Streaming the city council (and the municipal council) plays a vital role in democracy and accessibility – everyone probably agrees. It’s also an expensive business if you break down the costs by the number of hours it’s actually utilized, but there’s a lot you can do to provide this cost-effectively – here are our top tips!
The costs can be broken down into several points: Production of the live broadcast, Post-processing for on-demand video, Platform costs, and Internal costs.
Streaming of the city council, production
The production of city council-TV is not in itself a demanding video production. We recommend evaluation of fixed camera or cameras. It is, of course, an investment to put the cameras in place, but it probably pays off in the long run. Having procured camera operators is a costly circumstance.
With fixed cameras, you can instead spend the money on a producer. The producer makes sure that the broadcast runs smoothly but can also do things such as camera switching, if you have several, and posting subtitles with speakers and results from votes. The producer can be an internal resource and there is excellent free software that many municipalities use for this very purpose.
We recommend that the producer is responsible for the local recording. In Streamio, you can record all live streams automatically, but this assumes that the video stream reaches our servers in Stockholm and is primarily error-free. A local recording can save a sudden outage online or possible problems with the video encoding.
Post-processing of city council-TV
When finishing the recorded material, just as with any video, you can in theory, spend unlimited time polishing and honing. That is not really necessary when it comes to recorded meetings. After all, the main thing is reproducing what happened during the meeting.
Two things stand out that you should consider putting a little extra effort into when it comes to post-processing – subtitling and chapter division.
We have already written about subtitles in this article – but in short, expedited subtitles of the recorded meeting are a requirement, and automatic subtitles are an excellent solution to meet this requirement.
Chapter division makes it easier for the viewer who wants to be able to jump to a particular errand. It is also easy for the producer to do without wasting any time.
There are three things to consider that should be crucial for choosing a video platform for streaming the city council: Legal aspects, Costs and Features.
- Legal aspects
Some legal issues to consider are GDPR, the Accessibility Directive, ownership of the material, tracking of users, and transfer to countries outside the EU.
Most of these legal aspects make it difficult to comply with GDPR and at the same time use American services such as Youtube and Vimeo. On the other hand, there are some Swedish and European video solutions that works brilliantly. Streamio is of course one of these. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you want to know more about how we help.
Producing video is expensive. With Streamio, we try to make distribution cheap so that more money can instead be spent on accessibility and more and better productions. The difference in how video is distributed is small. What distinguishes solutions are features that you may not even use or that can be easily replaced by other software outside the distribution platform.
For the city council, in particular, it is popular with advanced features like voting systems, archives, documents and integration with other systems. Features that can be costly but may only offer a questionable benefit.
Another question is how these features work for viewers who watch the broadcast on their mobile phones. Look at your internal statistics and see how many viewers visit you via a mobile phone. Those who watch the city council on their mobile phones will most likely do so in full-screen mode, and then you may miss much of the information that is not embedded in the video itself. Mobile usage often accounts for a majority of traffic.
Will it be good TV? To put it mildly; city council TV isn’t always thrilling, well-produced or stylish, but that’s not really the point either. However, having advanced features linked to the broadcast is something that not even the major TV companies have succeeded with. Video is produced within the border of the frame – a list of speakers (now speaking: AAA, next speaker: BBB) should of course be in the picture and not next to it. Likewise, the results of votes if deemed necessary. Of all the viewers watching a city council meeting; how many people watch in full screen mode (either mobile or on other devices)? How many people use internal viewing such as producer monitor? Of those that remain; how many people use the features around the image?
Besides. Are “features” really needed to publish documents? Most websites have excellent support for simply making other content available on the same page as the video.
Don’t forget to look at the internal costs of streaming city council. The procurement of resources, migrations of data, requirements, producer role, etc. are all things that you will need to pay for. We see good solutions on how to keep these costs low using internal resources from the communications department that produces live broadcasts with open source software such as OBS (Open Brodcaster Software) from sources such as fixed cameras (“network cameras”, “surveillance cameras”) and finally streams everything with Streamio Live with automatic publication to a city council-play channel – where everything is included without the cost spiraling away.