The Pros & Cons of Live Streaming Virtual Events

In our many conversations with new and existing clients around virtual, one of the most frequent questions we have heard is about the approach to capturing and sharing content. Should they go out live or should they pre-record their program? The short answer is, there is no short answer :) The longer answer is an examination of the various pros and cons to each, as well as considering a combination of both. This week we are walking you through the thought process behind live streamed events, but stay tuned for next week where we'll talk pre-recording. 


Here are some pros and cons to consider:



First, let us clarify that the meaning of “live” here is actually “real-time”. Someone is speaking in the actual moment to an audience (give or take a 30-second delay). Of course when we’re aiming to create an event (vs. a webinar), that real-time energy can be key - even with its risks and possible imperfections. 



  • Best for timely content: 

There is nothing more timely than right now. Staying in real-time allows you to address any breaking health, social, political or subject-related news that your audience will certainly be aware of. 


  • Allows for more content prep time:

Scripting, graphics, and videos can take substantial prep and approval time. Though we don’t recommend making significant changes on the day of your event, giving yourself more time to get content right may yield better results.   


  • Opportunity for real-time interaction 

Though there are ways to accommodate for interaction regardless, there is nothing like seeing an audience member live onstream asking a question, or a moderator reacting to a real-time question via Q&A. This can be the essence of why your virtual event is so valuable. 


  • Can be recorded and fed into a content library

With even busier schedules and restrictions on time, often we’re hearing audiences ask for replays to watch when they can. Live allows you to give the majority of your audience a specific time and place for the experience, but also an easy replay to those who need it. 



  • Reliant on individual tech set-ups & speaker’s ability to troubleshoot in real-time

As we mentioned last week, the heavier load on speakers to both prep and in some cases participate in tech has been a major difference in virtual. Not only does going live rely on their home internet and tech setup (unless we’re sending tech dropkits), but if there is an issue during the live broadcast speakers need to be active participants in contingency plans. 


  • Requires additional rehearsal time from speakers and technical crew:

Similarly, going live can mean extra rehearsals with speakers and your tech team. This may lead to some engagement fatigue from your speakers (make sure to be clear what is needed from them upfront!) and some extra costs on the tech side too. 


  • Live communications can be cumbersome:

With everyone still working remotely, communications plans require a few layers to connect all parties in real time. The tech team will need to be able to communicate with on-air speakers for cues and updates, and speakers may also need to hear from non-tech team members on content or programmatic updates. All can be accomplished with the speaker wearing an earpiece or headphones and the right tools in place, but the backchannel communications may be distracting for speakers (especially non-professional ones). A comprehensive communication plan between all parties is a necessity.


  • Content cannot be censored or edited:

Even with a 30-second delay there’s only so much you can do if something goes awry with live. A lot will depend as well on the security of your platform and your ability to pre-vet speakers or guests. Definitely have a “technical difficulties” slide in the hopper for any major issues and your entire team clear on contingency plans for all scenarios! 


We hope this helped to outline some of the considerations of this major virtual event question! Don't forget to check back in next week to read about the pros and cons of pre-recording your virtual event. If you’d like to discuss further or delve into the cost side, feel free to reach out through the form below, or to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss this or any other topics!