Are Hybrid Events The Future?
What is a "hybrid event"? Are they the future of Zoom magic shows? Let's find out via insights from the exclusive "Future of Magic" survey conducted ahead of the "Connected: Live" Zoom magic conference. Spoiler: virtual magic is not dead.
After examining our shifting thoughts on virtual magic shows over the past year and the cost of virtual events, it's time to start looking toward the future. Zoom magic shows and other online events have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for real time entertainment to reach global online audiences. So, will virtual and hybrid shows (performing both in person and virtually) be the future of events?
It's important to note that our "Future of Virtual Magic" survey was conducted in mid-February 2021 when much of the world was still in lockdown. So, it’s not very surprising that approximately 58% of magicians claimed that "none of their shows" were currently “in-person ”. However, a significant number (22%), are performing at least “a few shows in-person”. Of those performing “in-person” shows, only 8% are using virtual elements (e.g. an in-person show for VIP guests with an accompanying livestream where virtual attendees participated from home).
This number is likely to grow in the coming months as 57% of respondents said they would consider conducting a hybrid show in the future. Just under 50% of magicians would also consider building a mobile studio that allows them to perform for a virtual audience on-the-go while traveling for in-person shows or other events (something a little over 20 of our respondents have already done).
While hybrid shows seem to be a perfect middle ground between virtual meetings and face to face meetings, they also have additional costs and logistics. And, as a recent PCMA study of the meeting & event industry found, event planners who are budgeting for a hybrid event are finding the costs more difficult to justify. 44% said it was their top challenge in January 2021 compared to 37% in December 2020.
One planner was quoted saying:
“The issue is trying to design hybrid events that are not ‘double the expense and effort’. Otherwise, live events won’t happen until the pandemic is over and digital will be a piece of the live event, but not the same production quality and effort of an all-digital event. Unless vendors can come up with a way to make that affordable, the large in-person meetings will continue to languish as it’s not commercially feasible to do both well right now.”
With this in mind, it seems that magicians who can offer an all-in-one hybrid solution that provides premium event content while reducing the burden for event planners from both a planning and financial standpoint will put themselves in the best position for success with hybrid event productions.