Webcasting the AGM

The Chairman has asked: “Should we look at webcasting this year’s AGM in order to facilitate viewing by shareholders / analysts / employees in other regions and allowing shareholders to ask questions as I am a bit concerned at the lack of attendance last year?”

Yes, webcasting is available through a number of providers, details of which are shown on the list separately provided.

What is Webcasting

By way of background, a webcast is a presentation broadcast/transmitted over the internet to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand (at a later time).

The largest “webcasters” include existing radio and TV stations, who “simulcast” their output, as well as a multitude of internet only “stations”. The term webcasting usually refers to non-interactive linear streams or events – whereas “web conferencing” is designed for many-to-many interaction. Rights and licensing bodies may offer specific “webcasting licences” to those wishing to carry out Internet broadcasting using copyrighted material.

Webcasting is also used extensively in the commercial sector for investor relations presentations (such as Annual General Meetings), in e-learning (to transmit seminars), and for various other purposes.

The ability to webcast using cheap/accessible technology has allowed independent specialist media to flourish.

Webcaster’s Mission A webcaster’s mission is to get the message out quickly, effectively and reliably. They typically offer an “end-to-end” service to broadcast an AGM, seminar, training session, conference or product launch.

Some provide video and audio live streaming technology – and broadcast video and audio live or on demand to reach more people in Australia and around the globe. Some also offer interactive solutions to make it possible for viewers to participate by commenting and asking questions in real time.

Streaming Solutions

A webcaster can provide complete live streaming solutions for:

  • Live streaming webcasts – with the option of a synchronised PowerPoint presentation
  • On-demand webcasts – to view anytime after the event
  • Podcasting – to listen on iPods or other MP3 players
  • Pay-per-view events
  • Pay-per-subscription events
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM – to protect video footage and its content against hijacking)

Webcasters consider their service starts when the client begins planning their event. They consider the ‘big picture’, looking at the type of event, venue and the audience, to create a ‘stress-free’ webcasting solution that best suits the client’s needs.

Advantages of Live Webcasting

  • information is real time and available on demand 24/7
  • message to the recipient is virtually the same as personal contact
  • time and place plays no role
  • time- and cost-efficient management
  • interference-free, clear communication
  • sustainable business practices
  • innovative & modern method of communication.

Advices to Shareholders

Should the Board agree to proceed with webcasting this year’s AGM, I propose that in the letter going to shareholders with the Notice of Meeting and Proxy Form we include a paragraph along the lines of:

For shareholders who are unable to attend in person, we will also be ‘webcasting’ the AGM this year – for the first time – so shareholders can see the Chairman’s address and follow the events and voting on the resolutions as they unfold. Just log on to our website at www.yourcompany.com.au and press the Join the AGM button to be part of this year’s shareholders’ meeting.

*Originally written by Company Secretary, an Australian virtual company secretary service.

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