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Expanded Online Content Included in Sturgeon Bay’s Public Access TV Contract

In addition to the City of Sturgeon Bay contracting with Mann Communications to provide programs on the four public, educational and government (PEG) cable television channels in the city, a new three-year agreement put together is calling for an expanded online presence, so that others besides cable television subscribers could receive that content.

“The viewership on the channels is dwindling, number one, because it’s harder to reach and not everyone has Spectrum Charter Cable,” said Jason Mann of Mann Communications.

Both the city’s Cable Communication System Advisory Council and the Community Protection and Services Committee agreed on the contract revisions Nov. 1 when they met in back-to-back meetings. 

City administrator Josh Van Lieshout said he expects the new agreement will be before the Common Council for final approval at its Nov. 21 meeting.

“I don’t know exactly how this will play out, but that’s why I think we need to try it for a period of three years and make adjustments along the way as necessary,” Van Lieshout said. “I do want to emphasize, too, that the PEG channels aren’t going away. We’ll still take programming. We’ll still work on the [Sturgeon Bay High School] commencement ceremony and other things as requested by the school as needed.”

Given the advancements in technology to record video, Van Lieshout said Mann Communications would no longer need to record some 30 community events each year, as it has in the past, and under the new agreement will be able to receive that content recorded by others, such as from a local school district.

“People can do that now – they have an iPhone and a YouTube channel, and there you go,” he said. “You don’t need the guy with a camera, a tripod and a bunch of other equipment.”

Under the new agreement, Mann Communications will continue to operate Channels 986, 987, 989 and 990 of the city’s cable system, but specifically added to that are “internet-based channels such as YouTube, Public Access Facebook and Instagram.”

Mann said the city’s cable channels are being used for community events such as church services and city government meetings. Mann Communications also currently posts the city’s Common Council and Plan Commission meetings on the Sturgeon Bay Public Access online television website at sbtv.viebit.com.

The new agreement includes having Mann Communications publish videos to the city’s website and Sturgeon Bay Public Access Facebook page, as well as create and manage the Sturgeon Bay Public Access Instagram page and other media as may be directed.

It also calls for internet-based platforms to be used to “highlight and demonstrate the value of city services, as well as the quality of life in the City of Sturgeon Bay,” which could include city operations such as snow removal, solid waste or recycling collection, or duties of various committees and commissions.

Other provisions added in the new contract include each year having Mann Communications produce four videos of 5-10 minutes in length and 12 vignettes or “reels” (approximately one per month running for 30-90 seconds) highlighting subjects of interest in the city.

“The goal is to build all these little modules out, so not only are they going to be pushed to the web, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram – where people are more likely to see them – but then they are also going to kind of compile as the city logs a bunch of little videos that we can use,” Mann said.

The contract would pay Mann Communications $65,500 annually. Should the city elect to extend the term of the contract after three years, each year of the extension would increase the price by 1.5% over the prior year. 

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