Virtual events are a quick, straightforward, and effective way to put your content out there for the world to see. Virtual events can offer you the perfect blend of versatility, scalability, and engagement to get the job done, whether you are using your virtual event for educational and training purposes or to create a strong brand image for your business.  It’s for this reason that the popularity of virtual events, particularly webcasts and webinars, has skyrocketed in the past decade.

It’s vital to distinguish between webinars and webcasts in order to wield webcasts and webinars as the ultimate tools to grow your business. If you’re new to the game, it’s understandable if the webcast vs. webinar question has left you scratching your head. We’ve been there too.

In this article, we’ll be explaining the difference between these two forms of virtual events. Read on to settle the long-standing webcast vs webinar debate.

Also Read – Webinar vs. Online Meeting

What is a webcast?

Have you ever been a part of a virtual product demonstration/launch or a virtual summit where the hosts and speakers did all the talking? If yes, then you know precisely what a webcast is. The word “webcast” is a combination of the words “web” and “broadcast.” It is a point-to-many multimedia stream broadcast over the internet through streaming media technology.

The primary goal of a webcast is to present a singular content source to as many simultaneous viewers as possible. Most webcasts have upwards of 1,000 participants viewing the stream from all over the world. Imagine the chaos created if the speakers were to interact and engage with such a huge audience individually. In order to avoid the crowd chaos, webcasts are non-interactive in nature, because the flow of communication in these events is unidirectional.

What is a webinar?

Let’s now look at what webinars entail. “Webinar” is a contraction of the words “web” and “seminar.”  Therefore, webinars describe a seminar conducted over the internet. A webinar has a strictly virtual audience when compared to webcasts. The number of participants in a webinar typically does not exceed the 1,000 mark.

The defining feature of webinars is their high engagement levels. In fact, the very purpose of a webinar is to interact with your customer base and build a rapport with them. To achieve that interaction, webinars make use of snappy visuals, including graphs, charts, images, and videos, as well as quizzes, polls, and Q&As.

Webcast vs. Webinar: A Side-by-side Comparison

WebcastExtended reach; can easily accommodate large audiencesFewer chances of internet connectivity issues and technological disruptionsCan be pre-recorded or liveLittle to no engagement; strictly one-way communicationAudience may lose interestTypically no Q&A sessions; participants’ questions go unanswered
WebinarHighly interactive; two-way communicationAudience remains engaged and attentiveWebinar software supports a wide variety of media typesIdeal for collaborationsGreater control over the eventAttendees can ask questionsCan accommodate fewer peopleMore prone to connectivity issues

Webcast vs. Webinar: Picking the Right Format

In order to get the most value out of virtual event solutions, you must choose the proper format. Now that you have a better understanding of the distinction between webcasts and webinars, determine your goals, weigh the pros and cons of each format, and make your choice.