live webinar vs recorded webinar

Live Webinars vs Recorded Webinars

Both live and recorded webinars have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. There is thus much to consider when comparing these useful means of sharing information. You can choose between them or combine the two.
Formed by an amalgamation of the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’, a ‘webinar’ is essentially a virtual event aimed at sending across a message or providing information to exclusively online attendees. In the online age of covid, webinars have become an active part of almost everyone’s lives; be it working professionals or students, there is a tremendous amount of information that is shared with the target audience through these online seminars.
Given the popularity that this method of sharing information has gained, it is important for us to know the basics of webinars – the different types of webinars, when to use them and so on. To understand this better let us examine a few insights into webinars.

Types of webinars
Webinars are usually content- or information-intensive, they are used for multiple reasons like broadcasting information related to an upcoming product, sharing information regarding admissions into an institution and much more. Depending on the content to be delivered to the audience, webinars are broadly of two types:

1)   Live webinars – Live webinars are online seminars that take place in real time. They are helpful in online course selling.
2)   Recorded Webinars – Recorded webinars on the other hand are pre-recorded before the event is scheduled and usually played in the form of a video at the time of the event.
To find out the utility of both, the basic differences between live and recorded webinars have been discussed below.

Live and Recorded webinars – what’s the basic difference?

What primarily makes live webinars so different from pre-recorded webinars is the fact that while live webinars take place in real-time and have a unique, one-time result, pre-recorded webinars (also called on-demand webinars) are recorded in the form of a video before the event and can be re-played several times as per the requirement.
Live webinars prioritize the host; their outcome is majorly determined by the way the host chooses to deliver the information before the targeted audience. On the other hand, recorded webinars bring the attendees under limelight; the objective of the webinar is fulfilled depending on the responsiveness and the engagement of the viewers.
Since the success of a live webinar is determined by the content-delivery of the host, the host has a lot of freedom to engage with the viewers and keep them interested in whatever manner possible. But this also opens up room for error by the host, besides technological and connectivity issues. As opposed to live webinars, pre-recorded webinars allow the host to play with the minds of the audience by enabling them to show any content as and when they wish. This tremendously reduces the pressure on the host, which may also reduce performance anxiety and thus, errors.

Pros of a Live webinar

1)   Enables the host to make emotional connections with the attendees – The “real-time” factor of the webinar allows the building of emotions. Connecting with the audience via interaction, stories and tactics goes a really long way. Moreover, if you’re blessed with the ‘gift of the gab’, even an error turned into a witty joke helps build an emotional connection as you come across to viewers as an authentic human being.
2)   Questions and Answers – By tailoring your questions and answers according to the interests of the attendees, grasping viewer attention becomes much simpler.
3)   Take less time to produce – Since live webinars are not pre-recorded, not much time and effort are required for their pre-requisites, thereby making it less time-consuming to produce.

Pros of a recorded webinar

1)   Re-recordings – Made an error or weren’t satisfied with your delivery? No worries! Pre-recorded webinars work in your favour by allowing you to re-record or edit the parts you don’t deem fine.
2)   Less Performance anxiety – Speaking in front of a live audience runs a shiver down your spine? Recorded webinars are the perfect solution for you. With no live audience, say bye-bye to performance anxiety!
3)   Post – production enhancements – The video content can be edited however you like. Perhaps you wish to enhance the presentation with unique effects. Pre-recorded webinars may appear more professional than a live version if you are experienced in post-production (or if you employ a post-production crew).

The third way out

You have already seen the pros and cons of both live as well as recorded webinars. While most webinars are either live or recorded, you need not necessarily choose between them. You can always mix and match and get the best of both worlds by combining them!


You are now aware of the distinctions between live and pre-recorded webinars, when to use each and their pros and cons. In order to ensure that your message correctly reached the intended audience, choosing the right type of webinar goes a long way in deciding, so make sure that the next time you initiate a webinar you put this information to use and make the most of it. Carefully weighing the intended objective(s) of the webinar and ideating what you as an attendee would want from the webinar will certainly help you reach your decision faster!

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