INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES TO: Mayor and Members of Council
FROM: Gene Lusk, B.Eng.
Business Analyst, Information Services DATE: January 4, 2013
SUBJECT: R13-03: Video Streaming of Council Sessions RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended that:
1. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent continue to publish TVCOGECO Council session videos to the Internet 48 hours after the session is held.
In 2011, the Information Technology Services team was asked to investigate and potentially offer live video streaming of Council sessions.
Live audio streaming of Council sessions has been available on the Chatham-Kent Community Portal since Council’s approval on September 17, 2007. Appendix B contains a 12-month summary of the visit counts to the audio service during the “live” and archived Council sessions, as well as the total number of plays of the archived videos by meeting date.
Research was conducted on the offerings of several Ontario communities and is
summarized in Table 1: Community Web Streaming and Television Broadcast Summary on page two of this report. Communities, such as Thunder Bay and Guelph, had
partnered with cable providers to stream their Council sessions to their websites “live” and to provide archived copies as well. Since 2011, Brantford, Lakeshore and most recently London have also added both “live” and archived Council sessions to their websites.
Lakeshore does not have a television partner for their meetings and have implemented their own web video system using the services of Swagit Productions
(www.swagit.com). The City of London, although partnered with RogersTV for archived television and Internet broadcasting, has also implemented their own web video system using the services of Sire Technologies (www.siretechnologies.com). The video
production values of both implementations compared to the quality of videos provided by television partners are not as polished and professional. They also lack the ability to show the images that are projected onto the projection screens in the council chambers or the image is illegible.
Table 1: Community Web Streaming and Television Broadcast Summary Community Live Streaming Community Website Archive Streaming Community Website Live Television Broadcast Archive Television Broadcast Television Partner Amherstburg Brantford RogersTV Chatham-Kent TVCOGECO Guelph RogersTV Kingston TVCOGECO Kingsville Lakeshore Leamington CFTV London RogersTV Sarnia TVCOGECO
Thunder Bay Shaw
As indicated in the Report to Council dated July 26, 2007, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent does not own the video equipment currently on site and does not have ownership over the video feed that is produced at current Council sessions. The equipment is owned, maintained and operated by TVCOGECO. In order for the Information
Technology Services division to provide live, professional-quality video streaming, video equipment would have to be purchased, staff would need to be trained and dedicated technical support would have to be provided to run the equipment for each Council session. One-time equipment and hardware costs have been projected up to $135,000 with the addition of on-going resource costs for staff time, maintenance and lifecycle budget requirements. Information Technology Services is continuing to investigate potential lower cost options as new technologies and services become available in the marketplace.
TVCOGECO has invested in equipment and staff to televise Chatham-Kent Council sessions to its customers. TVCOGECO has indicated that this local television feature is an added value provided to their subscribers in a very competitive market. TVCOGECO is pleased to continue supporting our local government and representatives. For the pilot period starting in November of 2011, TVCOGECO agreed to provide their coverage of Council sessions for duplication on the municipal website, with consideration that TVCOGECO has first airing rights for 48 hours. After 48 hours, the coverage could be made available on the Municipality of Chatham-Kent website.
TVCOGECO is investigating web streaming options for their 22 stations across Ontario, both from a partnership perspective and in terms of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requirements.
It is important to note that video streaming would be accessible to broadband or high-speed internet customers only. Audio webcasting of Council sessions via the Internet will be maintained so that all citizens in the community with low-speed Internet will have the opportunity to engage in this service.
Information Technology Services has investigated video hosting providers. Free video streaming providers such as YouTube have limitations on video length. Free providers often embed advertising into or around the video content. The Municipality of Chatham-Kent would have no control over the advertising content associated with our Council session videos.
An internally hosted solution would require additional costly bandwidth and potentially additional hardware to ensure high quality video playback and to prevent the slowdown of existing web services.
For the pilot period, Chatham-Kent used Vimeo as the hosting provider at a cost of $199 US/year. Vimeo provides a low cost, advertisement free option with mobile
compatibility. Vimeo also provides analysis tools that will allow Chatham-Kent to monitor and report on usage of the video streaming.
DVD recording of Council sessions is already being conducted by the Municipal Clerk’s office. For the pilot period, the DVD recording was converted to a web streaming
compatible format and the video was promoted to a video hosting site. Based on the pilot, the staff time required to convert and promote the recording is minimal and can be conducted while completing other tasks.
