Plan for Teams town halls

APPLIES TO: ✖️Meetings ✖️Webinars ✔️Town halls

Town halls are meant for one-to-many communications where the presenters, organizers, and co-organizers lead the presentation. The audience participation is primarily to view and react to the content being shared. As an admin, this article guides you through how to plan and prepare for town halls in your organization.

Turn town halls on or off

Town halls are enabled by default. If you'd like to disable or manage town halls for users in your organization, see Manage who can schedule town halls.

Get your network ready for town halls

There are five steps you must follow to ensure your network is set up to support town halls.

  1. Ensure your teams environment is set up to connect to our services Ensure that your network connectivity to Microsoft 365 follows our network connectivity principles outlined in Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles. The network connectivity principles are standard principles to follow for all Microsoft 365 services, and not just specific to Teams town hall.

  2. Ensure your devices are optimized to connect to our services As part of the network connectivity principles, ensure that the Microsoft 365 endpoints are reachable as defined in Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges.

  3. Understand special considerations for events in VPN environments If your organization is using VPN connectivity for remote participants, review the guidance published in Special considerations for Stream and Teams events in VPN environments. This article details how to optimize the attendee traffic for direct connectivity (also known as split tunneling) to the service.

  4. Plan for bandwidth considerations for town halls Follow the bandwidth requirements documented in Prepare your organization's network for Teams for your organizers, co-organizers, presenters. Each attendee stream consumes approximately 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth; attendee connectivity utilizes HTTPS. Physical locations that have a large/densely populated attendee profile should explore using an eCDN to optimize bandwidth usage.

  5. Optimize your Internal network via eCDN An Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) takes the video content from the internet and distributes the content throughout your enterprise without impacting network performance.

    Town hall organizers with a Teams Premium license have Microsoft eCDN enabled by default, but you can select a different eCDN solution for these organizers. Keep in mind that some future Teams Premium town hall features might require the Microsoft eCDN.
    For town hall organizers with all other Teams subscriptions, you can enable them to use the Microsoft eCDN solution or, alternatively, one of the following certified eCDN partner solutions to optimize your network for town halls held within your organization:

    To turn off the Microsoft eCDN for town hall organizers with a Premium license and learn more about our partner solutions, see Enterprise content delivery networks for streaming Microsoft Teams events. For more information about Microsoft eCDN, see Introduction to Microsoft eCDN.

Understand your policies

A combination of admin meeting and event policies with organizer and attendee settings manage town halls. If you'd like to get familiar with how policies work for Teams meetings and events, see Manage meeting and event policies in Microsoft Teams. For a full list of admin policies and organizer settings for town halls, see Town hall control comparison later in this article.

Decide the types of town halls that organizers can create

When managing the event access type for town halls to decide whether organizers can schedule public town halls, consider the following points:

  • External attendees can only join a town hall if the organizer sets the event to public.
  • Guests are considered in-org.
  • Attendees who aren't in your org (including anonymous and external access users) can't join in-org town halls.

Premium town halls and live events

Live events will be deprecated on September 30, 2024. If you've been using live events for your organization, you might want to understand the differences and similarities between live events, town halls, and Premium town halls. With a Teams premium license, your users have access to extended town hall capabilities. The following table is a comparison of live events, town hall, and Premium town hall features:

Capability Live Events Town halls Premium town halls
Broadcast capacity 10k 10k 20k
Concurrent events 15 15 50
Attendee reporting ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
eCDN Microsoft and partner providers Microsoft and partner providers Microsoft and partner providers
Duration Four hours 30 hours 30 hours
RTMP-In ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Producer UX ✔️ Manage what attendees see Manage what attendees see
Default audio and video off ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Layouts Single Video, Video + Content​​ Dynamic focused curated view Dynamic focused curated view
Green room ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Live translated captions ✔️ Six languages 10 languages
Manage what attendees see ✖️ ✔️ ✔️
External presenters ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
AI generated captions ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
DVR ✔️ ✖️ ✖️
Q&A capacity 10k 10k 20k
VOD ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Microsoft town hall insights ✖️ ✖️ ✔️
Essential emails ✖️ ✔️ ✔️
Email editing ✖️ ✖️ ✔️

For more information on Teams premium, see Teams Premium licensing.

Monitor town halls in your organization

Real time monitoring

You can use real-time data telemetry to monitor town halls and troubleshoot technical issues. There are two types of real time monitoring for town halls.

  1. Real time monitoring of the presenter and organizer experience You can view scheduled town halls and see audio, video, content sharing, and network-related issues. As an admin, you can use this telemetry to investigate any issues presenters and organizers experience during the town hall and troubleshoot in real time. To learn more about real time monitoring of presenters and organizers, see Use real-time telemetry to troubleshoot poor meeting quality.

  2. Real time monitoring of the attendee experience (Teams Premium) With a Teams premium license, you can use the Microsoft eCDN analytics dashboard for performance analysis and network troubleshooting of the attendee experience during town halls.

