The Future of Events is Hybrid – and it looks a lot like a live TV show

4 August, 2020

Business events are just one of the many things that have changed dramatically due to COVID-19. Uno Loco adjusted to lockdown by rapidly pivoting to deliver purely online virtual events. Today physical events are back. But despite this, the future of events is now hybrid. Physical + online is here to stay.

A recent hybrid event we produced for our friends at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is a great example of why this format works so well. It was the first in a series called “Digitally Speaking”, launched at Techweek2020. NZTE’s goal with this series is to help NZ businesses grow and innovate, particularly digitally.


Why did a hybrid event work for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise?

We asked David Downs, General Manager NZTE (and well-known author and speaker) to tell us why he thinks this works. David was also our MC / Moderator. The MC role is critical in a hybrid event to ensure the live audience and the online audience both feel engaged. David’s feedback:

Traditionally NZTE would have run events like this face to face. Or it may have been done online – but never really both. With a hybrid event you get three things:

  1. A live audience so you get immediate feedback and a reaction from them.
  2. You can scale your event to a large online audience – increasing your cost efficiencies.
  3. And because these events are filmed, and the format needs short digestible content (to keep your online audience engaged) you get great content capture. As a result
    you’ve got ready-made content which can be repurposed for other digital channels.


What’s different about a hybrid event?

More TV show, less business event. The NZTE event had strong live talent (including David Kirk, Chair of Trade Me, and former All Black captain), a gregarious host, a panel segment, a limited live audience, a big online audience, and strong broadcast infrastructure.

Tech infrastructure & expertise is critical. There are multiple points of tech failure – any of which could derail the guest experience. Understanding the platforms, how they interact, and having redundancy for when things go wrong are essential.

Event experience designed for physical, online and content. A Hybrid event can work well for a live, and online audience – but it needs to be specifically designed that way. For example, headline speaker David Kirk broke his talk about digital capability into 5 short ‘modules’. No one wants a 40-minute monologue online. The NZTE event also featured a panel, as well as polls and interactivity for the entire audience.

Bigger tech budget than F&B budget. The focus of hybrid events is a ‘show’ that works across platforms. This means working with partners who have the skills to deliver this and can make sure it actually works. The format and smaller audiences means you’ll definitely be making savings on F&B!


NZTE Digitally Speaking 2020


What stays the same for a hybrid event?

Many fundamentals of what makes a great event remain.

  • We all want real human connection – so we can’t simply flip everything to online.
  • Our audiences want an attractive hook to bring them along, and story telling that engages them.
  • And then the guest experience needs to involve them and give them a real payoff.

The world, and the world of events has changed, maybe forever. Budgets are under much more pressure – meaning well designed hybrid events can reach much bigger audiences and optimise investment – without sacrificing the experience. They’re exciting, full of new possibilities and here to stay.





About Uno Loco

For over 20 years Uno Loco has built a reputation for delivering New Zealand’s most creative large-scale events, content and experiential activations


About Blair Glubb

Blair is well known in NZ marketing circles from his leadership roles in digital, strategy and marketing. He’s spent time with corporates and start-ups, as well as both sides of the agency / client divide in NZ and offshore. He’s CEO and co-owner of event specialists, Uno Loco.

Blair Glubb -  CEO of Uno Loco