Convention Centers Add Broadcasting Studios to Accommodate Hybrid Events

December 8, 2020
Convention Centers Add Broadcasting Studios to Accommodate Hybrid Events

Convention centers across the country are making way for hybrid meetings and events. Renowned facilities looking ahead to 2021 and beyond have repurposed spaces to become virtual studios, complete with state-of-the-art AV equipment for digital and in-person presentations.

“While hybrid meetings are not new in our industry, the demand for them has increased dramatically due to this pandemic, forcing meeting and event planners to make adjustments to their events to continue to address the needs of their members and attendees who will not be ready to travel anytime soon,” said Tim Muldoon, general manager at the David E. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, which recently added its own virtual studio —one of the notable examples of this new adaptation to the coronavirus and its after-effects.

Read on for how facilities and CVBs are working together to pivot yet again, this time into the digital realm.

StreamStage at America’s Center

StreamStage at America’s Center

StreamStage is one important element of a larger $175 million upgrade of St. Louis’ convention hub. Incorporated into the Ferrara Theatre, StreamStage is outfitted with increased bandwidth for livestreaming, an HD camera and studio backdrop complete with lighting and projecting equipment. 

A production manager is available to assist staff and there is theater-style seating for in-person attendees, while PSAV and Smart City, America’s Center partners, are providing the equipment, technology and project management.

“We are combining the best of in-person events with the convenience and high production values of virtual experiences,” said Kathleen (Kitty) Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis. 

Javits Center hybrid Studio

Javits Broadcast Studio

New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center debuted its new hybrid offering for Grant’s Fall 2020 Conference in October. The financial meeting had 50 people inside Javits, coupled with remote attendance.

The 30,000-sq.-ft. venue is considered the largest hybrid studio available to event planners. It has space to seat 300 socially-distanced delegates. The Nest Summit, an official program of Climate Week NYC, recently used the studio for its virtual presentation.

Among the highlights of the technology is a giant video wall. The convention center provides an on-site production team, a control room, multiple video cameras and WiFi. Events are granted at least 10 hours of studio time.

“We wanted to do a live event, in the first place to make some money, in the second place to take a stand against the fear and defeatism that have attended the pandemic and lockdown,” explained Jim Grant, founder and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. The group was so pleased with its experience that it’s returning to Javits in April 2021 for another event.'

OCCC Executive Studio

OCCC Executive Studio

Another convention and trade show staple venue, Orange County Convention Center, is readying its new OCCC Executive Studio for operation beginning early next year.

Powered by LMG, the center’s longtime AV provider, OCCC Executive Studio is equipped to handle a variety of educational and breakout sessions out of the Lecture Hall in the West Building. Also available as virtual studios are the Linda. W. Chapin Theatre and the Destination Lounge. Each on-site venue has seating for in-person attendees to go along with the tech offerings.

Peter Scott, CEO of the American Academy of Optometry, is impressed with the new option. Orange County Convention Center has “the system [and] infrastructure to be able to deliver a virtual meeting, a hybrid meeting or an in-person meeting seamlessly,” he said.

The Confluence

The Confluence, an Event Studio 

Pittsburgh’s world-class David L. Lawrence Convention Center launched The Confluence, named after three rivers flowing into the city. According to facility officials, one of the missions of the studio is to keep local groups meeting close to home. So far, so good on that front as DLCC General Manager Tim Muldoon says a Pittsburgh-based group already enjoyed a successful event using the studio.

The studio has a permanent home in the building, but the convention center is leaving planners the option of moving to different locations within the center. The flexibility allows for the needs of different-sized groups. 

We can relocate the technology and equipment quite easily,” said Kelli Donahoe, DLLCC director of sales and marketing.

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact