Issue 25

Can Live Streaming Save the Events Business?

Arosh Fernando runs Woohah Productions, an AV events business in Melbourne. When Covid struck, like every other events company, Woohah was looking down the barrel of oblivion..


10 August 2020

During the initial Covid limbo period before Jobkeeper of the lockdown struck, the crew set up a hangout area in the warehouse to relax, play Xbox and to debrief. That same chillout area — with big LED screens, audio and lighting — served as the basis of a live streaming studio for an event the following week, when a client had run out of options.

The newly minted Studio 45 has been running at near capacity since. Arosh explains:

Arosh: The inaugural Studio 45 event was something called the Arnold Sports Classic. Normally, 50,000 people attend over a weekend to see all types of, what I might call second- or third-tier sports. For example, we staged a body building contest. At one point we had hundred bodybuilders outside our warehouse. My neighbours thought I was going crazy.

AV: Tell us about the streaming side of the Studio 45 proposition.

Arosh: Studio 45 Live is a website with a full video backend served by Amazon AWS servers. We have tested having up to 5000 on the stream at once.

AV: Monetising virtual events is crucial to your success as a business as well as the promoters and producers.

Arosh: It’s all about selling tickets, we all know that. And for us, it is about the whole eco system: we’ve got the studio, which is very cool but what next? I was seeing a lot of people doing free stuff on on Facebook or YouTube, but it’s not going to make money. And if it’s not making money, it’s not sustainable.

AV: What are your clients willing to pay?

Arosh: It varies from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands. I don’t think anyone will see one hundred thousand dollar events at the moment, just given the COVID times. Like a lot of businesses we’re using, what I call, a Covid pricing structure. The low point might be around 10% of what we would normally charge and often it’s less than half of what we might charge.

AV: Are the punters happy to pay?

Arosh: People seem to be happy to pay and they’re often very grateful. The first event was a great experience, given it was a total punt for us.

AV: How have you been tweaking the offering?

Arosh: Mainly tweaking with the engagement piece. Unlike a live event where it’s all about the live interactive experience, in a virtual event you need to make that happen.

AV: What was one of those things?

Arosh: It might be a VIP ticket or a backstage pass, that gives you a different experience. Pay a little extra and you can engage in Q&A or ‘be there’ by having video of you on the back LED wall. It’s about thinking creatively.

See the full interview here


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Issue 25