One thing that caught my attention about the marketing of TED2013, which was held last week in Long Beach, Calif., was the strong promotion of the event’s virtual attendance product, TED Live.
Hybrid events such as TED, which combine a “live” in-person event with an online participation option, are growing in popularity as they can provide a new revenue stream by enabling people who would not otherwise attend in person due to travel or budget issues, scheduling conflicts, etc., to attend virtually.
As virtual attendance offerings are still a relatively new area for most shows, strategies are still very fluid here, so it is especially beneficial to see what others are doing. This week I share with you a little about what TED is doing, and some thoughts to consider about other packaging and pricing options.
The organizers of TED offer one standard virtual attendance product. If you register for the TED Live annual membership, you get access to the live, unedited feed of the entire TED event plus another conference in June called TEDGlobal. Registration also enables you to view the content as much as you want after the event. Membership includes other benefits too, including social networking with the TED community.
TED charges $995 for the home user and primary or secondary school segments, and $2,500 for the college or university and small business segments. All options enable only one computer to access the webstream, though the number of seats allowed varies (either 10 or 50) depending on the purchaser segment. They also offer custom pricing for bulk users. As you consider TED Live’s pricing, note that the standard registration cost to attend TED2013 alone was $7,500, and the “live” event was sold out.
As you shape your event’s hybrid strategy, consider what TED is doing as well as these tactics…
1) Offering a specific slice of content, i.e., keynotes for free, and monetizing through sponsorship.
2) Packaging and pricing based on content, i.e., selling sessions a la carte.
3) Creating a combo option for people who attend the “live” event and buy the virtual product too.
4) Charging different fees depending on when people register for virtual attendance, i.e., before vs. after the event.
5) Using virtual content access as an added value to stimulate registration at the “live” event by certain target audiences, i.e., first-time attendees, international visitors, etc.
Cristopher Levy is managing partner of Encore Media Partners. Encore is an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency covering traditional, digital and mobile platforms, which specializes in local, national and global trade and consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences. Reach him at email@example.com.