TalkPoint brings franchisees together in one place

TalkPoint offers both self-service and fully managed browser-based audio and video webcasting.

Specifications
TalkPoint offers both self-service and fully managed browser-based audio and video webcasting. Managed service webcasts include production management; custom designed event player and registration pages; presenter training; security set up; as well as email invitation, reminder, and confirmation distribution. Personalized assistance for elements such as Q&A, polls, slides, and registration is also included.

Cost
Fully managed video webcasts range from $4,000 to $6,000 per event.

Ownership
Privately held

User
Dean Peters, associate VP of communications at Dairy Queen, has been using fully managed video webcasting for about three years.

How do you use it?
We use it to host a webcast of our annual meeting with franchisees.

We broadcast the meeting using video and PowerPoint presentations from a studio at a local St. Paul TV station. TalkPoint coordinates everything with the production studio ahead of time. They also send a representative to help us direct and run the meetings.

We send electronic invitations to franchisees in 10 regions and ask them to pre-register, which gives them access to archived information.

TalkPoint sends us a link to the webcast that we give to attendees. No one else can access the link – it's very private.

Attendees log into a customized meeting room and the presentations go live at a set time. They see everything on their screens. It's literally that easy.

We call the help desk if there's a problem.

How does it serve your business needs?
Previously, we had to fly 175 franchisees into Minneapolis, and presentations took two days. By using TalkPoint, we've cut our budget by 65% to 75%, and that two-day meeting is now only to two and a half hours long.

From a time perspective, we're still accomplishing the same goals. And the money we're saving can be used to implement other programs.

Franchisees pushed back initially, but once we conducted our first webcast, they loved it. They can watch the webcast at regional in-person meetings. This gives them more time to discuss regional operations and marketing issues than they had when they came to Minneapolis.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from and IT standpoint?
Meeting attendees access it online, but they have to have a high bandwidth connection or it doesn't work as well.

What are the main benefits?
Cost and time savings.

Everything is set up for us at the studio.

It's forced us to boil down what is most essential to present to our franchisees because we can't conduct an eight-hour webcast.

It looks professional.

Franchisees can access archived presentations.

They do a nice job from a customer service standpoint. They almost held our hand through the initial process when we were making the decision to go this route. Once we made the decision, they met us at the studio and walked us through everything.

What are the main drawbacks?
Viewers need a hardwired T1 or T2 line for the webcast to work well.  At our regional locations, we've experienced times when the audio went down for some viewers or the screen went black for a minute or two. The content is being pushed out flawlessly from the studio – it's just problems can arise on the receiving end if viewers don't have high bandwidth.

Because presenters are presenting to camera rather than a live audience, you might not get as much energy out of them.

The production value is different from a live meeting – you don't have the stage and large screens or some of the glitz you can get with a live, in-person event.

What would you like to see added or improved?
Quick solves for any issues that might arise on the receiving end. When potential problems surface, attendees don't always know what to do or have immediate help other than calling the technical support line.

Competitors
On24: offers self-service webcasts and webinars as well as fully managed event services on a global scale.

Onstream Media: allows users to broadcast live or on-demand data, audio, and/or video transmissions online.

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