Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Webcast and Podcast

Long gone are the days when radio was the only social medium and organizations and companies used to offer services via radio. Over its long history, the nature of radio consumption has changed dramatically. Most of the nineteenth-century experiments focused on the direct communication, and it wasn’t until the early twentieth-century that the notion of broadcasting became widespread. Radio has one primary purpose that is to attract and keep an audience at bay. But the increasing demands of rich content have changed the notion of radio broadcasting. The technological evolution has forced the radio audiences to shift to Internet models, allowing the broadcasters to bring the content to the online space.

This is where webcasts and podcasts come to the picture. The similarity in their names – webcast and podcast – makes it easy to confuse between the two broadcasting mediums. Although, both are forms of radio broadcasting for over-the-air and Internet distribution, they are quite different in how they deliver the content and for what purpose. Both the concepts may appear same considering their names, but they are not. Let’s take a look at the two mediums to better understand which one is better or what makes one better than the other.


What is Webcast?

Webcast is a form of digital media distributed over the Internet using media streaming technology and presented to a large number of audience or web viewers, much like traditional radio and television broadcasts. It is a specialized application of streaming media technology which allows real time delivery of media presentations across a network. Creating streaming media is typically a four-step process: production, encoding, authoring and distribution. These steps are to be followed thoroughly and sequentially, when creating streaming media files. However, in case of webcasting, everything happens at the same time. This means you have to do four steps at once simultaneously. Webcasts are relatively expensive to produce because of the additional equipment and crew required. Webcasting simply combines the power of a multimedia PC with the power of Internet to extend the concept of broadcasting into a whole new territory.


What is Podcast?

Podcast is a new, emerging form of audio broadcasting and a portable and downloadable version of a webcast delivered as a series of digital media files, mostly audio, and often downloaded through web syndication. It is a new audio media revolution that has something to offer to mainly two types of audiences: the popular and the scholarly. In simple terms, a podcast is a radio show delivered via the Internet. It is mainly audio recording made to be downloaded into and viewed on different mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players. Podcasting represents a great opportunity for a new generation to discover and invent audio experiences in their own diverse ways. And the best part, you can create and record your own podcast with nothing more than a microphone and a few free software applications.


Difference between Webcast and Podcast


– Webcast is a form of digital media distributed over the Internet using media streaming technology to deliver content and presented to a large number of audience or web viewers, much like traditional radio and television broadcasts. A podcast is more like a portable, downloadable version of a webcast delivered as a series of digital media files (mostly audio) and often downloaded through web syndication. A podcast is like a radio show transmitted across the Internet as a series of episodes.


– The main difference between a webcast and a podcast is the broadcasting medium. A webcast is basically a digital media presentation broadcasted over the Internet using online streaming where participants can not only watch the presentation but also engage with other participants or actively send questions to the speaker, similar to face-to-face meetings. A podcast, on the other hand, is also a form of digital delivered via the Internet but with no live-streaming. Webcasts also includes the tools for engagement to facilitate interaction with the participants.


– Both podcasts and webcasts can be listened or watched respectively online or used to broadcast delay audio and video transmissions, much like radio and television broadcasts. However, the difference lies in how the content is distributed. While podcasts are downloadable content which can be downloaded directly onto your media devices for viewing later, regardless of an active internet connection. Webcasts, on the other hand, use online streaming to distribute content over the web, so an active internet is required. Webcasts can only be watched if you have an active internet connection, while podcasts can be listened or viewed offline.

Webcast vs. Podcast: Comparison Chart


Summary of Webcast vs. Podcast

Well, webcasts and podcasts are somehow similar in how the content is created, but they differ in how the content is being distributed across the network. While podcasts are typically audio recordings made to be viewed on different mobile devices, webcasts are a specialized form of digital media distributed over the Internet using online media streaming. Podcasts are downloadable content which can be accessed offline for later viewing, whereas webcasts can only be watched if you have an active internet connection. That being said, if you wish to offer some sort of educational tutorials or speak on a specific topic of interest, then podcasts are for you. If you want to broadcast live events or engage in some active conference, then webcasts are your thing.


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References :

[0]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2017/08/19/19/02/podcast-2659526_960_720.png

[1]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NicoNico_Taiwan_Live_Webcast_at_Project_Diva-11.jpg

[2]Lillard, Kenneth. Social Media and Ministry Sharing the Gospel in the Digital Age. Morrisville, North Carolina: Lulu Press, 2010. Print

[3]Southerton, Dale. Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 2011. Print

[4]Mack, Steve and Dan Rayburn. Hands-on Guide to Webcasting: Internet Event and AV Production. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print

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