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Your News at 11? - 3/25/2014 -

Does your association really need its own TV network? Here are five strategic exercises to help associations begin thinking about programming possibilities for their organizations.

By Apryl Motley, CAE

Is your association ready for its own TV network on the web?

"Associations are storytellers,” says Stuart Meyer, president and founder of Social Frequency Media Communications. "Video and TV represent another way to tell your story.”

Meyer believes Web TV broadcast networks represent an important opportunity for associations because they serve niche audiences, and in the current media environment, their members can find channels that correspond to any interest they may have.

"Web TV enables associations to leverage the ability to produce specialized programs less expensively,” Meyer says.

Meyer maintains that video-based storytelling can establish or create emotional proximity. He sees a direct correlation between proximity (association) and quality of relationship (members).

In addition, creating a network centralizes the location of an association’s video assets, in theory, making them more easily accessible to members. Meyer offers up IEEE’s TV network as a case study.

Meyer says aggregating video was a key consideration when IEEE launched its network, IEEE.tv, in August 2006. "They wanted to take video across the association, making it a centralized resource, which is easy to embed and utilize across the association,” he explains.

"Tune in to where technology lives” is IEEE’s Internet-based network’s tag line. Just as it suggests, programming focuses on technology and engineering. The programming is for the benefit of IEEE members and the general public. New programming is added monthly.

Pedro Ray, a former IEEE President, describes IEEE.tv as "truly a collaborative, IEEE member-produced initiative that is strongly in accordance with IEEE's mission of educating the public on important technology and engineering issues."

But does your association really need its own TV network? Meyer says associations must work through five strategic exercises to help them think about programming possibilities for their associations. Here’s how to brainstorm if you’re considering such an initiative.

Exercise #1
Think through your association’s leadership and organizational structure and identify for involvement:
  • All key organizational components
  • Key staff stakeholders
  • Potential board members who might support the concept
Exercise #2
Think through your association’s mission, key strategic priorities, member stakeholder segments, and identity:
  • A name for your TV network
  • 2-3 TV channels based on member stakeholder/segments
  • 2-3 show ideas based on key priorities
Exercise #3
Think through any existing media assets that might be re-purposed as content for the web TV network/platform, and list ways in which it might be converted into programming.

Exercise #4
Continue to build on your ideas by identifying the following:
  • A specific episode storyline for one of your TV concepts
  • Determine how and where the storyline could be integrated within your other communication tools
Exercise #5
Think through your current roster of sponsors. Then take one of your TV show concepts and identify the following:
  • One sponsor that could be appropriately integrated into the show in terms of storyline and product placement
  • Current sponsors that you think would make good prospects for this type of media partnership
If you decide to launch a network, you’ll need to consider these issues among many others. Ultimately, Meyer says, "It’s about thinking, planning, creating, functioning, and telling stories and cross-marketing like a broadcast TV network.”

Apryl Motley, CAE is a freelance writer and publishing consultant and a member of the Association Media & Publishing Content Creation Committee.


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