A new kind of TV

By Zachary Gray and Will Henry

New TV is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the Newton community with a base to communicate news, opinions, and information through a local platform. Located on 23 Needham St., in Newton, MA, New TV also provides the community training with the latest media technologies.

New TV was established in 1991 to provide Newton with independent public access television. With the station’s growth in size, popularity, and demand, New TV expanded its channels to its current lineup of community, education, and government. In 2006, the station moved from its original location on Lincoln Street to its current, modern facility on Needham Street.

The general purpose of New TV is to provide the town of Newton with news taking place inside and surrounding the town. Another purpose of New TV is to provide entertainment to the station’s viewers via station programming. New TV also films various sporting events taking place in Newton schools and colleges. Both paid staff and interns film the games and provide play-by-play. Other filmed events include Newton school plays and town hall meetings.

Robert Kelly is the executive director of New TV. He handles a majority of the business movements of the company and over sees the staff members that work under him. Andrew Eldridge has been the media specialist for New TV since August of 2007. Whether it’s behind the scenes on set, updating the website, or anything having to do with technology, Andrew is the guy. He’s also involved with some of the marketing for New TV.

Shelly Kamanitz is the marketing director for the Newton-based non-profit. She has been part of New TV for a little over a year. Shelly’s responsibilities include writing press releases, marketing the New TV brand, sending emails to those who subscribe, and putting together newsletters. She was also in charge of redesigning the logo for the company.

Andrew and Shelly work together on nearly every project, thus they share an office. A large amount of their work deals with the website, which was launched on August 3 of 2011. New TV’s previous website wasn’t very functional and was only accessible by one person. Andrew took a majority of the work in creating and updating the current website.

With a new and updated website, New TV looks to expand on its number of online viewers. “We are actually in the process of doing a ‘phase 2’ of our website, which will involve a mobile site,” said Shelly. “The server that currently supplies our video is going from Flash to HTML 5, which will allow us to put it on a mobile site. This would allow viewers to watch video content on their iPhones.”

New TV not only shares videos through its channels and website, but also through Vimeo. The organization’s Vimeo channel has 163 videos, ranging from pilot episodes of its new series “The Folklorist” to town meeting and interviews. New TV currently does not have a YouTube channel, but there are talks about creating one for the organization’s education channel.

The main forms of social media New TV uses are Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook page was created on April 28, 2010. The page has 270 likes, and features stories and videos related to the Newton community. Andrew’s strategy to gain more viewers is to tag businesses and places that are mentioned in different stories. Furthermore, New TV’s Facebook likes many local businesses and pages to keep up to date with current events. New TV’s Facebook is directly linked to its Twitter handle, which has 183 followers. Whatever is posted on the Facebook page is also tweeted. Andrew and Shelly try to limit the number of posts to one a day, so followers don’t feel spammed whenever they log on to their respective social media sites.

Although most of the focus for New TV is on the programming and website, Shelly and Andrew both agree that social media is a necessary tool when it comes to promotion and marketing. “Last year was kind of like a rebirth of New TV with the new equipment, new classes, and new shows,” said Shelly. “As we add all of these features to our organization, we’ll be using social media a lot more to broadcast it. I definitely think it’s important and its something we need to expand upon.” As for expanding New TV’s social media, Shelly and Andrew agree that branding can only go so far; there has to be interesting material to grab people’s attention.

One of New TV’s main goals is to increase viewers. Social media is a fantastic tool to gain the attention of potential followers, and Shelly wants the most possible for the organization. “I don’t want 100, 200 likes,” said Shelly. “I want hundreds of likes, maybe even thousands.”

If there were any suggestions concerning social media and promotion for Andrew, Shelly, and New TV, it would be a couple things. First, the Facebook and Twitter pages could be promoted within programming. For example, the credits after a program could feature the web-address for New TV’s pages with the phrase “Like us on Facebook” after it. This could bring more viewers to the social media pages, thus receiving more likes, followers, shares, etc. Secondly, the Twitter page could feature posts separate from those on Facebook. A person who uses both Facebook and Twitter may only follow one outlet because they both generate the same information. Furthermore, the use of hash-tags would make New TV appear in searches on Twitter, thus gaining more followers.

The suggestions are minor, but would be key in gaining more interest both online and on-air. For the past 20-plus years, New TV has provided a platform to the Newton community for opinions, news, and information. Perhaps in these next 20 years, it can gain many more viewers and followers who can enjoy the benefits of New TV.


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