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Kent TV – Lessons for Online Video

Kent TV. The Party’s Over, so What Lessons Are There for Online Video and How an Organisation Communicates in the Twenty First Century? by Kersh Media. First published in the Dover Express newspaper.

When the first railways were built, they used horses not steam engines to pull the carriages. Everyone could see the benefit of rails, compared with the inefficient, muddy roads of the day, but not everyone was convinced that the new fangled steam engines were the way forward.

Yesterday Kent County Council announced it was axing its online video channel Kent TV. Kent TV was run by Bob Geldof’s company Ten Alps. KCC set it up with an initial investment of £1.4 million and paid £600,000 a year to run it.
At its launch in 2007 Geldof said it was a blueprint which other councils would copy. But the World has changed since 2007. According to Paul Carter, The Leader of Kent County Council, Kent TV is no longer a priority in “different and difficult economic times”.

So was Kent TV a success or a failure? Was KCC right to kill it off?

The way we consume media is changing dramatically and for me, that’s the real reason Kent TV had to go.
Ironically, Ten Alps’ Chief Executive Alex Connock, speaking just days before the announcement to axe Kent TV, summed up the changes pretty neatly. Talking about the importance of search engine optimization Connock said, “Optimization is absolutely fundamental for any media business because of the atomization of content. Customers no longer visit the overall brand, but go straight to the individual story or video itself”.

In other words, while we are consuming more and more online video content, we expect to find that content widely spread around the internet and not simply on a single channel like Kent TV. For example, if I want to find a company to make a video for my business, I’d type “Kent Video Production” into Google and see what comes up. I wouldn’t go to a dedicated website which lists video production companies. If I wanted to find out how to bowl a cricket ball, I’d type “How to bowl” into Google. I wouldn’t look for a dedicated website for cricket bowling. I’m sure you get the general idea!

Connock’s remarks are a tacit admission that dedicated online channels, like Kent TV, are obsolete and (as KCC discovered) an unnecessary expense.

Kent County Council was quick to appreciate the power of online video when it launched Kent TV back in 2007. Today video is rapidly becoming an essential tool for communicating just about anything to anybody (try typing “video marketing tutorial” or “how to bowl off spin” into Google for instance).

Video is a powerful way for any organization to talk to its customers or stakeholders. Video content is the future. But running your own dedicated channel is not the way forward.

By the 1840s it had become clear that railways were the future. But people also realized that horses weren’t.

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