Host Paid vs Revenue Share models
Like many areas of the telecommunications industry, charges for audio conferencing can be confusing. However, if you look past the marketing collateral and examine the tariffs in detail, there are only two common charging models; ‘Host paid’ and ‘revenue share’.
Each is described below:
Host Paid Charging Model
As the name suggests, under the host paid charging model the organiser or ‘host’ picks up the charges for space on the conference bridge and some or all of the access charges. The participants either just pay the access charge to dial into the bridge or are given freephone access at the hosts expense.
As the host is paying for the meeting he or she will normally have a high degree of control over the conference and be able to invoke advanced features such as dial out, call recording and transcription.
For large audio conferences the host paid model is really the only sensible option as, to chair the call effectively, the host will need to be able to mute all the participants telephone microphones to keep the level of background noise down.
Our Ozone audio conferencing offering is based on the host paid model.
Advantages of typical host paid systems
- High level of control
- High level of security
- Advanced features
- International freephone and local rate access
- Centralised billing and reporting
Disadvantages of typical host paid systems
- Host pays charges
In Summary: There’s a saying that ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ and that’s a good way to think of the host paid set up – as the host is paying the call they are in charge and have tight control of what goes on.
Revenue Share Model (often described as ‘free audio conferencing)
There are two important differences between the host paid model and revenue share model audio conferencing systems.
The first is that there is no ‘host’ – everyone is an equal participant, and the second is that no one person picks up the cost of the call.
Audio conference companies who offer audio conferencing under the revenue share model often call it free audio conferencing because there are no charges levied on the conference host. Everyone pays their telephone company for their own call into the audio conference and is on a peer level with everyone else. For more details on how revenue share conference calling is financed, please see our sister company’s website free audio conferencing.
As there is no host pay for, or control the call, the features available within conference calls using the revenue share model are much more limited. For instance, it is not possible for participants to place calls to external numbers from within the conference call (there would be no one to pay for the call). Operator assistance is also either unavailable or very limited.
Probably the most significant limitation is that there is no facility to force handsets into mute mode which makes chairing large conferences (over about a dozen people) very difficult.
Revenue share audio conferencing is an ideal solution for small companies and groups of individuals. Our OzoneLITE service is one of the cheapest ways available of holding a business audio conference.
The limitations of revenue share systems mean that larger companies normally opt for a host paid package as they need the flexibility, security and control which these systems provide.
Advantages of typical revenue share or ‘free audio conferencing’ services
- No host charges
Disadvantages of typical revenue share or ‘free audio conferencing’ services
- Limited security
- Basic features
- Limited international access (may be very expensive to call from abroad)
- No centalised control or cost reports
In Summary: In audio conferencing as in life, you tend to get what you pay for.
If you just need to hold the occasional in-country audio conference then a revenue share system may suffice. However, if audio conferencing is a key to how you conduct business then a host paid system is the only sensible choice.
Ironically, depending upon where you need to access conferences from and what type of phone you are using (land-line or mobile), host paid can actually work out cheaper than so called “free” revenue share systems.