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Why Don’t More People Watch AVN Online?

by ARLnow.com May 19, 2010 at 10:57 am 2,784 7 Comments

Yesterday we linked to a couple of great videos that gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at two Columbia Pike restaurants. The videos were produced by the Arlington Virginia Network, the county-run television channel.

AVN’s production values are impeccable. It’s remarkable that the county is producing interesting community video content that could be mistaken for a Food Network show or a local news broadcast.

But it’s a bit discouraging that, before we linked to them, the two videos had barely 100 views between them on YouTube. It begs the question: is there a better way to promote AVN online?

While it’s virtually impossible to know how many people watch AVN shows on the county’s cable channel (channel 25 on Comcast and channel 40 on Verizon), AVN videos get about 50,000 views per year online (UPDATE: AVN Executive Producer Rob Farr says their online views have grown dramatically since the county estimate cited here — see his response in the comments section). Given the office’s budget of about $557,000 this year (according to the county manager’s proposed budget), that’s more than $10 spent per online view.

How can the county better promote AVN online? A Facebook and a Twitter account would help. As would a standalone domain name for the AVN website. What are your thoughts? (In addition to the comments section, feel free to contribute to the discussion on our Facebook page).

  • Online video success has two steps — producing good content & pushing it out to make sure it gets in front of the people who’d want to watch it. AVN is great at the former but seems to completely ignore the latter.

  • Todd

    I’ve caught some of these shows when channel surfing at night – and you honestly can’t tell the difference between this or something on the food network (as you noted). Only difference is you recognize the restaurant and you’re suddenly 10 times more excited to go there after watching it! Coming from working with another government access channel in Virginia – the production quality from AVN is amazing! (Full disclosure – I have also worked with the AVN crew in the past and they are a great group of people to work with!)

  • As AVN’s executive producer, I’d like to express my thanks for the kind words about our production values and for helping to promote AVN’s many videos. Please keep the ideas coming (and do help us share them)! We’ve been working hard to extend our video viewership in the last 18 months – and it’s paying off. As for the stats, here are some up-to-date ones that we’re excited to share — huge growth! (note: for the budget…we had to use estimates this winter for the budget):

    – We’ve actually had 136,866 YouTube video views in the last year (May 18, 2009 to May 18, 2010).
    – And we continue to see our numbers growing as more videos go on YouTube and more people view them (in the same period the prior year, we only had 29,484 video views).
    – We also house all the Board meetings and longer videos such as the SmartGrowth documentary on another system (called Granicus) – and we’ve had 25,391 views on that system in the last year.

    The two videos you mentioned just went online in the last five days (and we haven’t tweeted or FB’ed them yet)….so the 100 views WILL grow!

    Here’s a sampling of how we promote our videos today:

    – We tweet and facebook nearly all the AVN videos to @arlingtonva’s 1,300+ twitter followers and 3,800+ facebook fans.
    – We post them on the County homepage (and link to AVN’s full suite of videos).
    – There’s featured video in every edition off the Arlington Insider e-newsletter.
    – Many agencies also include the links to the videos on their webpages (i.e., the recent “Know Your Recycling” video is also available via the Environmental Services website).

    And of course, as you mentioned, we don’t have a way to calculate the viewership of the cable channel on Verizon FiOS and Comcast (that’s 70,000 households, though).

    In this era of shrinking media coverage, being able to share information with the public and tell our stories through video is more critical than ever before. So please do keep the ideas coming – and we appreciate the cross-promotion through ArlNow.

    P.S. Did you see the new Know Your Recycling video? It’s had 617 views since it was posted just last week. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/user/arlingtoncounty#p/c/828F353F0902D797/0/WFfGEC_m6ms

  • There’s a AVN????

  • Seriously. Green Mile is right. This needs to be pushed / promoted so that it is finable. Start with a webpage. Oh, there is one. I never woulda known. Next you need an RSS feed. Then add a twitter feed and social network feeds.

    Some of us dont have cable. Thus cable is not a way we have learned about AVN.

  • Agree with GreenMiles and others–kudos to AVN and the fine work they do!

    For more Arlington-focused videos, you might enjoy checking out the video blog (with RSS feed) recently launched by Arlington Independent Media: http://www.arlingtonmedia.org/videoblog

  • There’s a AVN????

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