Audio and Video from Conferences

With the Internet and especially blogging and podcasting getting more popular, we have seen a surge in audio and video recordings from many conferences on the Internet. While some organizers still see this as a threat (’Why would anyone come to our events if they can get the talks on the Internet for free?’), many see it as free advertising or simply do it to get their information out to many more people.

Vanguard in this has been the IT Conversations site (recently broadening its mission under the new name The Conversations Network). Amongst other things they offer for free download audio recordings from many conferences including the popular O’Reilly events. They portion out the recordings from any event over a long time, one talk a week. If you want to get them soon after the conference you can pay for premium access.

Many other conferences do the same for themselves. Not all of them as professional as the TED (Technologie Entertainment Design) event which recently published videos of some of their talks (which by the way are not only technically excellent videos, but also video of excellent talks, go see them). For many conferences those audio and video recordings still have a distinctly home-made touch, but they are getting better and better as people learn to work with the new medium.

So why are they not afraid of loosing customers? Because any good event is more about the contact to other people and the shared experience than for the content or talks alone. Instead of turning them away, possible attendees get a glimpse into what awaits them. And they want to be part of it. And anyway the conference business is different then the book or magazine business. While you can print as many copies of a book as you need, conferences always have a limited attendance.

btw: Have you watched the TED videos like I told you? Did you notice the cluttered look of the stage? Very interesting change from the normal huge and empty stage. It is very subtle, but I think it makes the setting more “comfortable” looking, less like stage and audience and more like a conversation in your living room. Maybe thats something to copy.

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