Streaming, webcast, on-demand – What Are The Differences?

With the recent Covid-19 pandemic we have all had to change the way we do things and find new methods, such as streaming. Online content is nothing new but we have seen a huge increase in the demand for online and livestreamed services to enable people to still get involved even if they can’t physically be there. As we continue to discover what the new normal is, our reliance on these kind of services is only increasing.

There are a few different terms for streaming. It can get confusing knowing what’s what at times. Here is a breakdown of some more common things you may hear:


Streaming, simply put, is a way of transmitting data over a network. Anything you watch over the internet that you don’t download first is being streamed. Think of how Netflix works – You decide what you want to watch, click play, and watch it straight away. If you haven’t had to wait for the entire thing to download first then the content is being streamed.

Live streaming

Live streaming is streaming of live content. This is the crux of what we provide and is the online version of a live TV broadcast. If you watch something over the internet that is happening right now then it is being live streamed.


On demand is when you stream something that has been pre-recorded, at the time of your choosing. This is how Netflix and YouTube work – You decide what you want to watch and when you want to watch it. As part of the services we provide, we will ensure that you are always able to view the stream after the live stream has ended.


A webcast is a stream of either live or pre-recorded media. This is similar to traditional broadcasting – a live feed or recording is played from a single source and made available to many different people at once. Essentially, this is a term for live streaming something that might not necessarily be live. It differs from on demand content in that even if the source is recorded, it is only watchable at the specific time it is made available.

As you see, there are a few different terms for things that are functionally the same. The only real difference is whether the content is live, recorded, or watchable at any time.