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How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Hybrid Event

What are some of the most important factors when choosing a platform for your hybrid event? Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), gets into the details of this question with Dan Houze, VP, Encoding & Digital Strategy, BC Live, and Alex Lindsay, Head of Operations, 090 Media, in this chat from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Pfaff asks Houze, “When is the platform a help or a hindrance, or does it really matter? Because there's so many of them and some of them are even bespoke depending on which company and how much money they have.”

Houze notes that BC Live often has clients who have already chosen a platform they want to use, and his company’s focus is to work within that established model to deliver the best outcome for the event. Otherwise, he says, “I think the challenge that we're in now is trying to keep up with all these platforms, trying to figure out who's going to be sticking around for a while because there's a big investment, there's a big learning curve for your production folks, for the end users, [and] making sure that it's a good product [that can] interpolate easily between mobile devices and desktop and where the people are in the world, that end audience that you're trying to go after. So there are some heavy players that we tend to lean towards.”

Pfaff asks Lindsay what his take is on the question. Lindsay notes that a big issue is how there remains a baked-in approach to putting together events firmly rooted in how traditional in-person events were assembled. “For thousands of years, we didn't have video,” he says. “We made all these rules about physical events because we had to get everybody in one place. And to do that, we might as well talk about a bunch of things all at one time because [the attendees] paid for travel, and they have a hotel room. And so there are all these constraints of the physical world that we're weighing our virtual events down with. When we get out of that and say, well, we can have an event that happens for three months and culminate in a physical event or start in a physical event. Still, it doesn't have to be all there, and when we do that, we can have a lot more people because the real power is interactivity with the audience, when you want to see average view time and sequential attendance and all the important numbers. The useless numbers are reach and concurrent views and total views, and all the silly things. When you want to talk about average view time and sequential attendance, what you're talking about is interaction. Like how do we ask questions? How do we interact directly?”

“I love what Alex is saying,” Houze remarks. “It’s interesting because I'm thinking back to conferences that I've gone to in person, right? And I'm thinking, well, wait a second, they never do any interaction at these conferences, right?”

Lindsay says, “I've spoken at a lot of conferences and my plan is to speak for 10 minutes and then answer questions, and it has worked for 20 years. We tell everyone when we're talking about events, flip that switch because what happens is you want to get people out of passive listening and into active listening as fast as you can. And the best way to do that is to answer their questions.”

“One of the masters at that is Leo LaPorte, right?” Houze says. “It's like, ‘Leo, how are you on air 24 hours a day?’ And it's driven by the audience, right? It's a brilliant way to conduct your meetings and to really get at what people are wanting and needing.”

Learn more about hybrid event platforms at Streaming Media East 2023.

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