    To learn more about real time monitoring of attendees, see Microsoft eCDN Real Time analytics.

Call Quality Dashboard

You can use the Call Quality Dashboard (CQD) to monitor town hall quality at the org-wide level and optimize your network to drive performance quality. To learn more about using CQD for town halls in your org, see What is Call Quality Dashboard (CQD). For more information about the dimensions and measurements visible through CQD for town halls, search for the word "events" in Dimensions and measurements available in Call Quality Dashboard (CQD).

Town hall insights for organizers

With a Teams Premium license, during a town hall, organizers and co-organizers can see real-time event analytics like viewer count, attendees’ country/region, and more. The analytics consist of several data widgets, including charts and graphs, breakdowns tables, and a viewing experience timeline. For more information on how organizers in your org can use insights for their town halls, see Town hall insights in Microsoft Teams. For town hall organizers that don't have a Teams Premium license, you can check to see if your eCDN provider offers insights during town halls.

Town hall control comparison

Teams admins and organizers have different policies and settings to control the town hall experience. The following table lists the types of features available for town halls and how the admin and organizer controls interact.

Feature Admins Organizers
Attendance and engagement reports Can enforce on or off or allow organizer to choose. Can turn on or off if allowed by admin.
Audio and video Can manage the availability and use of audio and video for presenters and organizers. Only presenters and organizers can use their audio and video. Attendees can't share their audio or video, but interact through Q&A.
Chat Can manage whether organizers, presenters, and co-organizers can read and write messages to each other during town halls. Can chat with presenters and co-organizers. Attendees don't use chat during town halls.
Content sharing Can control sharing mode, who can request control, and can set a default for who can present. Can control who can present among presenters, organizers, and co-organizers. Attendees can't share content in town halls.
Copilot Can control the default value for Copilot in organizers’ meeting options. Can control whether Copilot can be used with or without transcription during their town halls. Only organizers, co-organizers, and presenters can use Copilot during the town hall if they have a Copilot license.
eCDN Can manage and configure the availability of eCDN for organizers. Admins can also disable the Microsoft eCDN for town hall organizers with a Premium license and switch to a partner eCDN provider. No control.
Email communications (Teams Premium) Can control if event organizers and co-organizers can edit email templates for their town halls. Can edit email templates before they're sent out.
External presenters No control. Can invite presenters from outside of your organization. External presenters have a unique join link to join the town hall without waiting in the lobby.
Green room No control. Can choose if green room is used for a town hall.
Limit presenter role permissions Can limit presenter role permissions for the tenant. No control.
Live translated transcription (Teams Premium) Can control whether organizers with a Premium license can have live translated transcription for their town halls. Can enable live translated transcription for themselves; attendees can always turn on live translated transcription.
Manage what attendees see No control. Can decide whose avatars or video feeds to spotlight during the town hall.
Manage who can schedule town halls Can disable town halls for users and groups, control which organizers can schedule town halls, and decide whether organizers can schedule public town halls. Can schedule town halls if allowed by admin.
Q&A Can manage if organizers can use Q&A in town halls. Can decide if Q&A is available for their town halls if allowed by admins. Q&A is the only way attendees can interact and engage with presenters and organizers.
Recording Can allow or prevent town hall recording. Recordings start automatically for town halls, but organizers can turn this off.
Recording expiration Can manage whether recordings automatically expire. By default, published recordings expire after 30 days. Organizers can extend the expiration date to 60 days. After the new date passes, they must reupload and republish the file to keep sharing.
RTMP-In Can control whether organizers can use RTMP-In for their town halls. Can produce their Teams events directly from an external hardware or software-based encoder to integrate different types of media into the event. To start streaming from the encoder, organizers can choose RTMP-In from their meeting options and then access the RTMP link and key.
Shared notes Can manage whether organizers and co-organizers can use shared notes with other during town halls. Can use shared notes with co-organizers during town halls
Speaker coach Can manage whether organizers, presenters, and co-organizers can use speaker coach during town halls. Can use speaker coach for private real-time feedback and suggestions for improvement of themselves, co-organizers, and presenters.
Town hall usage report View activity and usage trends for all town halls created in your organization. No control.
Transcription and captions Can allow or prevent transcription and closed captions for attendees. Only AI generated captions are currently available.
VOD publishing Can manage the types of recordings organizers can publish. Can publish and modify town hall recordings.
Voice isolation Can control whether users can use voice isolation in town halls. Can enable voice isolation.

Need help with your town hall?

Are you and your organizers are new to hosting town halls or just need some extra help? The Microsoft 365 Live Event Assistance Program (LEAP) can help you get more familiar with setting up and running town halls. The LEAP program is also available during the event to help if any questions or issues come up. For more information on the LEAP program, see Microsoft 365 Live Event Assistance Program.