Missed the council meeting? Catch the repeat

By on 27/02/2013 in Blog

Webcast screengrabMedia officer Geoff Coleman looks at the early success of Birmingham City Council’s new webcasting service.

Sitting in the public gallery of most council meetings can be a lonely experience - it's not exactly standing room only is it? You could easily be forgiven for thinking the decisions and deliberations of local government simply don't matter to the general public in 2013.

But over 8,000 views of our new streaming service inside the first month would suggest the people of Birmingham do care about the many huge decisions that are made in the Council House. This stuff matters.

Sure it’s not 'Left-handed Celebrities Wrestling on Ice' (coming soon to a prime-time slot) or whatever the latest TV sensation is. But this ‘fly on the wall’ look at issues like public health, adult social care, bin collections and my personal favourite, gritting, is attracting a growing audience.

Earlier this month, following a successful year-long trial streaming Full Council meetings online Birmingham City Council extended the service to other high profile council meetings.

Working in partnership with leading specialists Public-i we now cover Full Council, Cabinet, Planning, District Committees and a range of scrutiny committee meetings - offering easy access to Birmingham residents unable to attend meetings in person.

In addition to watching meetings live, viewers can search archived broadcasts for specific debates, reports or speeches. The meetings are time-stamped to make searching simple. We also link to all relevant reports.

The early viewing figures are very encouraging. And one thing is already very evident - like devotees of ITV4 our viewers clearly love repeats.

Roughly 80 per cent of our hits so far have been for the archive service - as the people of Birmingham catch up with the democratic process

The chart below gives a breakdown of the first 4,000 hits to the new service and as you can see, roughly 80 per cent of all views were for the archive.

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The live figures have also been very encouraging. But the fact that 3,268 of the first 4,000 views were for the archive probably sets the pattern for future viewing figures.

Yesterday councillors met for what was arguably the biggest full council meeting of the year – the budget debate. And, while a handful of residents did attend the public gallery, that figure was dwarfed by the 1,840 hits to our live webcast.

There may be many reasons why the public aren't flocking to council meetings in person. But one obstacle is clearly the fact that most meetings take place during the day - when other commitments make it difficult for many people to attend.

Our figures show that doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of interest though and you can now catch up with the big Birmingham City Council meetings at a time to suit you.

So if you missed yesterday's Full Council meeting but care about the huge issues debated in the Council Chamber, make sure you catch our fully indexed, searchable archive.

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