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Differences Between Webinars and Live streaming Events

Due to recent events affecting everyone’s lives, the desire to step out and go to a crowded room, auditorium or conference, to watch someone’s presentation was easily replaced with the comfort and sanctuary one gets from working at home or at their employer’s near-empty office spaces.

Webinars and live streaming events are now widely used tools companies can employ to broadcast news, information, instructions, or speeches deemed critical to keep customers and other audiences engaged in their business. 

Now, what are the differences between webinars and live streaming events? As you are about to read, there are quite a few to know about…

Audience Size

The biggest difference between webinars (or web-based seminars) and live streaming events is the size of the audience they address.

For webinars, audience sizes range from a handful to a few dozen people who registered to participate in the online meeting.

On the other hand, live streaming events are designed to broadcast out to larger, more massively sized audiences who usually do not have to sign up to watch an event. 


For live streaming events, due to their large audience sizes, interaction with individual audience members is impossible to have, resulting in a one-way speaker-to-audience form of communication.

However, the webinar setting makes it easier to interact with the audience due to its smaller size, limited “virtual” seating and cozier surroundings. It is because of these factors webinars are better at promoting two-way communication between a speaker and their audience.


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As mentioned earlier, the goal for webinars and live streaming events is to propagate some type of information.

Typically, webcasts are used for training and small-scale marketing endeavors, usually targeting a specific group of customers, potential customers, or market.

Unlike webcasts, live streaming events are broadcast out to a wider audience and presented as a form of entertainment. Online concerts are perfect examples of live streaming events, while in a business context, keynote speeches and product unveilings are often live streamed for a wider reach. 

Complexity and Costs

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When it comes down to it, smaller web productions are easier to manage. Webinars, for example, are the easier of the two to finance, produce and stage.

In the end, a good computer webcam and some great lighting conditions are the bare minimum requirements needed to host a well-executed webinar.

Conversely, live streaming events are typically full-fledged productions with costs coming by way of employed production crews and purchased/leased streaming technology services (i.e. YouTube and Vimeo), hardware (i.e. 4K cameras and computers), and utilities (i.e. network bandwidth and power).  


Creative control in online presentations is definitely budget related. You get a lot of creative room when it comes to producing a large-scale live streaming event.

From picture-in-picture presentations to visual effects to worldwide broadcasting, the higher production values give livestream event producers the opportunity to reach above the typical creative ceiling.

In contrast, webinars usually do not reach for the stars and focus more on their content than their glamour. As long as a webinar presenter can keep his audience engaged, there is no need for flashy logos or light flares.


So, looking at the all the differences between webinars and live streaming events, we see on overall factor that differentiates each online presentation from the other.

That factor is scale.

Specifically, scale in size and scale in budget. The larger live streaming events are designed to broadcast out to thousands of viewers, which can be beneficial for a large company trying to reach out to make a statement and bring in new customers, but there is a financial cost to such a large production.

Companies using webinars do not need a big budget to run an online presentation; instead, they will need an emphasis on content.