including Livestream, Ustream, and Tourpedo making virtual attendance an option. A 2013 PCMA presentation states that the cost to maintain a hybrid event include costs for Internet, equipment and labor, content delivery network (CDN), production, and platform. However, live streaming has become a trending term in the media since applications Meerkat and Periscope erupted at the SxSW Festival in mid-March. We asked several event influencers to share their top predictions on what live streaming means for event marketing.

1.  A backstage pass for event attendees.
Producer and Host, Michael McAllen from Grass Shack Events & Media and MeetingsPodcast says, “applications such as Periscope act as a backstage, audience enhancing machine.  At MeetingsPodcast, we use Periscope to connect with the audience as we record the show.”  McAllen elaborates, “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were to build a business on Periscope, being the designated ‘Periscoper’.”

2. Credible Content for Event Marketers.
“Can’t you see Will Ferrell or other actors promoting their new movie using Periscope?” McAllen asked. This raises the question, to add tremendous credibility to an event, what if event organizers developed a way for thought-leaders in attendance to live stream what’s going on behind the scenes?

3.  Simple option for impromptu live streaming.
As an event organizer, you may decide to broadcast an interview or conference session the morning of the event. “Impromptu events can easily find their way online,” says our President and Chief Connector Jessica Levin.  Levin continues, “live streaming applications play into the spontaneity of idea sharing and the instant gratification world we live today.”

4.  A cost effective way towards a hybrid event; but wait, not so fast.
While scheduling conflicts and cost expenses impact the attendance at an event, live streaming applications act as a simple solution. However, the ethical implications of live streaming has often crossed my mind. If I were to attend an exclusive association event, would attendees become aware that live streaming might infringe on the contractual agreement?

I turned to Liz King of TechsyTalk to have these questions answered.  When asked questions pertaining to ethics, King responded, “While live streaming solutions such as Meerkat and Periscope offer event organizers an affordable solution, we are going to see some issues with adoption because of some of the liability with live streaming certain events.”  King continues, “when you think about it, most of the events you would want to live stream are going to have ownership issues and it’s going to make it difficult to have authentic experiences while complying with the agreement between event organizers and speakers.”

5.  Live streaming membership-exclusive events; but let’s discuss ethics.
Periscope streams to all followers on Twitter, and according to a recent Verge article, Meerkat will add Facebook’s support.  While Meerkat and Periscope make live streaming simple for all, will live streaming membership-exclusive events give non-members access to education? We spoke with Siera Smith, Event Coordinator of South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, “We would not encourage our members to stream our events but there are benefits to event organizers live streaming events that are not as membership-exclusive.” In a technology-driven society, how will you communicate and monitor your audience from using a live streaming application at your next event?

Live streaming solutions have been around for years, Meerkat and Periscope have made live streaming more popular among the events sphere. What are creative ways you anticipate using live streaming applications as a tactic to market your event? Do you anticipate any ethical implications that may arise? Please share your thoughts below.