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Webcast vs. Podcast

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 3/14/2011

In the webcast vs. podcast debate, you can only pick a clear winner depending on your requirements for distribution and availability. Podcasts don't rely on Internet connection for playback while webcasts can offer content immediately as the events and discussions in the content happen.

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    Introduction

    If you are thinking of offering your content, whether is for entertainment or sharing of information and ideas, you can easily do so by using a webcast or a podcast. These two concepts may appear to be the same, but they are not. You need to be aware of the similarities and the differences of these two concepts for you to make the right choice for your medium. Here is a webcast vs. podcast comparison discussion to help you make that choice.

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    Definitions

    Podcasting refers to recording audio or video optimized to be stored on the web, to be downloaded into different devices like desktop computers, mp3 players or mobile phones. You can use any type of recording hardware and software to create your recordings. You can even apply edits and special effects via audio editing software to add style to your content or to simply cut it down to a more manageable file size that can be downloaded with ease and with fast speed.

    Webcasting involves the same recording tools that can be used in podcasting. The similarities stop there, though. Once you have your recording, you can offer it through webcasting by embedding it on a web page where visitors can view it or by storing it on a web server that can be accessed by media players. This makes webcasting very similar to broadcasting TV shows and radio shows. Using the same logic, we can compare podcasting to watching a movie on a DVD or listening to music or an audiobook on an mp3 player.

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    Distribution

    Podcasting and webcasting are similar in the sense of how the material is created, but the way it is distributed sets the two concepts apart. Podcasts can be embedded on web pages and stored in media players capable of podcast subscription management. From their, listeners and viewers can download the content into their devices. Doing so makes the content available to them at all times whether they are connected to the Internet or not. This makes podcasting highly efficient and useful for people when they are traveling or when they are within an area where there is no Internet connection.

    Webcasts can be accessed through web pages and media players as streaming media, but they cannot be downloaded. Whether they are live broadcasts of news, musical performances or discussions, or they were pre-recorded, they can only be viewed or listened to when the user has Internet connection. In short, availability puts podcasting over webcasting but only when recorded content is involved. With live broadcasts of TV shows or sports events, obviously, it cannot be made available as podcasts until the broadcast is done. This gives webcasting the edge over podcasting since content can be made immediately available via live streaming through webcasts.

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    Conclusion

    In the webcast vs. podcast debate, the medium of choice depends on the content being offered. If you would like to offer tutorials or scripted shows, podcasts are your ideal way of distributing your content. For content that is valuable when viewed or listened to as they happen, webcasting is the best choice.

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    References:

    http://socialnetworkinglab.com/2009/04/21/podcast-webcast/

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/ew/2008/06/09/stories/2008060950160402.htm