Student television is a growing phenomenon, with a large number of students’ unions across the country investing money in their very own student-run stations. This year marks the 50th anniversary of student television, and it’s high time we all started paying more attention to the young minds that will soon be steering our creative industries.
You could be forgiven for dismissing student television as a hobby. The stations are, after all, purely funded by not-for-profit students’ unions and their output isn’t designed for profit. ROI, click throughs and SEO rarely cross the mind of eager station managers who instead focus on great editing, engaging stories and audience-driven content. But these stations do so much more than simply make programmes for fun. They can be as serious, ruthless and determined as small or larger commercial businesses. Their sales are counted in YouTube views and Facebook shares, their profits are recognition, skill sets and of course, awards.
This year’s National Student Television Association (NaSTA) conference and awards took place at Loughborough University. It was a weekend celebrating the hard work and achievements of student television stations up and down the country. The day consisted of talks from industry professionals offering candid advice about working in the television industry, as well as technical forums to discuss the latest innovations.
But the main event of the weekend was a glamorous awards ceremony presented by brand new Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya. Awards were handed out by industry professionals, commenting on the unbelievable amount of talent and incomparable output of the stations who took part, from regular NaSTA winners Loughborough Students Union TV (LSUTV) right down to brand new Fresh TV, who received their very first NaSTA award.
The awards this year were on another level from previous years. There were strong submissions from every station and fierce competition for every position. Live streamed in full HD, LSUTV proved its professionalism and passion by scooping more than just a few awards for their submissions while also planning and hosting the huge event. It was also clear from the atmosphere in the room that each of the stations have their own brand: GUST of Glasgow University proving their name for loudness, GuildTV for their outgoing pranks and Warwick TV for their infamously sarcastic twitter feed commentary of the evening (and, ironically, winning a highly commended for Best Writing).
What can we learn from these student stations? There are several ways in which student television can be positively applied to a content or video marketing strategy to help you get the most out of your video production. After all, content marketing is more or less all a student television station does. Not only are they maximising limited budgets, they must rely on external recognition to prove they’re worth the investment of their students’ union.
So a lesson from student television is that content marketing can be fun! Of course in a business context, profits and ROI mean an awful lot more than YouTube views and NaSTA awards. Regardless, if every business can implement a content marketing strategy that is as strong and passionate as student TV stations, then the returns would be phenomenal. Fun and creative content marketing can strengthen your brand and increase loyalty so that slowly but surely, that ROI will begin to increase.