Live Virtual Events are Here to Stay: Here’s Why
Live virtual events certainly existed in a pre COVID world, but the pandemic accelerated the popularity and proliferation of virtual events in a way few could have predicted. Although many of these events began as a way to replicate in person experiences, research indicates that virtual events and more than just a poor man’s substitute for physical gatherings. Virtual events will continue to have a unique and prominent role in a post vaccinated world. According to a report by the National Research Group “heavily pent-up demand for in-person experiences does not negate demand for virtual experiences. 2 in 3 Australian consumers said they intend to continue attending virtual events even after the pandemic.” The pandemic has certainly changed our relationship to the virtual in new and interesting ways. Although the rise in virtual events began out of necessity, they have now become second nature to many. Our relationship to the digital has evolved significantly and audiences, consumers and marketers now have a different understanding of what can be achieved in digital spaces.
What People Love About Virtual Events
A Novel Experience
Although Live streamed events were originally considered amongst many as a substitute for in-person gatherings, they are now creating exciting and original experiences for users. Virtual events present the opportunity for both the entertainment industry and businesses in general to reinvigorate the way in which they communicate and connect with audiences.
Crucial to the success of the live event experience is the bold embracement of innovative new forms of technology. Virtual reality and augmented reality are the most exciting examples in this space.
Travis Scott shattered records with his Astronomical concert performed within the Fortnite video game platform. More than 12 million players took part in the virtual reality spectacular with many more expected to have watched via steaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.
Players participated in avatar form within a specific time and were able to move and dance as a massive, virtual holographic image of Scott performed. Although players didn’t pay to participate in the event, Scott’s social media presence increased by over 1 million followers. Scott’s Spotify earnings, merchandising and sponsorship opportunities, as well as gaming collaborations (including one deal with Epic Games which reputedly grossed Scott $20 million) also increased dramatically.
The adaption of these new creative forms of technology provides interesting and novel experiences for users. In the offline world “The Lab, an Adelaide-based new hospitality and performance venue outfitted with high-end audio and video technology customized for immersive art experiences, opened recently to tremendous success. Shanghai Fashion Week offered a glimpse into the future of global fashion, with live events supplemented with live streams and digital showrooms surpassing millions of views and millions of dollars in direct merchandise revenue” (National Research Group)
Creating pathways that allow for interactivity transform attendees from passive watchers to participants in a shared experience. This significantly heightens the value for users. “More than 7 in 10 consumers—and 8 in 10 Gen Zs—express strong demand for two-way dialogue with creators.” (National Research Group) Whether it’s through the ability to chat in various forms, vote on a particular outcome or send items of gifts to creators, the ability to interact and the sense of personalisation this brings are key to the success of live streamed events.
The Weekend’s virtual concert on Tick Tock was watched by more than 2 million viewers. During the interactive, immersive event comments from the audience were projected onto the screen to look like billboards as the Weekend appeared in digital avatar form in a “hallucinatory XR dream world.”
During key moments of the broadcast, fans voted in the comments to guide the visual theme of the experience. Research indicates that the ability to influence the outcome of a particular event is of tremendous value particularly amongst Gen X consumers.
Connection with friends and family- bonding
The motivation to engage in virtual events often differ across generational lines. Boomers often cite that virtual events help them unwind and relax and give them something to look forward to whilst staying connected to their friends and family. Younger audiences look to virtual events as a way of maintaining social networks as well as bonding with strangers who share similar interests. For both groups, virtual events can help ease feelings of isolation and loneliness. Digital spaces provide the means for people across generational lines to come together with their respective communities.
Of course, virtual experiences also provide users with a global access and flexibility they would otherwise not have. These style events provide users with a unique opportunity to participate irrespective of geographic or other constraints. Participants can watch and engage with virtual events from any device and from anywhere in the world. Everyone from boomers to small children stand to benefit from this style of interaction. Just as lovers of classical music were able to watch Andrea Bocelli’s live streamed concert from the Duomo Milano last year, children from all across the world could take in the sights from Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo in a virtual tour.
If you’re interested in creating your own virtual event, AD Media is a full-service video production company with experience creating immersive, broadcast quality, live steam experiences. Get in touch with us today to see how we can make your event a spectacular one.