Digital events hold a promising key for event organizers: the ability to connect with audiences that cannot travel to a face-to-face event. However, establishing that connection requires more than the right streaming platform and an appropriate amount of bandwidth. As live-video consumption increases, event organizers must navigate the rough terrain of government rules and regulations.
“Digital events have very different faces in China and Europe,” Wei-Tyng Tsai, senior event manager at Berlin-based Freaks 4U Gaming GmbH, told PCMA. “More digital events are blooming in both landscapes, but they are facing political challenge and regulation restrictions respectively, which lead them in opposite ways. In China, the government is trying to form a centralized data center to control more event stakeholders. In Europe, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is taking more data privacy restrictions into accounts. This will be heavily influencing how stakeholders organize digital events.”
The challenges of live-streaming in China and the upcoming issues posed by the GDPR aren’t the only concerns on the minds of event organizers. In the U.S., they must navigate legal hurdles such as compliance with intellectual property rights laws. Sponsorship disclosure also presents issues. “If you’re doing a sponsored live stream, disclosure needs to be made,” Sara F. Hawkins, a business and intellectual property attorney, wrote in a blog post on legal challenges of live-streaming. “Exactly how is not explicitly known. Like much of social media, the logistics of FTC disclosure is a bit hit and miss. Ultimately, though, you’re responsible for making sure viewers know that what they’re watching is some type of paid content.”
Big Opportunities Ahead
Despite the additional hurdles that organizers must climb in the digital landscape, Tsai looks forward to a bright future of online engagement. “More than ever before,” Tsai said, “organizations have possibilities to talk directly and in a more efficient way to the audience.”
Tsai has been leveraging those possibilities to help her clients connect with gaming and eSports enthusiasts — an audience that continues to grow. “More big traditional sports names are stepping into eSports,” Tsai said. “The primary eSports streaming platform, Twitch, is streaming NFL and NBA games, showcasing the huge potential fan-base merge between traditional sports and eSports.”
Tsai recently completed her DES certification, thanks to a scholarship provided by Meetings + Conventions Calgary, to help advance her knowledge as she organizes events for brands eager to connect with the eSports community. While she will apply insights from the DES program to gaming, she offered guiding principles for every organizer in every region of the world. “For any business event, it is becoming more important to engage audiences in a customized way,” Tsai said. “Knowing their communication preferences and speaking their languages are critical factors to drive long-term engagement and eventually increase event audiences.”
Interested in more insights from Tsai? Click here to watch a session from Convening Leaders with tips on how to apply the eSports model to your next digital event. Then, apply for a scholarship to the new DES Bootcamp program to pursue your DES certification. Applications are due March 30.