What Is Video Webcast?

Alex Newth

A video webcast is the most common type of webcast, followed by an audio webcast, which only has sound. In a video webcast, a person or entity is recorded using a webcam, and the video is streamed to the Internet. This is typically done with music, but news, investor meetings, debates and other events also are common video webcasts. If the webcaster wants to use copyrighted material, there is often a special license available to do so. Even though large corporations are the major players behind webcasts, many household users create webcasts via webcasting software.

A laptop with a webcam, which can be used to make a webcast.
A laptop with a webcam, which can be used to make a webcast.

Webcasting involves recording someone or something and showing the resulting recording online. While audio webcasts are not unheard of, they are rare. Most people prefer to use, and most viewers prefer to see, video webcasts. This is because a video webcast gives the webcaster more freedom to show whatever he or she wants, and video is more apt to gain traffic than pure audio is.

A webcast can be a typical broadcast production repackaged for the web.
A webcast can be a typical broadcast production repackaged for the web.

Popular musicians and corporate entities do most webcasts. For example, a musician may video webcast a concert, or a corporation may webcast investor relation meetings. By using webcasting technology, more users can view the event without having to book travel tickets, and those with disabilities can still see the event, even though he or she may be unable to travel to its actual location.

While corporations and well-known celebrities are more apt to use webcasting, amateur bands and other lesser-known people can create their own webcasts. In the past this could be difficult, but all that is really needed is a webcam or video recorder, and a software program that can encode and stream the video webcast online. This allows smaller or independent media services to flourish, without expensive equipment or a large base of technical knowledge.

A webcaster sometimes may want to display copyrighted material. This may be music to play behind a news webcast or a book or other media source relevant to the topic. To stay away from copyright infringement cases, many media corporations have special licenses made specifically for webcasting, so webcasters know what they can and cannot do on a video webcast.

A podcast is similar to a video webcast, which may lead some to confuse one for the other. The user’s computer downloads a podcast and, while it may contain streaming video, the audio is always downloaded. With a video webcast, the entire webcast is streaming and there is no downloading.

Corporate entities often do video webcasts.
Corporate entities often do video webcasts.

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