The short answer is, ‘No’.
The longer answer is that while we have for the past two years as an experiment the cost of doing so is simply too high to justify for us. It isn’t just the hard cost of delivering the livestream (over $25,000), it is a business model question and a question of who pays and who benefits. As it stands, our attendees pay and others benefit and that doesn’t seem quite right.
We thought that livestreaming the conference would mean that people would see the content and decide to attend in person next year. Actually we have found that we have built an audience of people that have proven themselves very unlikely to come to the event in person – looking at the people who have viewed over the past couple of years and comparing it to attendees this year is strong evidence that we have two very different groups of people. This is fair enough, but as we are delivering the stream for free, that means that our paying attendees are effectively subsidising others to see the content and we would rather focus on delivering a memorable and meaningful experience for our paying customers.
We considered a livestream for a fee model and tested this by asking a sample of viewers from last year whether they would be prepared to pay. A small minority would, happily. A vocal minority asserted their ‘right’ to watch it for free (though many of them charged significant amounts for their own products or services). It was hard for us to see a way for this to work for our business model.
We also know that the number of people that watch every single session (or over 75% of them) during the livestream is very small suggesting that viewers prefer to pick and choose which sessions to watch or are distracted by work from watching them all. Again, we don’t think this is unreasonable but perhaps it is evidence that it is hard to commit to watching something online for an extended period of time and people prefer to pick and choose when they view content. (We also know that immediately after the event, we have several hundred inquiries in the following couple of months asking when a specific talk is going to be online as it was missed).
We remain committed to sharing the content with a wider audience:
- We have made every single video available, for a small fee, to anyone when they are compiled and edited post event and will continue to do so.
- We also release almost all of the talks free of charge on the Business of Software blog over the course of the year and will continue to do so. See the 2012 talks from one place here.
The best way to experience Business of Software Conference, or indeed any gathering of super smart, motivated people, is to be there on the ground with them. Come for the talks, return for the people. We know that it isn’t always possible for everyone to do this but we hope that our community will understand the business logic behind this decision and that those people who are not able to attend in person for whatever reason, will still be able to participate via social media and ultimately view the talks at their leisure.
If you were planning to watch the livestream at BoS and didn’t buy an Early Bird ticket but now feel you need to attend, drop us a line and we will see what we can do to help.
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