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Preparing Your PEG Channel for a Digital World

This post talks about the future of PEG and how to prepare your team and content for the digital world. It's part of our series on local government live streaming.

The world of television programming is rapidly changing. Just a few years ago, all video content – both live and recorded – was shown on TV, brought to viewers by a combination of local broadcast networks and cable companies. Now, everything is going digital.

These days, an increasing number of people watch their favorite TV shows and must-see sporting events online. Smart TVs have turned televisions into just another screen on which we can access digital content. As people continue to "cut the cord" and choose the internet as their primary source of entertainment, the future of cable TV as we know it looks bleak.

If you're the cable access manager or communications director for your municipality, what does all this change mean for your channel and department? While the future is not certain, this post outlines various considerations.

You Need a Digital Presence Yesterday

Once upon a time, if your citizens wanted to contact you, they would call you or walk to city hall in person. Now, people spend their time online. Recognizing this change in behavior, your city has probably already invested in a website with basic services for your citizens.

But the mere existence of a website isn’t enough. Your website should serve as a robust source of information and education for your citizens. Everything that can be done at city hall should be available online, because that’s how you’ll increase engagement among your resident population and provide them with the most value.

Why? The fact is that people can’t always make city hall meetings in person. Though dwindling attendance might lead you to think that fewer people are interested in civic engagement than ever before, that’s simply not the case.

Instead, many people struggle to fit city hall meetings into their busy lives. By live streaming meetings on your website and integrating them with other communication channels, like Facebook Live, you can more effectively engage your residents where they already are – online.


How to Increase Civic Engagement - Download the Guide!

Cable Access Contracts are in Jeopardy

Cable companies are in trouble. With an increasing amount of people choosing digital content over its cable counterpart, cable companies must adapt to survive.

If your municipality has an agreement with a cable company to receive a public access channel, the struggling nature of the industry means that agreement is probably in jeopardy. By opting not to stream your meetings to your website, your residents’ access to council meetings relies on the health of these companies.

You Don’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel

The problem with cable access channels is the medium (cable), not the content itself. That means that streaming your content online wouldn't take any additional work – the assets you already have could be what you need to grow your online presence. 

If you’re not ready to pull away from cable yet, you can choose to live stream on your website while simultaneously maintaining a cable channel. With BoxCast, doing so is easy. Simply plug your video feed into the BoxCaster encoder; as long as you're connected to a power source and the internet, your content will automatically stream online.

Government access channels are an incredible way to create transparency between a government and its citizens. Unfortunately, many residents no longer take advantage of this service because it no longer fits within their lifestyles. Live streaming allows you that same transparency, but in a way that is better aligned with how your residents spend their time.

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Final Thoughts + Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about live streaming but aren't sure how to begin, this post will provide you with guidance: Here's How to Start Live Streaming Your City Hall