The measure of a quality hybrid event is the amount of value and detail put into reaching each type of attendee, so no experience feels secondary to the other. A hybrid experience should not feel like an onsite event that is simply live streamed. Both the onsite and virtual audiences should feel seen, supported and valued.
The first thing you should know about executing a successful hybrid experience is that you will need two highly skilled teams; a broadcast media operations team for virtual, and an experiential ground operations team for in-person. These teams must act like two sides of the same coin, in sync and with an understanding of how a model of a hybrid production functions.
As technology innovates, and as we adapt further to cautiously working around COVID-19, we predict that hybrid events will only grow throughout 2022.
Apple has always live streamed their product launch events on their own Events website and the Events app on the Apple TV. The grandeur and level of detail that go into both the onsite and online experiences are reminiscent of the original hybrid events, TEDTalks.
In 2019, for the first time Apple also did a YouTube live stream of their ‘September Event 2019’ and within just 10 minutes there were over 500,000 viewers, and 1.875 million viewers at the live stream's peak.
STMicroelectronics is the leading international electronics and semiconductors manufacturer. Their Developers Conference was a two-day virtual summit to explore industry trends, the latest technical discussions, fireside chats with industry leaders, and an array of video product demonstrations.
The event was produced onsite and broadcast live from a studio, with the speakers, talent and Happily specialists physically in one location. The entire audience, however, was online. This is an example of a hybrid production, that consists of a live event with a virtual only audience.
This event was produced by Happily, so you can read more about it in our case study.
TwitchCon is a multi-day onsite convention for Twitch, a live streaming video platform. In general, the event serves as an opportunity for Twitch streamers, fans and community to gather, celebrate and network in real life… or IRL, as they say.
As Twitch itself is an online streaming platform for virtual communities, it makes complete sense that TwitchCon is a hybrid experience. Unlike most onsite events or summits that turn hybrid, TwitchCon is a community that first lived in the virtual space, and was then brought into a real world environment.
Gaming has always been ahead in the digital world, and so online engagement, virtual community building, and crafting virtual experiences is something Twitch and their audience were comfortable with before most non-gamers were.
The event program is (mostly) broadcast live through Twitch, and streamers are encouraged to co-stream with the event.
The Players Technology Summit is an exclusive gathering of world-class athletes, entrepreneurs and investors, presented by Bloomberg. It is a place for some of the most celebrated athletes and business leaders to share their success stories and pass on the lessons they’ve learned, as well as discuss the latest in emerging trends in consumer technology.
This is an example of a more straightforward hybrid experience. As the video shows, even though the quality of the live broadcast stream may not be up there with Apple’s budget, it is still dynamic enough and with clear audio, to create an engaging experience for the virtual audience.
Also worth noting are the opening welcome remarks by the host and efforts to make the virtual audience feel present, as well as prompts to have the onsite audience engage with the virtual audience via Twitter.
The London EV Show is a trade show centred around electric cars and vehicles. The event creates a platform for companies in the electric vehicle industry to showcase their latest products, services and innovations.
This trade show was explicitly promoted as a hybrid event, with an in-person expo and conference taking place in London, with virtual attendees able to network, exhibit, sponsor or participate through a custom virtual platform.
The video below is a basic vlog from the host of the conference, but it gives a good overview of the behind-the-scenes, as he introduces various event staff and gives a glimpse into the production of a hybrid trade show.