With attendance at its annual meeting down in recent years, the U.K.-based Racehorse Owners Association decided to bring the event to its global membership with livestreaming technology.
The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) is betting big on livestreaming technology to improve organizational transparency and keep its international membership engaged.
For the first time, the U.K.-based organization broadcast its annual general meeting online for members unable to attend the June 28 gathering in London. While the plan was to ease the burden on members who might have to travel to attend, organizers opened the video stream to any and all, said David Bowen, head of membership.
“Our members need to visit London for our [annual meeting and it’s] not easy for everyone as our members are [from] the length and breadth of the country as well as abroad,” Bowen said via email. “Also, some and are a little older. Attendance for previous years had been fairly low for members, so it made perfect sense to take the event to them.”
As for opening the livestream to nonmembers, “we thought if anyone was interested enough, they were welcome” to tune in, he said.
About 700 people watched the event online, according to Bowen. ROA has since posted segments from the meeting on its website, including clips showing ratification of resolutions, speeches by ROA’s president and an industry partner, and a forum where members put questions to the board.
The videography team, overseen by an outside public relations firm, set up two cameras: one face-on and the other catching a side view of the event. In all, it cost about £4,000—a little over $5,000—Bowen said. That price tag included media relations help, separate interviews with members in attendance, and editing working.
The early indication is that the effort was a success. Feedback from members, some of whom watched while commuting to the event, has been positive, Bowen said. Any of the roughly 7,500 hundred association members unable to attend could submit questions for ROA Chief Executive Charlie Liverton, members of his staff, and the board ahead of time.
“We are almost entirely funded by our membership, so we owe it to them to be as transparent and as accountable as possible and would encourage them to follow proceedings from afar on their computers and mobile devices,” Liverton said before the meeting.
Bowen envisions continuing to use livestreaming technology to reach members and augment ROA events. They may look for less expensive options in the future, but for the first time it was critical—particularly given that several board members were skeptical—that everything go off without a hitch, he said.