For any business to thrive, it must establish an efficient network of communication between all its employees. Decades ago, this necessitated business travel; however, the situation today has changed.

Thanks to developments in WebRTC technology, it’s possible to hold interactive business or personal meetings virtually. There are many different types of virtual meetings, but the two most popular ones are webcasts and webinars.

At first glance, a webcast may not seem very different from a webinar, but further exploration reveals otherwise. 

A webinar and webcast differ on four fronts. Let’s dive in deeper to gain a better understanding.

1. Features

Webinars and webcasts utilize the same core technology; but beyond that, their feature sets are quite different. Since a webinar is conducted live over the internet, its primary focus is on interactivity and collaboration – its feature set reflects this and is tailored towards maintaining a collaborative atmosphere.

Alternatively, a webcast can be broadcast live or pre-recorded. Either way, the chief aim of these meetings is presentation rather than collaboration. The features available in webcasting platforms, therefore, lean heavily towards presentation enhancement. Screen-sharing, chat or registration functions are often missing on these platforms. 

So, while designers pack webinar platforms with advanced features, most webcast platforms opt for the bare minimum.

2. Make-up and audience size

A webcast also differs significantly from a webinar when it comes to audience size. People use webinars as a channel for two-way communication and interactivity. As such, webinar platforms come with functions like screen-sharing, file-sharing and live chatting. 

Providing all these features to upwards of 1,000 attendees while simultaneously moderating a webinar is a Herculean task. For this reason, webinar software only accommodates a set number of participants.

Being a one-way presentation rather than a live discussion, webcasting is not subject to these audience restrictions. Webcast platforms do not require any of the additional collaboration tools found in webinar platforms. As a result, hundreds of thousands of participants can access a single webcast.

In terms of make-up, a webcast is much more versatile – it can work simultaneously with an in-studio and online audience. On the other hand, webinars, more often than not, are limited to an online audience.

3. Implementation

When it comes to a webinar and a webcast, not only is there a difference in focus but also in implementation. Webinars, in an attempt to engage their audience, make use of as much visual aid as possible. There are quizzes, surveys, polls, and slide decks to go with the presentation. A webcast, however, is the opposite, relying very little on visual aid, mostly in the form of a few essential slides.

4. Interaction level

It should be very clear by now that there is a remarkable difference in interaction levels between webcasts and webinars. Webinars attempt to establish two-way communication, while webcasts aim to deliver the content rather than stimulate a discussion.

Details matter

As you can see, the distinction between webcasts and webinars is rather substantial and goes beyond mere technical jargon.