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A webcast is similar in intent to a broadcast television program but designed for internet transmission. Webcast clients allow a user to connect to a server, which is distributing (webcasting) the webcast, and displays the televisual content to the user.

Initially webcasts were non interactive, in other words, the user was not able to alter the content of the webcast or to interact with the subjects of the webcast. For the most part they were also hosted live (with recordings retained for later dissemination), however more recently there has been greater overlap between video conferencing and webcasting such that webcasts have been generally consinged to being recordings of video conferences and training material where there is much less demand for an interactive session.

A notable webcast took place in September 1999 to launch NetAid, a project to promote internet use in the world's poorest countries. Three high profile concerts were to be broadcast simultaneously on the BBC, MTV and over the internet; a London concert at Wembley Stadium featuring the likes of Robbie Williams, George Michael; a New York concert featuring Bono of U2 and Wyclef Jean; a Geneva concert. The site had been designed to handle ten times the number of viewers of any previous webcast.