John McCarthy of The Drum explores how Reuters quickly converted to virtual events.
McCarthy reports, “Reuters Events’ ‘virtualisation project’ was in the works before the pandemic, aiming to add value and international audiences to B2B events across verticals such as energy, pharma, insurance, sustainability and automotive. This side project was accelerated and became the backbone of the business, at least in the short-term.
“‘Turning a physical event into a virtual event is a challenge – with timings and expectations aligned to a ‘normal’ physical event, the conversion to virtual meant realigning agendas, speaker and sponsor expectations, as well as delivery of the event happening via many separate home offices rather than from a studio.’
“From an audience perspective, attendance purpose is different online. Reuters observed that the attendee’s primary objective was to learn. This puts an even bigger focus on quality content, audience participation, strong moderation and a suitable setting of expectations.
“‘We were building the platform and learning as we went along, which presented challenges, but should get easier as we begin to scale up for future events. There was no precedent or past examples to demonstrate what a ‘virtual event’ would look like.’
“Latimer said: ‘Attention spans online are undeniably shorter than in person, resulting in the need for a faster-paced programme.'”
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