Photos: Sonic Foundry

Our Mediasite Events team predicts live TV broadcasts from show floors is going to become the new norm in the events industry. Attendees of IMEX America (Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings & Events) — the largest events industry expo in the U.S., in Las Vegas, Nev. recently — got a sneak peek.

There weren’t any TV news trucks adorned with satellites parked outside, but each day of the show, attendees, both in Vegas and watching online, were treated to a 30-minute live TV broadcast on IMEX America TV from the expo floor. Our great partners Convention News Television (CNTV) and Production Resource Group (PRG) coordinated the broadcasts, and Mediasite live streamed them to the conference site and to the screens inside the expo center.

The fast-paced shows featured testimonials from exhibitors and attendees, show highlights, cutting edge educational content and interviews with industry experts. The hosts also engaged attendees by checking the show’s social feeds and sharing what people were talking about. 

“CNTV, PRG and Mediasite Events are all experts in certain areas, and by all of us working together we’re able to create these seamless live broadcasts,” said Donny Neufuss, senior account manager, Mediasite Events. “This type of content is very attractive. It’s fast-paced and very shiny — a half hour of really compelling content.”

Carrie Ferenac, President of CNTV, says it also extends the life and reach of the conference. You’re not talking to just the people on site. You’re reaching a limitless virtual audience.

“I think it gives you a way to show other people what’s happening at your event, which I believe can drive attendance in the future,” she said. “I think a lot of people in the events industry are trying to get their arms around live production, live streaming and hybrid events. More and more folks are trying to talk to an audience beyond the four walls of their trade show.”

And that’s easier to do than you might think with the right partners.

“It’s a compelling way to use streaming technology in an expo or conference environment. Because of Mediasite and organizations like CNTV and PRG, there’s a more cost-effective and simpler way to deploy a live TV broadcast,” Donny said.

Show organizers just need to remember that “content is king,” and should be compelling to draw people in, Carrie said.

“I think you can start small,” Carrie said. “Maybe you don’t build a huge news desk the first year. Maybe you just use director chairs and sit in front of the tradeshow. There are ways you can walk before you run to figure out what your audience wants to see.”

Plus, because the broadcasts are online there is a lot of opportunity to create additional sponsorship revenue.

“I recommend generating revenue by helping vendors deliver their message. If I’m doing a live 30 minute broadcast I can charge an exhibitor to come and be a thought leader on that show,” Carrie said.

Jim Kelley, VP of Industry Relations at PRG, suggests focusing on the experience you want your viewers to have and everything will fall into place.

“People tend to focus on the technology when they want to introduce innovation to their meetings and events,” said Jim Kelley, VP of Industry Relations at PRG. “This sometimes can cripple organizations. Really what you need to do is concentrate on the experience you want to provide to your stakeholders. Let your partners bring to the table the right solutions and technology that aligns with your overall strategy.”

Get some ideas for your own live broadcast by checking out these on-demand links to what IMEX America attendees saw: