“There’s a lot on the line with an institution like ours.”
So explains Jamed Falik, the Visual Design Team Lead at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Since 1975, IFPRI has been committed to spotlighting research-based policies that sustainably reduce poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. “We are so reliant on our ability to connect with the broader research community,” he says.
As a global nonprofit with clients, donors, and even employees in over 50 countries, IFPRI needed an effective way to share its policy solutions with the world — and they found it in live video.
Jamed and his team use Vimeo’s live streaming tools to simulcast weekly policy seminars on the institute’s website and Facebook page.
Before switching to Vimeo, IFPRI’s streams were limited to one destination. “The viewership numbers were pretty good, but nothing like now,” says Jamed, referring to the broader reach they have through simulcasting. Now, their live seminars garner upwards of 2,000 views per week on Facebook alone.
There's an interesting dynamic and feedback loop that you can create through live streaming that brings you closer to your audience outside of the room.
A bumpy road to smooth streaming
As with many organizations, IFPRI succeeded with live streaming in part due to trial and error: last year, Jamed’s team hit a couple of snags with their previous live streaming tool.
“It’s very important that the experience we’re broadcasting is of the highest professional caliber possible,” Jamed prefaces, noting that IFPRI’s viewers include government officials, ambassadors, even members of Congress. The final straw came during one notably high-stakes stream when the live feed cut out entirely, with no customer service to help troubleshoot the issue. “You can imagine how stressful that was,” he says.
IFPRI soon realized investing in reliable, no-fail live streaming was a worthwhile and necessary solution. “That pain point opened the door to a real conversation for us on, ‘How do we make this better?’ and, ‘How do we invest more in our broadcasting abilities?’” he says.
Vimeo’s reputation for delivering sophisticated, high-performing live video and outstanding customer service made a platform switch well worth the effort. “Just being able to pick up the phone and have someone respond or answer an email has been huge,” says Falik. “It takes a lot of the stress off of us.”
Even IFPRI’s viewers notice the difference. One weekend, a colleague ran into a friend who had only positive feedback about their live streams. “They said, ‘Wow, I just watched your policy seminar online the other day. It looked really good, and it was a really interesting discussion,’” relays Jamed. “That was the direct comment. I would say that’s a really good sign.”
Growing reach, deepening impact
Since partnering with Vimeo, IFPRI is building upon its live strategy to foster dialogue on critical topics like sustainable food supply, inclusive markets and trade systems, and transforming rural economies.
“We started off thinking big-picture with our live streaming strategy. Now, with the technology we have, and all this evolving ability to capture live feed, it’s allowing us to be nimbler and more flexible in our approach,” Jamed says.
“Our eyes opened to the possibility of what we can do beyond these larger events. I think we’re just scratching the surface of what the possibilities are.”