How Much is a Webcast Worth?

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is video worth?

In the world of streaming, not as much as you would think.

Now, anybody who works with me on the team here at Wainhouse Research will tell you that I’m one of the biggest champions of online video that you’ll find anywhere. I like talking into a camera, don’t mind spending time at the editing console and have posted more than a few videos online in my day.

That said, even I must acknowledge that the creation of an enriching business communications experience takes more than just slapping a video on a server. As much as it pains me to admit it, video is not the end-all, be-all.

Instead, it’s more productive for all of us to look at online video as a very important element of a larger business communications canvas.

In the corporate world, the value of a communications tool is measured by the way it helps workers to share information. Certainly, one-to-many video fills a communications void like no other technology. Viewers can see when a presenter smiles, raises an eyebrow or even starts looking a bit shifty on-screen. It all gives viewers additional input that is useful when discerning the substance of a presenter’s message.

In an increasingly complex world, though, it’s unrealistic to expect video to deliver all the information viewers need in a work setting. Fortunately, in the online world, video does not have to do all the heavy lifting.

Webcasting solutions have long made it possible to weave audio and video together with onscreen data in the form of PowerPoint slides or a presenter’s screen that is shared with a farflung audience. Other features make it possible for viewers to request downloads of documents that presenters are willing to share with viewers.

Rich Media Webcasting

For better or worse, this type of data integration helps us define the divergent spheres of streaming and webcasting. Streaming focuses on the technologies employed in the distribution of basic video. Webcasting refers to the process of leveraging technology platforms to pull together video and a range of other onscreen features and serve them up in an integrated viewing experience.

All of these capabilities have been around for a while. So long that some of us may take them for granted from time to time. Nevertheless, executives know communications value when they see it.

In a survey of 1,007 executives conducted by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2013, half of all respondents said they “strongly agree” with the statement that “live online video is more effective when combined with PowerPoint slides and other onscreen data to enhance the presentation environment.” Another 40% said they “somewhat agree” with the statement.

Clearly, even though the idea of integrating video with other onscreen elements to create a more engaging communications experience first emerged more than a decade ago, it’s a concept that still resonates with business users today.

Perhaps the appropriate question that I should be asking now is “If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a webcast worth?”

Steve Vonder Haar is a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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