NextGen Web Content Broadcasting : Webcasting & Podcasting
Posted On April 10, 2012 by Sneha Latha filed under
Effective corporate communications requires that the target audience enjoy easy, convenient, and timely access to information. It can be managed with modern web content posting methods. Podcasting is an automated way of delivering audio and video media over the Internet to consumers. Although it is sometimes referred to as a “push” technology. Webcasting is a relatively new business tool that helps facilitate this exact requirement for large employee meetings, large marketing events, online training, secured shareholder meetings and more. This article emphasizes the use of webcasting & podcasting in modern business applications .
As a general principle, electronic media is entering a new stage of evolution and moving toward a destination where three characteristics shall ultimately become prominent. First, media consumption will be routinely time shifted. Media consumption shall be place shifted. There is no technical reason why viewers cannot watch their TVs at home from anywhere on the Internet. Media programming will be originated by an infinitely larger number of creators on the edge of the Internet.
Among the specific business that will be impacted are:
(1) broadcast radio,
(2) software media players, and
(3) the iPod.
Webcasting allows meeting hosts and content providers to leverage streaming technology to broadcast content to large, geographically dispersed audiences. The key benefits of webcasting include ease of use for both meeting hosts and attendees, the ability to include high-impact, rich media content elements (including audio, live video, and PC-content), and significant economies of scale.
Webcasting is the live transmission of audio and visual material over the internet or intranet. The greatest benefit is that anyone that missed the live transmission or that cannot attend can also view the webcast online straight after. In addition to the video image, a webcast can also be extended with extra (interactive) options such as PowerPoint slides, asking questions live), search options, chats, surveys/exams, a menu with any attachments, etc. This makes webcasting an extremely interesting application for many communication purposes.
Webcasting solutions allow people to “virtually” attend live events, or watch previously recorded / archived events from the convenience of their PC. There is no need to leave one’s office (or wherever one happens to be online at the time). To view a live event, people simply click on the webcast URL, usually provided via email, and sign in.
To view an on-demand content item, people simply go the appropriate website (often on a company’s Intranet) and click on the desired content item. It’s just that simple. Webcast attendees enjoy a low-stress, high-impact session that can include streaming video, streaming audio, Power Point slides, browser sessions, surveys, polling, and more. This combination of easy access and high impact makes webcasting an effective means of corporate communications -- both inside and outside the organization.
Webcasting is the new, smart way to communicate. Webcasting enables you to reach your specific target group live. A webcast allows everyone to access your message, presentation or training directly and in a cost-effective manner over the internet or intranet. A webcast offers plenty of interactive options. The video image renders a webcast a highly personal way of communicating. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Once a live webcast has finished, it will be available immediately and can be searched in modular fashion. This makes webcasting a highly efficient and relatively inexpensive means of communication, for your reach is huge and highly targeted.
As such, webcasting is something you can no longer imagine your communication resources being without. Whether you would like to talk to or train employees, provide information to customers (new or existing), shareholders and the press or reach other stakeholders, webcasting provides quantifiable, worldwide and visually excellent opportunities. Hundreds of organizations have now been successfully using all the options webcasting has to offer for years. The number of organizations using webcasting is increasing each month. But even the number of webcasts per organization is soaring. Once you get going with webcasting, you will immediately sense what the possibilities and results are. It will certainly motivate you to use webcasting to other communication-related ends.
Benefits of Webcasting
- Reach, possibly live, target group from a few dozen to tens of thousands
- Accessible to anyone over the internet or intranet
- Time and location are not important
- Increases your reach alongside an existing event
- High degree of transparency for your organization
- After a live broadcast, the webcast is available 24/7 and can be searched online
- Interactive options
- A picture is worth a thousand words
- Quantifiable results
- Time and cost-effectiveness managed
- Innovative and sustainable way of communicating
The majority of webcasting solutions support the creation, management, distribution and delivery of rich media information and incorporate a wealth of content provider and attendee features.
Content Provider Benefits
- System deployment - easy purchasing as an integrated offering or as individual elements, a customizable interface allowing for branding and marketing.
- Cost effectiveness - for medium to large audiences, webcasting is often much less expensive than audio or web conferencing. ASP / service provider offerings combine little or no up-front cost and limited fixed fees, while CPE / customer premise equipment offerings require an up-front cost, but provide low per-use costs for high volume environments.
- Content creation - the ability to quickly and easily create high-impact, rich-media content such as audio, video, graphics, animation, co-browsing, and pre-recorded video clips. In addition, provides the convenience of creating and managing content from any PC, and the ability to include multiple presenters or hosts within a single presentation.
- Content distribution - the ability to host any size event ranging from just a few people to hundreds of thousands, including internal and/or external viewers located around the world.