Starting in 2013, TVCOGECO has asked that the Council sessions only be available from the TVCOGECO website. The Municipality has added links on the Municipality of Chatham-Kent website to the TVCOGECO Council sessions video webpage.
The Vimeo account that was created has enough storage for at least one year of Council session videos. In order to stay within our current storage limits and budget, only a rolling 13-14 months of Council session videos will be kept on the Internet. This should still allow citizens to review archived meetings related to annual agenda items such as the Municipal budget. If the Municipality needed to extend the archive to two years, there would be an additional $199 US annual cost to increase the Internet storage space required for the additional videos.
During the pilot period, there were occasionally delays in posting the Council session videos to the Internet. These delays were caused by damaged recordings either caused by defects in the physical DVD and/or by the recording equipment. Although Information Technology Services were able to recover the videos, the Municipality may need to consider investigating replacement options for video recording in the future. There was also a period where the video hosting provider was having technical issues with posting long duration videos such as the Council sessions.
The Information Technology Services team will also continue to investigate video hosting options including those used by other municipalities such as Lakeshore and London. However, the service costs, quality of the video, and the partnership with TVCOGECO for high quality video production will need to be considered.
Appendix A shows the statistics for the first four Council session videos posted at the end of 2011. As expected the first video posted had a very large viewership because many people would be examining the new video service. As time went on, the
viewership leveled off to slightly lower levels.
Appendix B shows the video and audio statistics for 2012. Videos receiving high viewership (greater than 50 plays) typically had agendas discussing topics of great interest to the general public such as sidewalks, wind turbines, and the Capitol Theatre. Videos receiving low viewership (less than 20 plays) were typically due to delays
caused by the previously mentioned technical issues. COUNCIL STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS
The recommendations in this report support the following Council Directions: Healthy, Active Citizens
High Quality Environment Through Innovation Destination Chatham-Kent!
Magnet for Sustainable Growth Prosperous and Thriving Community
Has the potential to support all Council Directions Neutral issues (does not support negatively or positively) CONSULTATION
Several municipalities were surveyed to determine their Council session streaming environment.
Consultation has taken place with the Municipal Clerk and the local office of TVCOGECO.
The fee of $199.00 US per year will be funded with existing budget dollars from within the Municipal Clerk’s office.
Prepared by: Reviewed by:
____________________________ __________________________ Gene Lusk, B.Eng. Catherine Fitzgerald, BES, GISAS Business Analyst Manager, Information Services
Reviewed by: Reviewed by:
____________________________ ___________________________ Helen McLaren, CMMIII Gerry Wolting, B. Math. CA.
Director, Information Technology Services General Manager, Corporate Services
Attachments: Appendix A: Initial Web Video Launch Visits for 2011 Appendix B: Web Video and Audio Visits for 2012 c. Judy Smith, Municipal Clerk
P:\RTC\ITS\2013\Appendix A ‐ R13‐03 Video Streaming of Council Sessions.docx Appendix A: Initial Web Video Launch Visits for 2011
RegularMeeting Council Date NumberArchived of Video Plays
P:\RTC\ITS\2013\Appendix B ‐ R13‐03 Video Streaming of Council Sessions.docx Appendix B: Web Video and Audio Visits for 2012
Regular Council Meeting Date Number of Plays Archived Video Number of Visits “Live” Audio Number of Visits Archived Audio Total Number of Visits - Audio 16-Jan-12 58 6 29 35 30-Jan-12 56 10 23 33 13-Feb-12 72 6 26 32 5-Mar-12 78 22 0 22 6-Mar-12 26 12 45 57 26-Mar-12 30 9 5 14 16-Apr-12 40 3 8 11 7-May-12 19 2 7 9 28-May-12 49 3 17 20 11-Jun-12 2 1 6 7 25-Jun-12 30 6 7 13 16-Jul-12 26 16 17 33 13-Aug-12 12 2 15 17 27-Aug-12 12 7 7 14 10-Sep-12 11 1 11 12 24-Sep-12 4 11 15 26 15-Oct-12 34 21 18 39 29-Oct-12 36 17 16 33 5-Nov-12 27 22 27 49 26-Nov-12 51 17 26 43 10-Dec-12 7 15 23 38 Year Total 680 209 348 557 Average Plays/Visits 32 10 17 27 Maximum Plays/Visits 78 22 45 67