The History of WebCasting

Elle Kyle is a producer at AMC.

Webcasting is a technology most of us take for granted.  We can easily webcast concerts, award shows, sport matches and other large-scale productions, and because of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, we can share a live stream of the daily happenings in our personal lives.  It is interesting to note that even though WebCasting is so readily accessible, it is a fairly new technology.

The first event to be webcast was the Macintosh New York Music Festival in July of 1995.  Michael Dorf, owner of The Knitting Factory, a nightclub in Brooklyn, came up with the idea for the festival after the collapse of The New Music Seminar.  Dorf wanted the bands to be the focus of his new festival, so rather than filling the time with seminars and meet and greets, he booked 350 bands and they played at 15 clubs around the city.


Dorf also realized that his event had a much wider appeal beyond those who could physically attend the event.  Dorf then teamed up with Apple, one of the festival’s sponsors, to set up a WebCast of the concerts.  Since the festival was so big and was held at so many venues, Apple elected to stream audio only.

The technology to stream video and audio was available that year, and the first videos were also streamed in 1995.  One of these events was a concert held at the famous Troubadour in Hollywood.  It was produced by Benford Earl Standley.  The lineup included John York of the Byrds, Greg Harris of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Buck Page of the Riders of the Purple Sage.

Over the next five years, the idea of streaming content over the internet spread to other industries.  In 1997, Nebraska Public Television started streaming highlights from Cornhuskers’ football games and post-game press conferences.

In 1998, the first weddings were webcast.  This trend became increasingly popular, particularly for destination weddings.  This way, the bride and groom could share their special day with friends and family anywhere on the planet.


As WebCasting technology became easily accessible, churches began to cotton to its uses, as it were.  On October 22, 1998, the first Billy Graham Crusade was streamed online.  During these broadcasts, the evangelical preacher would proselytize and invite people to pray with him.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also began broadcasting their world wide biannual meetings in the late 1990s.

Since then, WebCasting has become extremely popular.  Advances in the tech allowed for multiple camera shoots and for prerecorded content to be incorporated into live shows.  With the invention of the TriCaster, producers and directors were able to build a simple set on a green screen then use live chroma keying technology to create a virtual set as the show streamed.

Today, WebCasting technology is so easily accessible that anyone can stream anything via social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.  Wide scale events such as the Oscars and the Olympics are webcast all over the world.  The first feature film to be streamed online was Woody Harrelson’s Lost in London.  The film was shot in one continuous take and streamed to theaters in London.  The advance of WebCasting has opened up a new channel to experience content, and it will continue to be an integral part of the way we consume media.

The American Movie Company has over 10 years of experience with WebCasting various events, including the Fifth Annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, The Epiphone Revolver Music Awards Show, and most recently, Chi Zhang’s Fashion Week debut aboard the Intrepid.  

For more information about our WebCasting services, visit our website or call Bill Milling at (917) 414-5489.

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