- Content leveraging - the ability to archive live presentations for future on-demand playback, and to index content for easy access via integrated content search engines.
- Audience access and interaction - easy access to viewers since they need only a PC with Internet access, expedited access to your target audience (no delay waiting to schedule an in-person meeting), support for call-to-action items such as “click here to speak to a representative,” and the ability to include various types of interaction such as Q&A, polling, chat and surveys.
- Content and viewer management - integrated content security (files are not downloaded to the viewer’s PC, password protection is enforced, access can be limited by email address, invitee only, subnet, etc.), the ability to target a specific audience, a high level of automation as integrated registration systems handle logistics, marketing, and detailed usage logging.
- Multiple benefits - ease of use, convenience, and low cost to enjoy high-impact, interactive rich media content. There is no impact on the viewer’s PC since there is no software to load or plug-ins to install. The sessions are multi-tasking friendly since content can be viewed live, paused, re-started, or viewed later. They are also non-threatening since attendees can’t be seen or heard, and even when interaction features are used, the attendee is not required to interact.
In short, webcasting allows content providers to distribute rich-media information in a controlled, secure manner to large or small, geographically dispersed audiences in a cost-effective, user friendly manner. From the attendee’s point of view, webcasting makes it easy and convenient to access live and on-demand rich media content.
- Addressing staff
- Analyst days
- Analyst meetings
- Announcement from CEO or members of Executive Board
- Company newscasts
- Committee meetings
- Communication pertaining to mergers/takeovers
- Congresses & seminars
- Council meetings
- Crisis communication
- Governmental meetings
- Instruction videos
- Internal communication
- Marketing update
- New Year’s speeches
- Online seminars
- Presentation of annual & quarterly figures
- Press conferences
- Product presentations
- Quarterly update
- Refresher courses
- Road shows
- Shareholder meetings
- Strategy updates
- Town hall meetings
- Training courses/sessions
- Web TV
- INTERACTION: a webcast can be extended with various interactive options. The most common of these is asking questions. In addition to this, there are also options to add a chat, test, exam, survey or poll to a webcast player.
- REGISTRATION: it is possible to add a registration form to a webcast. The registration details give you an idea as to who the viewers are, what parts they watched, what questions they asked or what answers they gave (e.g. in a test/exam). Furthermore, these details also provide you with an excellent opportunity to enrich your own database.
- STATISTICS: for every webcast you will be given online access to real-time statistical information. This enables you to see exactly how many viewers there have been for each period of time, their country of origin and what IP addresses they are using, etc. If you are using a registration form, you will also be able to take a look at all details and statistics for each user.
- SECURITY: you can make access to a webcast unrestricted, but you can also make it strictly secure. We have developed various ways of doing so, from password protection to IP lock-out options.
- PAYMENT: it is possible to have viewers pay for a webcast. By means of the payment module, viewers subsequently gain access to the webcast.
- DISSEMINATION OF A WEBCAST THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS (FOR EXAMPLE): Allow the viewers of your webcasts to re-use the material in a straightforward manner by giving them the option to post segments, or a selection of segments, on their own site or social networking site. This allows you to expand the reach of your webcast considerably.
The power behind webcasting is the use of streaming technology. This highlights a key difference between webcasting, which leverages streaming to facilitate “one-to-many” broadcasts to virtually any size audience, and web conferencing, which utilizes various other means to enable interactive meetings with a relatively small number of participants.
Streaming allows webcasting users to see or hear the rich media content without having to download entire rich media files (which tend to be very large and can take a long time to download). Instead, the rich media information is compressed into a series of small data chunks that are delivered to the user and placed in a viewing queue or buffer as shown below.
Webcasting vs. Web Conferencing
Vendors and end users alike have trouble differentiating between webcasting and web conferencing. Like webcasting, web conferencing is also often used to facilitate communication among groups. While there are some key similarities between these two technologies (both support a wide range of rich media content that can be shared on PC screens over an intranet or the Internet), the two web technologies are, in fact, optimized for very different applications. The table below illustrates a few of the key differentiators:
The key takeaways from the above table are as follows:
- Webcasting enables primarily one-to-many broadcasts, while web conferencing focuses on interactive meetings.
- Webcasts are ideal, both in terms of functionality and cost, for large audiences, while web conferences are better suited for smaller groups.
- Webcasts frequently involve and revolve around live or pre-recorded video to maximize the impact and connectedness with the presenter, while web conferences rarely include video and instead focus around PC content. The use of video not only provides an additional level of connectedness between the session host and the audience, but also improves information absorption and retention.
- Webcasts include integrated audio (broadcast only) while web conferencing typically requires the use of an audio conferencing bridge / session.
Overall, webcasting is ideal for broadcasts, while web conferencing is better suited for meetings.
