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Webinar vs Webcast: What’s the Difference?

Melissa Hugel
08-Nov-2018 11:44:24

Webinars and webcasts are great tools for marketers and anyone else looking to run a comprehensive online events programme - or maybe just want another way to engage customers with awesome content.

The problem is, a lot of people don’t know the difference between a webinar and webcast. While both are referred to as online events and are meant to connect with audiences, there are some key differences to be aware of.

What is a webinar?

I know we’ve gone over this before, but it’s important to understand what we’re talking about when referring to webinars.

In the most basic sense, a webinar is a web seminar (web + seminar = webinar). It normally takes the form of an online presentation - whether that be a PowerPoint, webcam, screenshare, pre-recorded mp4 (or a mixture!) - with accompanying audio via a phone or mic, to accommodate panel discussions, for example.

Vidyard screenshot

 Webinars are great for knowledge sharing, thought leadership, and professional development. Audience size can vary, but we’ve found most WorkCast webinars are presented to audiences of fewer than 1000 people.

One of the main features of a webinar is interactivity and audience engagement. Webinars are all about controlled two-way communication. Attendees listen to your broadcast via their laptop, PC or device speakers and have the opportunity to contribute with live polling, Q&A, surveys and resource downloads.


So what’s a webcast then?

Think of webcasts of being more like a television show than a seminar. Those TED talks that are live streamed across the world? Those are webcasts.


Like a webinar, it can either be live or pre-recorded, but there are a few more major differences between the two formats.

One reason why marketers and businesses choose webcasts is that they’re designed to reach large audiences. We’re talking attendee numbers in the thousands.

Essentially, webcasts are if you want to up the anti on your online event. Providing a professional, polished finish to your broadcast with a TV/studio-like quality, webcasts allow you to bring a psychical event to life, whether that be a town hall, conference, panel discussion, product launch or stakeholder/annual review.

Is your physical event limited on space for attendees? No problem! Stream it live online so you're not limiting the exposure of your content to just those who can attend in person. Your online attendees are still able to engage with polls & submit questions with the hope of the speaker or host answering it live for them to see & hear.


Where do virtual events fit in?

This is where it gets interesting - virtual events are where it all comes together.

Virtual events are large, multi-session events that can feature both webinars and webcasts. Want to host that industry conference online? That’s where a virtual event would come in. There is everything from a virtual lobby to small breakout sessions - where webinars can be handy - to keynote addresses - where a webcasts would be most appropriate.


Because the two formats each have their own strengths and purposes, you can run a comprehensive, multifaceted event that shows your industry knowledge while ensuring you reach a truly global audience.

If you want more information on webcasts, webinars, and virtual events, get in touch now.

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