Basic Requirements for Hosting A Live Webinar Series (Webinar Formats)
Webinar requirements including hosting and content curation
Continued from the article on Webinars vs Podcasts vs e-Learning Courses: Pros and Cons and Cost Comparisons.
What are the basic requirements for hosting a live Webinar Series?
To host a live webinar requires:
- appropriate technology
- high-speed internet access
- adequate bandwidth for the webinar host and participants
To offer a live webinar, requirements include:
- uninterrupted, high-speed internet access for the presenter and audience (as above)
- adequate bandwidth for presenting information including mixed-media (videos, split screens, slides, graphics etc, on a shared screen/window)
- an interactive webinar app or webinar software that is
- capable of hosting the audience numbers you plan to reach
Note that many people over-estimate how many people will attend their webinar (audience counts). Only a few people underestimate the attendance estimates. However, both underestimating and overestimating attendees creates potential problems and lost economies.
- Webinar Hosting Platform software (monthly subscriptions and/or per-use fees likely to apply)
- An appropriate device including audio and video capacity
- a laptop, high-end tablet or computer that has audio and video capacity
- peripherals if you need an external microphone or video camera
- and if you’re using an iPad, for example, you’ll need to look into Apple-compatible products such as GoToWebinar
Requirements for hosting a live webinar
What are the best webinar platforms for hosting a live webinar?
- Each webinar delivery platform has pros and cons and different costs for hosting
- This often depends on the number of participants as well as the duration of the webinar series
- You can also opt for a basic platform or a more controllable delivery platform (the bells and whistles variety of webinar hosting software)
- Best webinar hosting platforms identified as industry favourites include:
Webinar Hosting Cost Examples
Webinar hosting costs range from $39/month (USD/paid annually) to from $50 to $200/month depending on which platform and features you select; these costs tend to cover 500 or fewer participants.
The cost of hosting live webinars on a commercial server can vary. It depends upon the provider and the services required. Customisable packages and high-audience numbers can cost a lot more than small-audience webinar hosting.
- GoToWebinar/GoToMeeting – monthly subscription costs are about $109 AUD (GoToWebinar pricing)
- WebinarJam – monthly subscription fees start at about $70 AUD ($49 USD) (WebinarJam pricing)
- For hosting live webinars series that will be attended by over 500 people, fees can get as high as $700 USD per month or more.
Comparing a live webinar series vs a pre-recorded webinar?
Many webinars will be posted online for participants to access AFTER the actual live webinar event. Let’s compare live vs pre-recorded webinars (pros and cons):
Live Webinars vs Pre-Recorded
During a live webinar, presenter(s) delivers information via a video-connection over the internet. They often share a screen with a slide-format presentation, or swap between video formats to screen sharing. They tend to speak directly into the camera built into their device, much like a Skype session; only there use a one-to-many delivery method.
There are also pre-recorded webinar sessions. These may have been LIVE webinar deliveries at an earlier stage. But some webinars are recorded without an audience; in a presentation/lecture format (no intrinsic engagement).
Webcams for webinars
- Cameras for projecting webinar materials can be built-in to the device (laptop, smart-phone, tablet/computer device)
- External cameras can also be used including an external USB driven ‘web-cam’
Different programs allow for full interaction with webinar attendees OR very limited interactions
- The presenter controls the microphone, screen materials and audience involvement.
- Audience questions may be asked using messaging boxes or ‘raising a hand’, features of delivery platforms
- Some webinars allow voice questions, some text messages only, and some no Q&A at all
Audio capacity and captions
- Soundcards/speakers or headphones are also required for delivery and reception of a webinar.
- Very few webinars use subtitles on initial delivery.
- However, captions may be added later, if posting the webinar to a shared file after recording the event.
How much does it cost to host a webinar?
- Average Webinar hosting fees: hosting fees paid for by the Webinar Sponsor can range from no charge platforms (typically suitable for small groups of up to 20 people) to approximately $250 in annual fees for the capacity to host Webinars with up to 500 participants/attendees at any one time
- It really depends on the length of the webinar, number of participants, and the degree of interactivity and function you’re seeking
- There’s a “no frills” webinar hosting version and there’s the luxury platform that allows extensive control of delivery, screen sharing, participation/communication and more
How do live webinar participants register for the webinar, and how do I log into a webinar?
- Registration Process for Webinar Attendees: typically require you to register to attend, receive an email with the webinar link; and to click on the webinar link and log-in at the time of the webinar (a set date/time); requiring a device and plan that accommodates high-data use digital media streaming (audio and video)
- Webinar Login Details and Procedures: Participants log in to the webinar and may make comments or questions by ‘raising their hands’ in the webinar using the communication technology of the platform.
- Live Webinars vs Pre-Recorded: Webinars are often promoted as ‘live’
- Sometimes webinars promoted as ‘live’ webinars are actually pre-recorded and repeatedly used (re-used), which is a deceptive but common practice by some training groups
- These previously recorded webinars are not live, but are monitored by staff answering new questions in the ‘ask a question textbox’
- Webinar Equipment, Technology, Accessibility: Users will typically need a computer device (laptop, tablet, PC or smartphone), uninterrupted internet access and adequate bandwidth (data plans) to access a Webinar; dropouts are not uncommon if internet access is unreliable; causing attendees to miss part of the Webinar presentation
- Compatible Devices for Webinar Participation: Not all devices are compatible with webinar delivery or participation
- Some webinar programs require the attendee to download an application before the webinar starts
- This often requires a separate registration with the webinar hosting group as well as the webinar presenter/sponsor
- Webinar Costs and Fees: The cost of presenting a webinar can vary and include the program plus presenters time and resource development costs (PowerPoint development or SlideShare projects
- Some webinars are free to attend
- Others may require membership fees or one-time webinar fees to participate/attend the webinar
- Quality of a webinar: The video and audio quality of Webinars depends upon:
- equipment (camera and computer specs)
- internet speed/bandwidth
- the dynamic between the presenter’s equipment/uploading capacity and the user’s equipment/streaming capacity PLUS the internet stability of the presenter and attendees
- How long does a Webinar remain online and available to the public?
- Most Webinars are one-off presentations that require you to attend at a set time
- The trend, however, is that webinars are all recorded and offered either for a set period of time after the original event (48 hours, for example) or indefinitely on YouTube or other video channels
- Webinar Course Certification: There are usually no certificates of attendance issued for most webinars; however, some organisations may offer them if this is part of their training offering
- Accessing a Webinar if you were unable to attend: Some webinar presenters offer repeated access to the content (streamable viewing options) for 24 to 48 hours after the actual event
- Webinar Copyright Laws: Some webinar presenters share their presentations with attendees; however, the information is still protected by copyright laws and unauthorized use of proprietary content is a criminal offence
Podcast formats, podcast delivery requirements, and podcast hosting costs
Webinar vs a Podcast (Comparison): The key differences between developing a webinar vs a podcast are in relation to costs and development time/resources. Audio files are much easier to create, edit, post and host.
Podcast: A podcast is an AUDIO based delivery method. It is most often pre-recorded rather than being delivered live.
Webinar: A webinar uses audio and video media (visual information), such as slides, screen sharing and video (e.g. streamed video of the presenter).