What do you want in a Webcast?

For that matter.....Do you even like Microsoft Webcasts?

My team is on a conference call right now and we are discussing webcast attendance and how to get more people to attend. All of us are raising some interesting questions but we are on the inside and may not have an appropriate perspective. I want to know what you think about our webcasts and what you want from them. More Demos? Less Demos? Different topics? How deep should we go? Are they discoverable? Are they too long or too short? Guest speakers? I am just throwing things out there.

You tell me -What do you want in a webcast?



Comments (8)

  1. Ed Zielinski says:

    In order of priority:

    > Energetic presenter – to name a few (in no order) Kai Axford, yourself, Michal Murphy, Keith Combs.

    > A combination of overview, outline, and then demos which show real-world examples of implementation and usage.

    > Q&A interspersed to keep people awake

    > 90 mins is a good timeframe

    > (obviously) – clear audio, video, well-prepared demos.

    The value of these webcasts is often overlooked – keep up the good work and more people will figure out just how usefel these are!

  2. I’ll second Ed’s requests and add the following in order of priority:

    1. Make the attendee experience less tortuous by allowing single sign-up for every series of webcasts live or on-demand rather than the current approach that requires the end user to spend up to an hour to sign-up for such series as Harold Wong’s 24 Hours of Exchange. To feel the attendee pain yourself register for Keith Comb’s upcoming Window’s Compare series (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/compare/windows-server-comparison-screencasts-and-webcasts.mspx)  which is only six webcasts and see how much time you waste completing repetitive and unnecessary tasks.

    2. Give the attended the power to download the slide deck in .ppt, .pptx and .xps formats during and after the live webcast as well as in the .pdf format.

    3. Give the attendees the ability to download every recorded webcast in .wmv format rather than limit them to streaming. I can’t tell you the number of times I have started a streaming-only recorded webcast only to be interrupted and coming back to a machine that needs to be rebooted for one reason or another and thereby losing my place in the streaming webcast. At that point I refuse to run the registration gantlet again regardless of how compelling the content might have been.

    4. Make finding relevant webcasts easier. I’ll be at the SharePoint Conference in March. SharePoint webcasts are therefore a high priority for me right now so I look to http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/sharepointserver.aspx?tab=webcasts&id=42436 for webcasts to view. While the webcasts are broken out by category there is no guidance overall or within any category as to the sequence in an attendee should view the webcasts (except in those rare occasions when there is a series involved) in order to obtain the maximum learning experience. Much of the content in the webcasts I have viewed is duplicative of other webcasts I have viewed thereby reducing my overall learning. If the people who create the webcasts would begin with a plan that included how the content of any given webcast fit into the other previously recorded or planned webcasts on the given technology, they would cut down on content duplication, presenter and recording requirements and attendee frustration in sorting through an uncharted sea of content.

    5. Stop asking attendees what we want in webcasts until you can get someone to address the issues that have plagued the webcasts to date and have been brought to the attention of the Microsoft Webcasts, TechNet Webcasts, and the MSDN Webcasts respective teams via comments, posts, emails, and face to face meetings.

  3. Paul Begley says:

    The previous comments are right on the money.  I’ll repeat/restate and add some new thoughts.

    1. Make them easy to find.  I’m usually trying to aggregate webcasts for my use and publish to my team.  

    2. Make them available as an RSS/Podcast feed.  I use Feeddemon and Feedstation and it works like a charm for lots of audio feeds (NPR, etc).

    3. Extending the format comment above – how about a Zune feed (wmv would work)?  Lots of us are trying to leverage free time.  Waiting in airports and when I’m on my bicycle trainer (ok, maybe not the best time, but you get the point).

    4. I’m less interested in Q&A and you might consider breaking the videos into shorter topics.  I think this makes it easier on the presenter and it is easier to schedule three 30 minute webcasts than one 90 minute one…

    Hope this helps!


  4. Chris E. Avis says:

    This is all great feedback!   I am currently working to identify all of the stakeholders that can benefit from this feedback. I summarize the eedback and provide it to each as well as direct links to this entry so they can see the unedited comments.


  5. scottlum says:

    Hi Robert –

    Your feedback has not fallen of deaf ears. I’ve taken the reins from Dean and George and looking at many of the webcast issues you have expressed in the past. The most immediate project I’m working on is removing registration for the on-demand webcasts. This would make it much easier to view the recorded webcasts without going through all those pages.

    There are a number of other projects on our plate for the next few months: Adding RSS to product series landing pages, online media portal to aid discoverability for video, audio and hands-on Virtual Labs and aggregating content so it tells a more cohesive story: http://www.vistatestdrive.com.

    Paul – you can listen to the audio from many of our TechNet Webcasts on your MP3 player at http://www.microsoft.com/podcasts. We’re also looking at creating more audio-only Podcasts which would not have demos. We’re also looking at saving it into other formats such as MP4 for video podcasting.

    I’ll provide updates to our progress on my blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/msdnwebcasts/

    Scott Lum

  6. Anonymous says:

    First….a big thank you to everyone who posted comments …including the most recent comment by Scott

  7. Mike Brown says:

    1. Make it easier to locate desired topics.

    2. Energetic and knowledgeable presenters.

    3. A more portable download format, for example wmv playable on a Zune would be great!

    Thanks! Keep up the great work!

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