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The How and Why of Hybrid Events

Chris SlightChris SlightApril 12, 20223 mins read

We’ve discussed all-digital events before but one of the big trends we’re seeing lately is the hybrid event. A hybrid conference is something that combines the advantages of an in-person event with the accessibility of an online event. For example, a big gaming convention like PAX will have all its vendors and exhibitors in a physical hall while panels and tournaments can also be watched online. So, how do you conduct hybrid events and why would you want to? Let’s discuss!

What is a hybrid conference?

So as we touched on above, a hybrid event is a combination of both physical and online events. We have some experience with those here at XSplit having run some gaming stages from conventions in the past. These catered not only to the people on the show floor but were also streamed online for people to watch on Twitch.

These indie[dot]XSplit stages were a big collaborative effort to pull off but ultimately a great tool to connect with people at the event and online. Now, this was just one part of the larger show as a whole, as we mentioned above PAX itself is very much a hybrid conference.

On an even larger scale, keynotes like Apple Events are traditionally hybrid of both physical and online. The press is bought in to be in the room for the stage presentation and to get a hands-on look at the products. This is also streamed online giving the viewing public the chance to see Apple’s message while also opening it up to the press to give their own impressions.

Why run a hybrid conference?

There are a number of good reasons, as we mentioned above it gives everyone a chance to be involved. Inclusivity is important, and not everyone can attend an in-person event due to a multitude of reasons. By running some, or all, of your pillar content online you’re allowing a much wider audience to experience it.

Not only that, but a hybrid conference can showcase a wider variety of guests for panels that wouldn’t be possible in an offline-only event. Your panel could not only include guests in the room, and guests calling in over Zoom. All of this can in turn be broadcast online easily using software like XSplit Broadcaster.

There are also examples, like New York Comic Con, where you can purchase a digital ticket. This enables guests from across the globe to watch all the panels live as they happen. Also, it means you can open a new revenue stream for your event for everyone who would love to watch but can’t make it to the venue in New York.

A person stood on the stage of a hybrid conference presenting a slide to a large watching audience on a big screen while also broadcasting to viewers watching at home online.
Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

Including online elements at your hybrid event

So, the most obvious online element that we have mentioned already is streaming panels and keynote speakers. We’ve actually put together a thorough course online! The video below shows you exactly how you can produce an event that can be done in person and online.

Beyond that though, there are ways you can have an online and an offline audience interacting! You can incorporate live chat for questions for panelists and speakers. Or, you could really go next level and play games together! WiFi Wars is a show that uses proprietary tech to beam games through your browser. Allowing people in the room to compete as one team against people online. This is some creative thinking and it could only be the start of a melding of online and offline hybrid conferences!

We really see the future belonging to hybrid conferences and events and we can’t wait to see what people come up with! As technology intersects with in-person gatherings more and more, the future is bright! More people get to see the shows and presentations you’re putting together with hybrid conferences!

Chris Slight
Chris SlightChris is the Communications & Content Editor here at XSplit. You may find him voicing tutorials, on stage at events around the world, or right here on xsplit.com. Find him at chrisslight.netMore from this Author