Qualicum Beach town council meetings will soon be broadcast live online and archived for later viewing.
Coun. Anne Skipsey had proposed webcasting the meetings to further council’s and the corporate vision to demonstrate “effective and transparent town operation.”
A staff report recommended going with the U.S.-based Granicus Inc. over Canadian NeuLion Solutions, since they both offered comparable services and required upfront costs of about $4,700, but the monthly cost is $300 with Granicus, compared to $500 to $979 with NeuLion depending on options.
“We really didn’t see any benefit to taking the higher cost,” said corporate administrator Heather Svensen. “We felt comfortable with what Granicus is offering.”
Coun. Neil Horner asked about finding a more local, or at least Canadian company, to provide the service, but Svensen said “believe it or not, these are the two companies that municipalities are using.”
She said NeuLion is used by many, including Parksville, but more use Granicus due to cost.
“We as staff are going for the best dollar for the tax payer, we’re not wanting to incur $979 a month as opposed to $300 a month when we’re getting the same result,” she said.
Svensen said Parksville, which started webcasting in early 2013, are happy with NeuLion but are considering switching for cost reasons.
In the months after Parksville started broadcasting and archiving their meetings online they found that less than a dozen people watched them live, but they were getting more than 1,000 plays a month of some portion of the searchable and indexed video.
Qualicum Beach council currently has a video camera set up to show the meetings to overflow audiences in the lobby, but unlike “the majority of municipalities,” does not broadcast them.