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Compare Webcast vs Webinar Service Costs

Webcast Service Overview

A webcast is simply an audio or video presentation that is streamed out to an online audience. A college might use a webcast service to broadcast lectures, while a large corporation might use the service to share its quarterly financial results.

Some webcasts are live; others are pre-recorded. Typically, there’s little or no interaction between the presenter and the audience. Webcasts are designed for the one-way transmission of information from one presenter to an audience of many, much like a TV news broadcast.

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Cost of Webcast Services

You can find free webcast services, but using one is a gamble. Most offer very limited features, and the connections can be unreliable. If your message is important, you’re better off opting for a paid service.

Generally, webcasts begin at around $1,000 and range up to $7,000 or more. A short presentation designed for a small group of viewers will fall on the low end of that price range. An hour-long webcast that needs to be archived on your website will fall on the high end. The more production assistance, technical support and editing you need, the higher the price will be.

Webcast Services Pros

  • Control over message - With a webcast, you have complete control over your message and how it is delivered. There are no interruptions or unexpected questions from participants.
  • No time constraints - If a webcast is archived on your web site, viewers can choose to watch it any time of the day or night. They can watch the presentation at their convenience, not on your schedule.

Webcast Services Cons

  • Lack of interaction - Your viewers won’t be able to ask questions or participate in a webcast. They simply watch.

Webinar Service Overview

The term webinar is short for web-based seminar. Webinars are online presentations, lectures, workshops, meetings or seminars. A company might use a webinar to conduct a sales meeting with employees in remote locations or a product tutorial for clients across the world.

Webinars differ from webcasts because they are live and interactive. Participants can interact with the presenter and each other. All they need is a computer with an Internet connection. Typically, webinars consist of a slide show presentation as the visual component and a conference call as the audio component. In most cases, participants need to register in advance.

Cost of Webinar Services

Webinars can also be done for free, but the quality is even more unreliable than with free webcasts. Many paid services charge a monthly fee for unlimited webinars, with the price based on the size of your audience.

Most services start at about $100 per month for small to mid-sized businesses and then increase the price to about $500 per month when your webinar traffic passes a certain threshold. However, large corporations with tens or hundreds of thousands of participants should expect to pay several thousand dollars per month for a webinar service.

Webinar Services Pros

  • Interaction - Webinars often include question and answer sessions, allowing the audience to interact with the presenters and each other. And often, the speaker can survey or poll the audience during the presentation. Webcasts typically don’t allow this type of interaction.

Webinar Services Cons

  • Fixed day/time - Webinars take place on a fixed day at a fixed time. If a viewer is unavailable at that time, he or she won’t have access to the information, unless you choose to archive the event. Even if you do archive the event, viewers will miss out on the interactive features.
  • Cost - Small business will find webinar services more affordable than webcast services. Typically, there’s no need for costly video production or editing work.

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