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Difference Between Webcast and Livestream

What’s the Difference Between Webcast and Livestream?

It’s in human nature to look for ways to express themselves. From thousands of years old rock paintings to creating art with a 3D printer, people always find a way to speak their truths. Now, we are all broadcasters with posts on social media and channels on YouTube, Twitch, and other platforms.

What used to be one-sided content has turned interactive, allowing everyone to question, discover, and contribute to its meaning or debunk it. Webcast and Livestream are at their center, becoming what television was in the previous century — an outlet for events, news, and breakthroughs. Just imagine what Moon landing would be like or the coronation of Queen Elisabeth II if they had the broadcasting technology of today.

So let’s learn about the difference between webcast and live stream, and a mark they live on the viewers and modern exchange of information.

A short history of broadcast

Before we start discussing webcasts and live streams, it’s important to mention what came before them to better understand their significance in contemporary society. After its mechanical predecessor, electronic television came to be in 1927 thanks to 21-year-old Philo Taylor Farnsworth. The first broadcasts were black and white, while the color TVs started appearing in 1946.

In the last 50 years of the 20th century, television became the essential source of information in homes. Surpassing radio and newspapers. It was a revolutionary medium with the power to change lives and dictate trends. Some of the biggest names in music, for example, have become famous after performing on TV shows. Like the Beatles after 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The ’90s brought a whole new world of broadcasting to people’s homes using the internet to reach a not only national but global audience. Little by little, advancements in recording technologies and their accessibility has allowed people to create their own content and publish it online. In this century, we are all creators and recipients of content at the same time thanks to webcasting and its various forms.

Why do they seem the same?

Before we start with the difference between webcast and live stream, it’s important to note their similarities, which include:

–        Interactivity

–        Offering content over the internet

–        Large viewership

–        Active participants

–        Broadcasting live.

As you see, the main characteristics make them practically the same, but they have some crucial differences that can be a big deal for the content producers. 

Defining the difference between webcast and live stream

Live streaming is what the name suggests: broadcasting content in real-time. For example, live concerts, football games. And everything that the audience is watching as it unravels in front of the camera at that moment. The audience can interact with themselves via chats and the broadcaster may also get involved in the conversation, depending on the stream. The fact is that anyone with a phone, access to the internet, and profile on certain platforms can broadcast a live stream. Some examples are Twitch, Instagram Live, and Facebook Live.

A webcast is content made available over the internet to a large audience that can either watch it live or on-demand. To create this type of content you will need webcast production, like a studio, editing, special effects, and other means to make it more attractive and effective. Consider it as a more formal way of broadcasting since it needs preparation, more manpower, and is often announced beforehand.

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When to know which one to use

If you are just an everyday social media user, you may have done live streaming before. You may have gone live from a concert and streamed part of a song you liked. Or, you witnessed a crime and live-streamed it as it was happening. These are unedited formats intended to rely upon the information in free-form, without aids, like the background music or preparation. This allows the audience to participate in the live stream and interact with the content producer, creating thus a spontaneous broadcast.

On the other hand, if you want to broadcast something intentionally to achieve a certain goal then you are doing a webcast. Even if you webcast live material, it’s planned and scheduled so your audience knows when to tune in. And sometimes even have to pay to access the stream. This is a less interactive form since the audience can leave comments and participate in polls during the webcast. The two-way communication is sacrificed here for the sake of polished and more attractive content to reach a wider audience.

Final thoughts

With the appearance of the internet in the 1983 and World Wide Web ten years later. Broadcasting has started evolving in what we know today. It will certainly continue to morph and reshape in the future, bringing some new and interesting ways to deliver content. In the end, getting a 15-minute of fame is not a question of possibility, but choice. Allowing more public control of the content, for better or worse.