Webcast vs webinar; which is which? Guest post from StreamGo

There is a lot of confusion surrounding online events, with a variety of names being used interchangeably.

Some of the terms used for online events include, webcast, webinar, webseminar, webex and web conference. In actual fact these are all unique types of online event with slight differences between each.

This blog post aims to eliminate this confusion by going into detail about the different types of online events, most specifically webinars and webcasts.

Online Events

Most online events can be described as a flow of information that is broadcast over the internet, to effectively a limitless audience.

The big positive that all online events share is that they negate the need to gather your entire audience in one place. People can watch from the comfort of their own homes or offices and can typically catch the content on-demand following the live event.

The involvement of your audience is entirely up to you, as you decide on the format of the event, but you can generally have audience involvement if you wish.


A webinar is an online event that typically contains slides, video or a visual demonstration. They are generally presented by one or more presenters, often with a Moderator facilitating introductions and the question and answer portion of the event.

Presenters will use computers to work through their presentation and they will either call in using a telephone or VOIP (voice-over-Internet-Protocol (an Internet phone line!)) to speak through the presentation.

Viewers tune in to watch webinars on their mobile devices or computers.

Webinars are a simple way to reach a large audience with a fairly simple PowerPoint and audio style presentation. This can be either live or pre-recorded for broadcast at a later date.

Key Features of a Webinar

  • Presenters can be in one location or spread throughout the world
  • Audio is from a presenters’ telephone or VoIP connection
  • Content is typically slide or presentation based
  • Viewers can tune in from all around the world and can access with basic internet connection and a device
  • Viewers listen through device speakers or headphones
  • Viewers can engage through live question and answer sessions and real time polling


A webcast is a live video online event, that is usually filmed in the style of a TV programme, using multiple cameras, occasionally including some form of slide content.

Presenters are filmed at a location and present to camera or are interviewed in the style of a TV programme, this is either broadcast live or recorded to be broadcast at a later date.

Viewers tune in to watch webinars on their mobile devices or computers.

Typically, a webcast will garner a greater attendance rate than a webinar, this is due to video being seen as more engaging by viewers than simple slides and audio. It will also likely retain viewers’ attention and lead to higher time viewing the content.

Key Features of a Webcast

  • Usually contain high quality video
  • Presenters are typically in one location, others may be included via video link
  • WebCasts are often from a physical event, such as a conference
  • Content is filmed using one or multiple cameras and can be combined with pre-recorded videos and animations
  • Viewers watch from all across the world, however there may also be a live physical audience if it is a conference for example
  • Viewers can engage through live question and answer sessions and real time polling

The differences

In terms of the viewing and interaction, the processes are very similar and have interchangeable features. Viewers will tune in online, via computer or device and listen through headsets. They will then engage through question and answer sessions and polls.

The key differences between webinars and webcasts lie in the preparation and content.

Webinars tend to be simpler in the planning with presenters dialling/logging in and presenting from a remote location without being physically visible themselves. While for a webcast presenters tend to be on camera, in one location.

The content is also a key difference here; a typical webinar will consist of slides with the occasional inclusion of video content or demonstrations. While for a webcast the presenters themselves are the key focal point, with slides occasionally being used as an additional feature.

It goes without saying that the setup for a webcast will take longer than that of a webinar, with setup often occurring in the morning of an afternoon event or even the day before, as there is much more equipment required. Whereas a webinar can be setup from an hour beforehand.

Hopefully, this has given you a good insight into the differences between webinars and webcasts. So next time you are looking to run an online event think about what you are looking to achieve and then use this guide to decide which method is best for you.

StreamGo specialise in managed webcasts and webinars. Their superstar team take away the pain and pressure of running events. From email invite to reg page, live event to on-demand, our team take care of it all – leaving you free to concentrate on the content. Visit their website