There are two traditional deployment models for webcasting solutions; the ASP (application service provider) model and the CPE (customer premise equipment) model. ASP offerings are service provider hosted solutions, typically web-based, that run off the service provider’s server and network infrastructure. In other words, a company that utilizes an ASP offering is effectively buying an outsourced solution from a service provider. On the other hand, CPE offerings involve the purchase of hardware / software solutions for deployment within the enterprise organization. Sometimes people refer to these as the buy (ASP) and build (CPE) models. Each of these models offer a wide range of advantages and capabilities, but neither is ideal for all webcasting situations.
The diagram below illustrates the architecture of a typical ASP webcasting offering.
For organizations seeking a turnkey, cost-effective means of distributing streaming / webcasting content to both internal and external audiences, the hybrid ASP / CPE model is a solid choice that provides a level of flexibility that cannot be achieved with traditional models.
Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio programs or music videos over the Internet for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The distribution format of a podcast uses a form of the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) format. The term podcast, like "radio", can mean both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often referred to as a "podcaster". Podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of files, however a podcast is distinguished by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading RSS feeds. Usually the podcast features one type of "show", with new episodes either sporadically or at planned intervals, such as daily or weekly. In addition to this, there are podcast networks that feature multiple shows on the same feed. Podcasting's essence is about creating content (audio or video, even documents) for an audience who want to listen or watch an episode when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it.
Podcasting is a unique innovation in content publishing based in large part on its inherent simplicity and ease of use. Users simply connect their portable audio devices to their computer, log on to a podcasting subscription service, and subscribe to that site’s feeds. Audio content is then “pushed” from the original source directly and automatically to the user’s iPod or MP3 player. All of the tools needed to create, modify, and distribute podcasts are within reach of anyone with a reasonably well-configured laptop. The desire to improve the quality of podcasts has resulted in rich Web-based resources outlining principles of sound, equipment
recommendations, and shared experiences. Podcasting demonstrates the power of audio over text (listening as opposed to reading), allowing podcast users to listen and learn while they
walk, jog, ride the bus, or are otherwise away from their com-puter screen. Perhaps most significantly, podcast technology empowers users to publish audio content directly and seamlessly onto the Web.
Users must have sufficient bandwidth to download the podcast. Beyond access, there are potential issues with the format. Podcasting is primarily an audio delivery technology and, as such, has limited usefulness for the hearing impaired. Podcasting is not designed for two-way interaction or audience participation. Podcasters are essentially “sound amateurs” producing and publishing audio feeds. The quality of speakers’ voices, speech patterns, intonations, and other sound effects may not be the same as those of a professional broadcast. Faculty who wish to record their lectures or other instruction for podcasts may need
some training, both in handling an audio-only medium and using the technology.
Steps to audio-based podcasting
- Step 1 Create an audio recording
- Step 2 Upload the recording (mp3) to a server
- Step 3 Create a blog account
- Step 4 Create a link to your mp3 file from your blog.
- Step 5 Enhance your blog feed into a podcast feed
- Step 6 Subscribe to your podcast
- Step 7 Submit your podcast
Purpose of podcasting
- Language learning (Podcast of English Language Teachers Worldwide)
- Conferences, seminars, and forums
- Lectures (Harvard Extension School)
- Orientation material (Duke University)
- Research (RMIT University; Monash University)
- Project demonstration(Flash TV)
- Marketing and Promotions (DesignFix)
- Training of staff
- Product or service demonstration (Penguin books)
- News (ABC)
- Chat radio (Merrick and Russo)
- Hobbies (VODcars)
- Cartoons (Happy Tree Friends – warning: PG rating)
- Crazy talk (Ask a Ninja)
This article covers only the basic concepts .For core technical aspects & consultancy you can consult the following references or e-mail at : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Webcasting worldwide: business models of an emerging global medium By Louisa Ha, Richard J. Ganahl,Routledge Pub.
- Webcasting: how to broadcast to your customers over the Net By Jessica Keyes,McGraw-Hill Pub.
- Podcast solutions: the complete guide to podcasting By Michael Woodland Geoghegan, Dan Klass,Apress Pub.
- Podcasting for teachers: using a new technology to revolutionize teaching and learning By Kathleen P. King, Mark Gura,IAP Pub.
- The Business Podcasting Bible By Paul Colligan, Alex Mandossian ,Morgan James Pub.
- Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies By Tee Morris, Evo Terra, Ryan Williams ,For Dummies Pub.
- Podcasting for Profit: A Proven 7-Step Plan to Help Individuals and Businesses Generate Income Through Audio and Video Podcasting By Leesa Barnes ,Maximum Press Pub.
About the Authors
Head- IT & Systems