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Live Streaming conferences–good or bad for business?


Web 2.0 Expo has been one of the first conferences where live streaming (or livecasting) became easy.  Yes, it’s been done before, but the gear was huge.  Now folks like Jeremiah and Scoble can tote the stuff around in their laptop bags.  The next question is, is this a bad thing for conferences?  Let’s start with Jeremiah’s post on it:

I asked in the chat room during the live stream if hurt or helped Tim O’Reilly by me streaming the conference. For a lot of folks, paying $1500 is certainly expensive to attend (I think that’s the cost, I’m not sure) when you add in airfare and hotel and other travel bills, going to conferences can sure add up.

There were 30-50 people that were on the live cast at any given time, and I’m sure it will be more tommorow. Folks recorded it and put it on Google Video in near-real time, so the event was casted live. For those folks that were not able to attend, did this help or hurt the conference organizers?

I say help, the buzz and reach that the speakers and sessions got from this live streaming helped to carry it farther.
Source: Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Live Streaming at Web 2.0 Expo (Does this Help or Hurt Conferences?)

I agree with this completely.  Look no matter what some people just can’t make it to conferences, even the ones they really want to go to.  Jim was watching a session that I chose not to go to live via Jeremiah’s feed.  Of course this then could allow people who are at the conference to enjoy multiple sessions at once (wouldn’t that make live conference blogging fun!).

From a business standpoint I don’t think conference organizers have anything to worry about.  People will still want to come to conferences to meet, greet, and network.  What about having people stream sessions and then sell that space to sponsors?  Make the feeds free to view, but of course sponsors can get their messages in.

Seems like a no brainer to me!


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