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June 2019
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How to Produce an All-Day Webcast

This article will discuss an all-day webcast that Morningstar does every year for its Individual Investor Conference, going through the decisions made in pre-production, the vendors selected, and the workflow, and share some tips that readers take into your webcast productions.

As Video Manager at Morningstar, an independent investment research firm that I like to describe as “Consumer Reports for investing,” I produce about 800-1,000 videos each year with my 2-person crew. These are usually short 3-5 minute web videos, featuring Morningstar’s investment experts and analysts, on Morningstar.com, our individual investment platform that does about 3 million monthly uniques and 400,000-600,000 video views. You can read more about the types of videos we produce and how we produce them in “Feeding the Beast,” a two-part series of articles published in January with individual segments focused on generating content and our production workflow.

Morningstar offers data and analysis on hundreds of thousands of investment vehicles, including mutual funds, stocks, exchange-traded funds, and closed-in funds. We serve both individual investors and institutions (mutual fund companies, large endowments). Morningstar.com is our primary retail website, where folks like you and me can go get information on different investment types, get help putting together a portfolio, keep track of those investments over time.

In this article, I'll discuss an all-day webcast that we do every year for our Individual Investor Conference. I’ll go through the decisions we make in pre-production, the vendors we use, and the workflow, and share some tips that I hope you can take into your productions.

About the Conference

Morningstar’s Individual Investor Conference is a virtual conference streamed live in March. This year’s conference was our third annual event. Essentially, it's an all-day webcast, with about 6 1/2 hours of live content streamed from our studios on a Saturday (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. Morningstar Individual Investor Conference 2014. Click the image to see it at full size.

We do it on a Saturday just because our audience is individual investors who presumably work during the week and can’t take off a full day to attend. We promote it heavily ahead of time so people can carve out the time.

Our speakers are usually a mix of internal and external experts. We have more than 100 analysts on staff at Morningstar who are specialists in different areas, many of whom will participate in different panels and discussions. We also bring in external experts to fill holes where we might not have in-house expertise, in areas such as Social Security or health care.

The webcast also includes a lot of interactive features that you would expect from an interactive webcast. Our live audience can submit questions directly to the speakers; the webcast also features a live chat module so attendees can interact with other viewers, and so that panelists and other Morningstar representatives can interact with attendees as well.

In the next few sections we’ll explore the entire webcast production and delivery process, including the steps that we go through in pre-production, production, and post-event.

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