K, so this is a bit out there but I figured what the heck…
How about a virtual conference. One where speakers address a real audience via the Internet using video, teleconferencing, presence (twitter, pownce), IM etc.
There would be a virtual hall that allowed users to navigate from session to session where they would watch or just listen via teleconference.
We could create a back-channel (they all exists anyways during these shows) and a real social networking element that could serve as method for hallway discussions?
We have the technology now to pull this off, this should be a no-brainer!
Make people PAY for it (cover the costs), in return they will get recordings of all the sessions and access to the chat back-channels.
Call me a geek but I think this would be cool would cost people much less and would likely be more a productive use of everyone's time.
There is a Facebook group coming together that might help the idea along or email me and tell me how nuts I am: erik (at) sipthat dot com.