The Future of the Online Events industry?
A product introspection over how do I see the online events market and the opportunities.
Disclaimer: opinions are my own not my employer
I've been working in the Online Events space for almost the entire year, on the engineering side as the Frontend Tech lead for my team at Eventbrite. I'm very excited about the online events space and want to share some thoughts and ideas on the opportunities that I see in the market. 💪
Opportunity 1: Immersive Virtual Online Events
Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite (one of the most popular videogames), has hosted unique Immersive Virtual experiences. The event is fully digital: the stage, characters, and even the artists! They have hosted music concerts with my fav top stars like Mashmello, Diplo, or Travis Scott.
Travis Scott (an American rapper) has been the most significant concert to date, with more than 12.3 million concurrent players in-game according to The Verge, and more than 93 million views on YouTube. The experience used crazy visuals and was surreal. Can you imagine a VR experience like this from your home and with friends? 🤯🚀
Gathering millions of people online as Fortnite did comes with enormous scalability challenges, but once you solve them, your market gets bigger than ever since you don't have any geographical frontiers. The premise of the internet "a world-wide broadcasting capability" is more real than ever.
Your market gets bigger than ever since you don't have any geographical frontiers
I recently attended a concert from the producer Slushii. I loved that it allowed me to bring my self by customizing my character (clothes, style, etc.), chat with my friends through the in-game audio chat, and even meet new random people. We need more events like this!
Opportunity 2: Hybrid Virtual Reality Online Events
Another trend I've seen is Hybrid Virtual Reality events. It combines real human(s) with a virtual stage. It's the best of both worlds (virtual and in-person) because there's a human talking (so you can empathize more) while giving us infinite creative options for designing virtual worlds.
Snapchat (a company I'm a small investor myself) has executed these hybrid virtual events well. This year they hosted their Snapchat Partner summit 2020. The video production was superb, and the breakout sessions were very engaging 👏 (Pts... I'd love to meet the team who did it! :P)
In any case, I can see other companies getting into this space by leveraging "Hybrid Virtual Reality" events for announcing new products. The audience interaction opportunities are infinite (e.g.: Running a pool and visualizing the results in real-time within the virtual world, etc.).
Opportunity 3: Online Events (aka Video Calls with Steroids)
It's the latest trend that has become more popular since the beginning of COVID, where you translate the in-person experience to the online world. The number one in the market for me is Zoom, following by other startups and companies who are trying to lead the space (Hopin, Crowdcast, Google with Fundo, Airmeet, Facebook or Topia ~ my favorite)
I've been trying many online events platforms. All of them offer (most of the time) a great video experience. However, I still miss a lot more engaging virtual experiences that mirror in-person events.
I've observed two problems in the online events market right now:
🔍 Fragmented discoverability: Too many online events solutions and most of them are trying to build their marketplace of events. It's hard to know where to find the coolest events taking place now or in the upcoming months.
🎯 Lack of focus: When building online events solutions, there are two main problems to solve. One is ticketing (how do you charge and control the access to the event), and the other one is the video experience itself. Most of the Online Events companies I've checked are trying to solve both problems, which could lead them into being mediocre in both spaces.
I'd love to see more partnerships of those video platforms with ticketing platforms, such as Eventbrite. I work at Eventbrite and, in my opinion, is the number one self-service ticketing platform. From small creators to bigger ones (payments, reporting, scalability, reliability, marketing).
I'd love to see deeper integrations in the market to create a stable ecosystem where ticketing platforms join forces with those video solutions tools. As an example, the successfull integration of Eventbrite with Zoom. It's is my bet!
I hope this post gives you some food for thought. If you are excited about the online events space, reach out! [email protected]