Webcasting vs. Broadcasting: Which is Best?

You might be familiar with the term “webcasting”; you might even know what it means. If you don’t, this LinkedIn article provides a useful definition, calling it “live video broadcasting over the internet/intranet”.

Now, this definition might have just confused you, as you have probably traditionally associated the word “broadcasting” with radio and TV broadcasts. Indeed, as a TechTerms listing attests, the word can be used in reference to these – but the general definition of broadcasting has broadened over time.

Broadcasting: what it used to mean…

One reason why broadcasting has widened in definition is that broadcasting technologies have widened. Traditionally, broadcasts were produced through transmitting analogue signals over the air on different frequencies – with AM and FM radio broadcasts aired in this way.

However, in the early twentieth century, once the internet age was well underway, several over-the-air – or what you could call “OTA” – broadcasts switched to or took up digital signals like HDTV, HD radio and satellite radio. Today, broadcasting via both analogue and digital signals is commonplace.

While cable TV would not be classed as OTA broadcasting, it has similarly undergone an analogue-to-digital transition. A digital signal can prove wonderfully versatile, as it supports higher-resolution audio and video.

What the internet adds to the broadcasting equation

While you might be accustomed to using such traditional broadcasting mediums as radio and TV for marketing purposes, these mediums can still have their limitations. For example, when transmitted over an analogue rather than digital signal, radio and TV broadcasts can be restricted by physical distance.

Online broadcasts, however, lack this geographical restriction. When someone connects to an online broadcast, its data is rerouted to multiple locations – meaning that the broadcast can be duplicated hundreds or even thousands of times before reaching all of the connected users.

So, as you can see, “webcasting” and “broadcasting” aren’t really terms referring to two separate things, though it’s understandable to accidentally perceive them this way. Instead, “webcasting” is really a form of “broadcasting”, making the latter term a much broader one than the former.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t quite mean you wouldn’t be able to settle the question of which of these two terms your business should think more carefully about – especially as webcasting is more flexible than traditional broadcasting in terms of functionality and audience scope.

How should you dip your toes into the webcasting waters?

If you’ve never gone down the webcasting route before for your promotional efforts, you might not have realized how dynamic the right choice of webcast platform can be. You could, for example, find a platform that enables you to tempt your webcast viewers further down the marketing funnel, making it easier for you to convert these viewers into paying customers of your business.

Look for a platform that, using back-end analytics, would be able to help you discern your audience’s interest and buying readiness. These are some kind of tools that you could find aren’t readily available to you when you opt instead for a traditional, TV- or radio-based broadcast.