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Follow Up: ZDE Virtual + Live. A Workable Events Biz Model?

Some interesting discussion around this topic, below. Of course virtual components of live events have been around for over a decade. The biz model has been elusive. I remember sitting through a disastrous demo of an audio simulcast tool in 98. The product had horrible latency (audio delay) problems. Me and my colleagues sat there yelling at a PC for ten minutes. It kept echoing back at us, until the guy doing the demo disappeared into a fog of echos. That company disappeared in the dot com bust.

I did some checking around on the ZDE platform. It’s apparently based on tools developed by Stream57. I spoke with them and they seem to have a lot experience with live webcasting. I also spoke with someone who has worked with them and they said they do a good job (maybe with a little lack of attention to detail, but nothing terrible).

Here’s the problem for business event producers:There are hundreds of companies now that can do a live video webcast. These companies typically aim at the high end: They bring in a full production crew and produce high-quality video content that cost tens of thousands of dollars. So now you’ve sunk a big dime producing content that goes out to desktops where everybody eats for free. How do you monetize that? What’s the business model? The sponsorship model only goes so far.

The nub of the problem seems to lie in this: Software Developers don’t produce events, and Event Producers don’t really understand software.

Full disclosure: My company is working on a new event model that takes on this problem. A lot of what I write about comes out of research that we’re doing to launch this model. I hope to write about it more specifically in the future. I’m posting here because I know a lot of event organizers are struggling with the same issues, and I’m hoping to share ideas.

  1. April 1st, 2009 at 22:00 | #1


    I have been on the live events webcast engineering side of the equation from day – early 1999. My technical successes have come from being an events producer out of Los Angeles and the Hollywood scene, who knows marketing, sponsorship and promotion. So I get it as far as what goes into it all from all angles. But what normally is hard to control is what webcasters are charging for the webcast streaming services, combined with traditional video and audio production services. It all adds up to a lot of expense the way that normal business is done. Plus, there have been lots of production horror stories told to me by my Fortune 5000 clients before I came on the scene for them. Webcasting is a very complex production expertise, you really need to know what you are doing.

    The major webcasters that have all the right tools for reporting and tracking, and syncing of slide presentations, can’t cater to the small to medium business with limited budgets under $5000, for a soup to nuts kind of event webcast offering.

    That is not to say that it can be done for less, it just the “Industry” with lots of overhead can’t survive on the existing volume, and the high touch that most webcasters have to put out to be successful.

    I’d love to be a part of your ongoing discussion on this topic. I can both provide answers to why thing are he way they are. I can also offer up how it can be done better and more affordably as new solutions provider come on the scene. Including of course what my group can now bring to the table for local business in the San Francisco / Silicon Valley area.

    Harvey Louie – EventCG.com


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