If you have ever watched a live stream or recording of one of Apple’s product launch events, you won’t struggle to ‘get’ the concept of a webcast. A webcast is essentially a broadcast delivered online – hence the portmanteau combining the words “web” and “broadcast”.

What this means is that a webcast is very much geared towards a one-way flow of information – from the presenter, the Steve Jobs of the equation, to the audience, whether it comprises Apple fans or otherwise. So, when should you hold a webcast rather than a different type of online event?

What options do you have for your online event?

If you have heard of webcasts, you have probably also heard of webinars and perhaps even used the two terms interchangeably. However, this would be erroneous – as, though webinars and webcasts are both types of online event, they can differ significantly in how they are delivered.

As CBS News explains, the word “webinar” is derived from a combination of “web” and “seminar”. Though not all webinars are used today for lecturing or training purposes like the “-inar” part of the term would imply, these events nonetheless facilitate two-way communication.

Yes, this means that the presenter directly interacts with members of the audience – making webcasts useful tools for collecting audience feedback, for example. Videoconferences are similar, as they entail visual contact between the presenter and the audience.

However, there are certain situations where you should arrange a webcast rather than, say, a webinar or videoconference – despite the stripped-down functionality that would seemingly apply with a webcast. Yes, it’d be a simple way – but sometimes this can genuinely be the best way.

Webcast your net far and wide for a broader audience

You could still afford to be dynamic with a webcast. For example, you could use slides as essential aids as well as display a wide range of imagery, from photos to graphics. With the right choice of webcast platform, you could also more effectively convert audiences into paying customers.

However, one major trump card webcasts have over webinars is that they are built to cater for much larger audiences. According to figures shared by TechFunnel, whereas webcasts are usually made for an audience of up to thousands of people, webinars only have a few hundred attendees at the most.

One simple reason for this contrast is that webinars more strongly focus on interactivity. At a webinar, every attendee must be given their chance to participate during the limited running time.

Fortunately, with a webcast, there are no such concerns. Furthermore, while webinars are limited to online audiences, webcasts can also have in-studio audiences – not to mention those capable of easily catching up on the event after it has finished, as webcasts are more shareable than webinars.

It’s up to you whether you pre-record a webcast or deliver it live. However, doing the former could help to prevent internet disruption from hampering your online event’s flow, as people would be able to download the content online for watching offline later.