What’s the No. 1 myth about hybrid meetings? Cannibalization of your face-to-face event.

Back in 2012, the MPI's hybrid meeting research found it was a top concern for 50 percent of event planners. Two years later, it’s still a common fear, but in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Take Teradata’s recent 2014 Partners Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tenn., for example.

“The fear about virtual cannibalizing the physical event didn’t happen. We actually just got more attendees,” said Rebecca Salsbury, CMP, event manager for Teradata’s corporate events.

This was the first year in the conference’s 29-year history that Teradata created a hybrid event using Sonic Foundry’sMediasite Events team. More than 5,000 data professionals — both in-person in Nashville and online — attended the event, and Teradata saw a 44 percent increase in attendance.

“Our virtual conference was a strategic plan to reach a broader, deeper and targeted audience who couldn’t physically make it to Nashville. The misconception about virtual is that it’s just a webinar. But this wasn’t. It was a unique online experience that was fully branded.”

About 200 conference sessions (including video, audio and PowerPoint slides) were streamed live and on-demand via Mediasite to conference attendees in Nashville, and online viewers could watch select sessions to get a taste for the event. Plus, with Mediasite they’re able to engage with the speakers via real-time question and polling features, and there’s instantly an online video library of enduring content from the conference.

“We’ve been working with Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Events team for two years, and prior to that we only provided attendees with the presenter’s PowerPoint slides. To have the rich media Mediasite recording has elevated the quality and perception of our conference, and we now have a nice package of easily shareable content for our attendees,” Rebecca said.

Teradata was spot on in its attempts to reach a broader virtual audience. With its first successful hybrid event behind it, the company plans to continue this model going forward and expects its attendance to grow year-over-year.