Webcasting is a broadcasting method that is nearly identical to TV broadcasting, only it is done online and there are different licenses involved. A webcaster is any person or entity that participates in webcasting, and a webcaster can be an established company or a single person. The most common type of webcaster is a musician or band, while the other common types are business people and commercial presentations. Webconferencing is similar to webcasting, but they are not considered the same because the former is many people broadcasting to many people, while webcasting is one entity broadcasting to many.
In America, a webcaster is legally known as an entity or person who obtained a webcasting license section 112 or 114 from the U.S. Copyright Office, makes nonsubscription transmissions, and creates ephemeral webcasts. The license needed for webcasting costs a fee and outlines guidelines for what can, and cannot, be done on a webcast. The ephemeral recording section means the webcast is done for a temporary time, just as a TV broadcast. Other regions may have other licenses involved for legal webcasting.
Video social media websites, where users record and post videos of themselves or commercial entities may upload episodes of shows or music videos, are not considered webcasts. While a user is similar to a webcaster, there are three main differences between these users and a webcaster. First, the recording is saved on a server for a prolonged amount of time, which goes against the ephemeral recording definition. The users also are not licensed for webcasting, and webcasts are recorded or broadcast live.
Webcasts are all live recordings. This means the webcasters are recorded live, without editing or cuts. The recording may be streamed as it is going on, or it may be webcasted later, but still in live fashion.
There are two main sectors that perform webcasting: entertainment and commercial. On the entertainment side, musicians and other types of entertainers such as comedians and actors may perform on a live webcast. The other sector, the commercial sector, is typically done for business and investor relations webcasting, so people do not have to travel far to hear what is going on with a company.
Webconferencing is a technique that has been used by business people so various groups can talk to one another from a distance; while similar to webcasting, it is not the same. One difference is the intent. Webcasting is broadcast to other computers so the other members can watch, and participation is not always part of the broadcast. Webconferencing is not for watching, but so each member can speak and participate in a conference over the Internet. The other reason is the flow of the video, because webcasting is one entity to many, whereas webconferencing is many people participating with many people.