All You Need To Know About Webcasting
Why webcasting is a simple and effective way of communicating and engaging with investors
Webcasting is one of the most cost-effective and engaging ways to communicate your financial information. This article provides an overview of how companies benefit from webcasting.
What is a webcast and why are they increasingly relevant post-MiFID II?
Increasing visibility has become ever more important for IROs in Europe over the last couple of years, especially for small and mid-cap companies. This is partly due to MiFID II which requires fund and asset managers as well as other investment companies to separate expenses for services related to the trading of securities from expenses for other securities-related services. Consequences of this have included less research coverage for small and mid-cap companies as well as less corporate access.
Companies are therefore increasingly seeking to target and engage with investors themselves with proactive strategies and are looking at different digital distribution channels such as webcasting to ensure their message and investment case is communicated to the market.
There are two types of webcast:
- Audio webcast – This is essentially an audio broadcast with presentation slides to audiences of any size over the internet. Just like at any other live event participants have the opportunity to ask questions via the webcast Q&A facility or conference call. It is simple to set up and allows the audience to either participate live or listen to a recording following the event.
- Video webcast – This is a livestreamed video broadcast with visual aids such as presentation slides and a Q&A facility. A video webcast can have a more personal feel when addressing investors. Like an audio webcast, there is the option to record the event and make it available later on-demand.
Webcasting can also enhance your in-person event as it offers participants the option of joining online or in person (this is known as a hybrid event). This has become increasingly popular with AGMs and results presentations. For AGMs, many countries are updating their regulations so that AGMs can take place exclusively online or as a hybrid event. These webcasts need to meet stringent requirements, usually including the provision of online voting and secure entry approval for participants.
When are webcasts used?
Webcasting is an effective way of reaching a broader audience, providing engagement and access to information from anywhere in the world. They are an effective way of communicating with the external financial community, and can be used for a variety of events including:
- Analyst conferences
- Virtual roadshows
- Presentation of annual results
- Financial results press conferences
- Investor days
They can also be used for internal company events such as townhall meetings and can be adapted to suit companies and audiences of all sizes.
What are the technical requirements for webcasts?
For participant, all they need to join a webcast is an up-to-date browser and a reliable internet and telephone connection.
For companies, it’s about choosing the right webcasting platform. They should look for one which provides security safeguards, for example password-protected access, and that operates on HTML5 which means that participants do not need to download additional software. The platform should have a Q&A option to allow for maximum audience participation. For audio webcasting, it makes sense to choose a platform which uses a landline connection rather than Voice-over-IP for optimum sound quality and reliability. For video webcasting, a professional on-site video team should be provided to ensure the best set-up and quality.
Why communicate your financial results by webcast?
Webcasts offer numerous benefits to companies seeking to communicate financial information:
- Avoid time / cost of an in-person event: Organising in-person events is expensive and time-consuming for companies and attending an in-person event can be difficult for investors, particularly for those who are abroad. Webcasting allows companies to engage with a larger audience in a virtual setting while still offering participants the opportunity to ask questions and participate.
- Broader access: Following the live webcast, most companies make the recording available on their website which gives participants who couldn’t attend the live broadcast (international investors in different time zones, for example) the chance to watch / listen on demand. Simultaneous translation during the webcast can also make the event more accessible for foreign shareholders.
- Offer visual aids: Webcasts allow the audience to see visual aids, a clear advantage over a more traditional telephone conference. In the case of an audio webcast, this is usually presentation slides, or in the case of a video webcast a livestream of the presentation or speech.
- Analyse participation: Your provider should send you a list of the participants. Knowing who attended your event can shed light on the reach of your pre-event communications. You can also analyse how long investors stayed on the call, who asked questions, and what topics the questions were on. This can help with future communications and contacting certain investors to discuss topics on more depth.
Webcasts are an intelligent way to communicate and engage with investors at scale. They provide an opportunity for live interaction while avoiding the work and expense which goes into on-site conferences (this is not to say that conferences aren’t useful sometimes). International audiences are able to participate and the on-demand version widens access post-event. They are easy to set up and are suitable for any company or audience size. If you haven’t already, it is worth taking a look!