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Why an Invitation-Only Conference Decided to Offer a Free Live Stream

Find out how viewers from more than 40 countries tuned in to watch and share sessions from Fashion Tech Forum.

The live stream included links to each speaker's Twitter and Instagram accounts and to videos of sessions that had already occurred. Viewers could also see a moderated feed of tweets and photos using the event hashtag and access a link to embed the stream on another website or blog.
The live stream included links to each speaker's Twitter and Instagram accounts and to videos of sessions that had already occurred. Viewers could also see a moderated feed of tweets and photos using the event hashtag and access a link to embed the stream on another website or blog.
Photo: Courtesy of Fashion Tech Forum

Fashion Tech Forum convened 750 executives from the worlds of fashion, retail, technology, and investment on June 11 at Spring Studios in New York. The invitation-only conference, launched in 2014 by Karen Harvey Consulting Group, is intended to facilitate collaboration among these industries. While executives spent the day networking and listening to speakers from Coach, Google, Levi’s, and more, hundreds of people from around the world also watched and shared some of the sessions in a live stream produced by B Live.

“Knowing that there’s only 750 who can come to our conference, we felt like it’s important that we share the content that’s happening there. You can’t have the reach that you want to have by just having events that no one has access to or content that no one can read or experience,” says Tara Jepson, president of Fashion Tech Forum.

Jepson says viewers watched from 49 different countries, and shortly after the conference ended she received emails from viewers in Russia and Korea who now want to explore partnerships. In addition to watching the sessions in real time, the streaming platform also provided instant access to videos of each session shortly after they finished and an option for viewers to embed either the entire stream or individual sessions on their own platforms.

“That’s what we encourage. Instead of asking people to come to one site, it’s about influencers sharing the experience on their blogs and their social channels,” says Russell Quy, founder and president of B Live. "Our hope is the live-stream aspect helps market their event and helps grow their business by exposing more people to the great content.”

Quy says initial data indicates at least 40 unique URLs embedded some portion of the stream. The on-screen display also included links to the Twitter and Instagram account of each speaker, so viewers could simply click to follow that person. On the right side of the screen, viewers could choose to display B Live’s “social widget,” which allowed them to post a tweet directly from the site and also to see a live feed of tweets and Instagram photos using the event hashtag.

Conference registration was $950, while the live stream, which only offered a portion of the content, was free.

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