Why hybrid events are the future

by | Oct 20, 2021

Article #3 in TicketCo’s ongoing series on hybrid events

The power of digital and its ability to connect people on a global scale has elevated hybrid events to a new level.

Hybrid events are inclusive, cost-effective and sustainable for festivals and live events. They help event organisers establish an additional revenue stream and bring audiences closer to the action than ever before.

Detracting from the physical product is not the purpose of hybrid events. We are dealing with a cultural shift whereby people can access any event at any time in any location.

At TicketCo Media Services, we believe hybrid events are the future of the entertainment sector. Here’s why.

Reliable service

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a dramatic global shift concerning how people engage with others.

Prior to March 2020, it would not be unordinary to be a touch sceptical when paying to watch an event digitally. Is this event free-to-stream elsewhere? What if technical issues impact my digital experience? Can’t I watch it on my TV?

The lessons learnt from those first weeks of lockdown have shaped digital events into the quality productions they are today. Myths which question the effectiveness of live streaming or video on-demand have been truly busted.

UK tour management and content specialists Tour Life experienced this shift first-hand. Patch Jobson of Tour Life – (today Partner Key Account Manager for Culture at TicketCo) – told us digital events are simple to operate for the user.

He said: “For the first digital event we delivered via TicketCo, we had 12 people out of 1,500 viewers ask for support. Almost all those enquiries were people asking for guidance on how to use their TV, so it was completely out of our and TicketCo’s control.

“Digital broadcasting is exceptionally reliable, there are very few questions about the platform itself which we were impressed by.”

Open accessibility

Ask yourself this, how many times have you been unable to watch your most-loved theatre production or favourite artist perform due to a lack of access?

It could be you’re away on holiday. Perhaps visiting family in a different part of the country. You might not even be able to travel to an event due to logistical complications or health reasons.

Hybrid events solve this problem at the click of a button. That’s because they can be streamed onto your smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV in HD quality at the touch of a button. The sky is quite literally the limit, providing you have access to the internet.

Hybrid does not mean only catering for those tied by logistical barriers, though. Digital broadcasts are inclusive and available with audio-description and BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters too.

READ MORE: Streaming makes performances accessible to everyone, with Chichester Festival Theatre

Increase your audience

Perhaps the most obvious benefit to taking your event online is the ability to grow and develop your existing audience.

Hybrid events add an online layer to an event without damaging the product or revenue stream of your physical event. It’s well documented by event organisers that you simply cannot beat the real-life live experience.

Hybrid isn’t here to replace that. Hybrid provides people who otherwise wouldn’t attend an event due to travel, health or financial implications the opportunity to contribute and engage.

“Live streaming allows us to establish an audience beyond the auditorium,” said Simon Baker, Technical Director at Wise Children. “Theatre isn’t accessible to people for a variety of reasons.

“By streaming productions, we can connect with a whole range of people that wouldn’t normally attend a physical show. Hybrid events generate a sustainable second revenue stream.”

Key performance indicators

A powerful tool for the modern-day event organiser is their ability to analyse customers’ ticket-buying and engagement habits in seconds.

It’s true, digital analytics are not exclusive to hybrid events. But hosting an event online unlocks a plethora of previously untouched data. It is now possible to monitor how long your customers tune in for and understand what content drives additional engagement to benefit your future output.

At TicketCo Media Services, we have developed a close partnership with Spektrix to provide users with an automated data population function which helps organisations better understand their key performance indicators.

You can read more about our partnership here: TicketCo Media Services joins forces with Spektrix – TheTicketingBusiness News.

Fuel your content engine

When you deliver a hybrid event, you are developing content which can be repurposed in the future and generate additional revenue.

Take theatre, for example. Traditionally, productions might sell CDs or DVDs of the live performance to customers when they leave the venue. By live streaming events, it is possible to make them available on-demand or to watch back as catch-up.

Productions can be clipped and included in social media posts too and boost the performance of your tailored digital advertising. When you think of hybrid, think of sustainability and how you can maximise the use of content you have created in the long-term – something which isn’t possible for events held exclusively in-person.

Written by Shaun Reynolds

Communications advisor and expert storyteller with Fortitude Communications. A former news reporter and sports editor of five years across several UK regional titles. Experienced in photography and social media management with a passion for the outdoors.

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