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Register now for our FREE webinar series, Streaming Media West Connect, happening September 29 - October 2!

How to Manage Livestream Planning in a Pandemic

Watch the complete panel from Streaming Media East Connect, "Live Streaming in a Changing World," on the Streaming Media YouTube channel.

Learn more about live streaming production at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Liz Hart: From a large-scale perspective--let's talk about the Olympics for a second. So we're on a delay with the rest of the world as to all of the storylines and all of the creative that comes with sponsorship campaigns, partnerships, and where livestream might come in to tell one of those stories. So, not only are our clients trying to figure out what they're going to do, our flexibility to use content and even change content once we do go over there in an ever-changing world, where even current events might change where a particular advertising campaign, if those are our clients ... Being able to offer multiple solutions of being able to pivot either the same content or the same resources as they also go through their changes is what I'm seeing is going to make the partnerships between what might've been just, "We're here to technically capture what you have," longstanding partnerships in a world where every single aspect that's involved in a campaign is not necessarily airtight or guaranteed anymore.

So that kind of flexibility, and also coming from the jump with, "Here's how we can be flexible instead of waiting for that ask to come" is where we're focusing on being valuable partners and also keeping ourselves in the game when unpredictability and unpredictable budgets come with that. But additionally, we're looking at planning for a time when we don't know what the state of public health will be, what local, state, and federal and all levels of government guidance may be. And to that end, we're talking about, let's say, three plans at once, and those needing to be fired simultaneously as we build these planes while we fly them. So it's simultaneously planning for if we find a vaccine tomorrow and everything is going forward as we dreamed and might have had a 2019 version, to also, if, no one can physically come, and something hybrid in the middle.

So what they're asking of producers and what they're asking of vendors and partners like us, is to make those three plans actionable every single day from the moment that we're hired. And then as we get closer day by day, we're shifting with our clients towards which one is actually going to happen when that calendar date comes. So the challenges that we're trying to navigate now are, "How do we do that? How do we reserve staff? How do we encourage our clients to pull those triggers and say yes or no to certain decisions that need to be made for a show to physically even happen. And also being sensitive to the fact that there is not unlimited funds for many of these people.

So I'm identifying very specifically what those phases of decision-making are, knowing that we're going to say yes, until we have to say no. That's the new standard of how we've gone about approaching it on all sizes of events, as large as, say, the Olympics, a convention or a gala, or an NGO that's doing a fundraiser that now needs to still make money the same way. The sensitivities are the same for all.

Alex Lindsay: Because I think we have relatively good, fast-twitch muscles. Most of our events are booked less than 12 weeks out, for better or for worse. We can build a lot of events in 12 weeks because that's what we've done for the last decade. Oftentimes it's much less than that. For a long stretch, our average was two or three weeks out to build up something oftentimes globally.

A lot of our corporate clients have just decided, "We're not going to do anything until next June." Until a year from now, they're just saying, "We need to plan and we need to not think about this anymore.' So what we're going to do is the new reality for them is to plan to go through May of next year, assuming that they're just gonna do all-virtual and not have more than 50 people in the same room.

And it just lets them kind of solidify that and so that they can start making choices. For a lot of clients, the plan that they have is better than any other plan. The earlier you can create a plan, the earlier you can decide "This is where we're going to go" rather than zigzagging for most events. It's better just to take a path. I do think that some of our political partners are still trying to figure out what's gonna happen in the fall, and how far that they can take that process. But for a lot of our corporate clients, they've just written off the next year.

And then lots of smaller companies usually are living in a much denser, much tighter turn. So they don't have to think about next year yet. But most of them--for obviously the summer and probably the fall--they're planning to just do virtual, and then they're hoping that something's going to come out. But the reality is we're not going to have a vaccine until January. It's not going to be distributed for another 3-6 months for propagation. And then you have to deal with a large number of people that will not take it immediately. And so, middle of next year is probably about as optimistic as we expect to see.

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