While thousands of business-event professionals attended PCMA Convening Leaders
2017 in person at the Austin Convention Center in January, an impressive number also
participated in Convening Leaders LIVE, the
online program produced by PCMA’s Digital Experience Institute (DEI) with partners
INXPO, Freeman, and Sonic Foundry. More
than 1,400 people from 24 countries logged
on — a 6-percent increase from Convening
Leaders 2016 — with 46 percent of them
spending more than six hours online.
Brought to you by Meetings + Conventions Calgary, Convening Leaders LIVE
included broadcasts of featured speakers
and breakout sessions; dozens of interviews
in DEI’s Mash-Up Studio, brought to viewers
by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors
Bureau and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial
Convention Center; a rebroadcast timed for
the Asia-Paci;ic region; and, each day, virtual
co;ee breaks and happy hours. A few weeks
after the program, DEI Executive Director
Jennifer Kingen Kush, DES, discussed its challenges, successes, and continuing evolution.
What were the biggest challenges with
Convening Leaders LIVE 2017?
We did have a technical glitch during the
general session on Tuesday — Jeremy Ri;kin
— where the packets, when we were doing the
encoding, weren’t leaving the center properly.
We were experiencing bu;ering. This was our
biggest technical challenge this year. We had
a backup plan. We were Facebook Live–ing
this session, so we directed people that if
they wanted to continue immediately, they
could go to Facebook Live. We shared an on-demand version immediately to everybody
that was in that session, and then we also
included it in the rebroadcast. We always test,
test, and test again, but that was just something that was beyond our control.
One other thing was, this year there
was a lot more white space built into the
face-to-face, which gave us bigger breaks in
between the sessions. We saw it as an oppor-
tunity to increase our Mash-Up Studio pro-
gramming. We actually did 58 interviews this
year. It’s like live TV. Most of them were ;ive-
minute interviews, usually with VIPs, PCMA
leadership, key speakers. Their schedules are
always very tight and sometimes can be hard
to get there on time. We had to punt a little
bit. We had to ;lip a couple of the interviews
around. We prepared for this, so we were able
to do that.
How did the physical space for the
Mash-Up Studio at the convention
center work out?
We were in a highly visible location, which is
great because it gave the scene of the action
happening behind us. It was a big artery for
where people were coming through, going
from the Main Stage to lunch and all the
di;erent sessions. We design it to be trans-
parent, because we want it to be a learning
moment both for those that are online and
those that are in attendance, so that they can
come and watch. We have learning moments
posted around the studio, so that [in-person
attendees] can see what the online experi-
ence was. The location worked out great. We
were close to windows, so we had some extra
natural light, which is always a plus.
How has Convening Leaders LIVE
evolved over the years?
The ;irst year it was really focused on the
technical, and we just livestreamed six ses-
sions and that was it. Every year as we go on,
we truly develop a unique program for the
online audience. Engagement has probably
been the biggest focus that we keep looking
at — how we can keep extending that and
evolving that and changing that each year. .
See and Be Seen
The Mash-Up Studio
occupied a prime
location in the Austin
Convention Center — in
the nexus of tra;ic.
Big Screen Convening
could see interviews in
progress and how they
appeared to the online
16 PCMA CONVENE MARCH 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
The Digital Experience Institute o;ered live coverage of PCMA Convening Leaders 2017
to a far-;ung remote audience.
ON THE WEB
For information about
Digital Event Strategist
educational opportunities and resources, and
more, visit PCMA’s Digital Experience Institute