Monday, February 16, 2009 Featured Article: Lessons Learned from Live Events

My friend Kevin Shively just published a piece on titled, Lessons Learned From Live Events, and as CTO of TV Worldwide the leading provider of online Internet video delivery solutions since 1999, Kevin is a veteran of live internet broadcasting. He and his team at TV Worldwide have worked independently and in collaboration in the broadcast video production arena for the past 20 years and have been pioneers in streaming media on the Internet since the technology’s inception in the mid 90’s. In October 2008, TV Worldwide announced that it was expanding its existing facility near Washington D.C. to create the largest Internet TV Studio in the U.S.

Kevin says, "It’s hard to believe, but 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of TV Worldwide. Over the past decade, we’ve webcasted more than 5,000 live and archived events and, by necessity, become quite experienced at producing live webcasts—so much so that many of our clients know us primarily as a live-webcast service provider. This experience has taught us many things about what and, perhaps more importantly, what not to do."

I've done my share of live videoconferences, webcasts and webinars for numerous corporate clients over the years, and while webcasting is a different animal than videoconferencing, a lot of the same rules apply. With any successful event you have to plan it all out and expect that something could wrong. So testing, rehearsals and back up contingency planning often saves the day.

In his article, Kevin shares the following "lessons learned" which should be helpful to anyone producing a live event. Read the full article here.

1. Have a Reason to Go Live - Here are two main conditions that, if either is met, are solid reasons for webcasting live: if the event is interactive and participatory on the part of the viewers and if the content is time-sensitive.

2. Don’t Blow Out the Bitrate (or Screen Size) - Streaming anywhere from 200Kbps to 300Kbps works just fine.

3. Test, Test, and Test Again - Any live production is, by definition, a one-shot deal. Either it goes right or it doesn’t. The only way to ensure that it goes smoothly is to test and plan using the exact conditions as the live event

4. Choosing Your Format - While there is certainly some debate about which format is the best for live webcasting, the most important factor to consider is the audience that will receive it. Using Flash video is one way to avoid the Windows/Mac compatibility issue

5. Providing Interactivity - Perhaps the most powerful reason to deliver a live webcast is the ability to enable interactive participation for viewers. There are many ways to do this, from polling and online-form responses to chat-based and email-based question-and-answer opportunities. The best rule of thumb is the tried and true acronym KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
This is a Qik video I shot of a behind scenes look at TV Worldwide's live streaming set up with Kevin Shively and team with a cameo by Jose Castillo. Kevin was streaming the Keynote by Albert Cheng from Streaming Media West 2008 Day Two.
Here are a few related Klessblog posts on the subject:
About Kevin Shively
As Executive Vice President of Business Development Kevin Shively is responsible for creating and maintaining new revenue channels for TV Worldwide, including sponsorship sales for the many live and archived event webcasts TV Worldwide produces each year and the creation of new Internet TV channels. Formerly, Kevin ran East Coast advertising sales for Net Radio Sales, a company that represents over 400 Internet radio stations reaching millions of listeners each month and brought numerous Fortune 500 advertisers to Internet radio. Prior to Net Radio Sales, Kevin served as Vice President of Internet radio station and positioned that company as a leader in the webcasting industry by negotiating deals with the Coollink Broadcasting Network and Jones' Media America making one of the first stations on the Internet to successfully employ a targeted ad insertion solution. During his tenure, was consistently rated among the top 10 most listened-to stations rated by the Arbitron Measurecast Ratings.
About TV Worldwide
Founded in 1999, TV Worldwide developed the first Internet TV network of community-based Internet TV channels, primarily targeting niche professional communities ranging from the Maritime industry to the Digital Media sector. Known by many in the industry as “Internet TV for Smart People”, Fortune 500 companies, 15 federal government agencies, and numerous International associations including the National Association of Broadcasters, utilize TV Worldwide's live and archived state-of-the art video streaming content applications and Internet TV channels. In recognition of the company's unique achievements in new media, TV Worldwide was selected by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) to webcast the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2007 and the 59th Annual Emmy awards for Technology and Engineering in 2008. CEO Dave Gardy has been honored by Streaming Media Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential People in Streaming Media. Mr. Gardy also currently serves as the President of the International Webcasting Association (IWA) (