Does live streaming increase or decrease face-to-face attendance?

Live video streaming of events has become an incredibly affordable way to reach a new audience. But there is a concern that streaming an event will decrease in person attendance. However, you’ll be pleased to know that the consensus seems to be that live streaming actually increases attendance at events.

How so?

Imagine watching your favorite sports team. For purposes of this example, let’s use the New England Patriots. There’s a distinct difference between rooting for your team in front of a monitor or TV, as opposed to seeing Tom Brady throw a pass in front of you. Even though you can view the game for free online, there’s no comparison to being in Foxborough with 60,000 other people at Gillette Stadium.

It’s the same with meetings and conferences.

Everyone knows that face-to-face experiences are unique and people are willing to pay for the experience. They are paying to be there in person, connect with others and network. They are paying for the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of that event experience and to be at the same place, at the same time, with a large body of like-minded individuals.



Live Streaming can be categorized as an enhancement and promotional vehicle for a live event.


Live streaming of physical events can increase interest and help people decide whether they want to attend future events in person. Herb Kim, who runs the hugely successful annual conference Thinking Digital said, “There’s something about a live event that people respond to – and that’s what you should take advantage of. You should see the live stream as a big advert for next year’s event. Letting people have a look at what’s happening will incentivize them to go in person the next time. As you’ve spent all that time and money getting people into one place, streaming doesn’t cost too much extra and you’ve got the opportunity to capture people’s attention and leverage the buzz.”



Lincoln Center has attributed their 10x growth over the past 3 years to live streaming.


“Most clients who are regularly programming events see about a 20% increase in their audience size over the first year alone. Allowing viewers to participate in an event when they can’t attend in person often encourages them to attend an upcoming event in-person. “Said Carly Pisarri, Director of Marketing at Livestream, a leading video streaming company.

A study by Virtual Edge Institute stated that 82% of the online audience found the virtual environment helpful in making a decision to attend in-person next time, meaning your future events could see a rise in attendance if you stream online. There are also people who just can’t attend in person. Therefore, streaming a live event can cover both audiences and potentially increase online and in person attendance.


“82% of the online audience found the virtual environment helpful in making a decision to attend in-person next time.”    Virtual Edge Institute Survey


Looking at an event from an attendee point of view, perhaps only one or two sessions during the day are of interest, or their schedule keeps them out of town. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce and engage potential attendees by posting a video recording of the event on-demand. The entire live event doesn’t have to conclude at the end of the day. Video recordings of the event can live online via on-demand viewing, extending the life and interest of the event indefinitely.

On a side note, remember that an online event can provide revenue generating opportunities from advertising, sponsorships, lead generation, etc. Offering an online session that provides a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) is also a profit center. All these profit centers can be used to offset the cost of live streaming.



Field Hockey

Live streaming of school sporting events brings the action to laptops and mobile devices.


Besides meetings and conferences, other events that can benefit from live streaming include school sporting events (imagine sitting in an airport watching your daughter’s soccer game) and graduations, company groundbreakings, grand openings, etc. that can be streamed to satellite offices throughout the country or awards ceremonies and galas featuring keynote speakers and honorees.

There is a world of opportunity to bring your event literally, around the world.



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