Television And Education Combined

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

How did you come up with the idea to create a thematic channel dedicated to learning English?After many years’ experience in the TV business on different markets, we realized we wanted to be engaged in a project combining two main things: usefulness for people and personal satisfaction for our team. We knew how to produce and combine television and education and show this mix on screen. For 10 years we were producing and distributing education programming and cooperating with different channels and networks worldwide. We needed around a year to produce and acquire necessary content for the launch of our channel. English Club TV was launched on Friday, August 15, 2008. We had a few ideas for the channel’s profile but decided to move into the English language learning direction. We are happy that our activity helps people to learn English and develop their language skills. Are all the programs on ECTV the channel’s own productions?Not all of them. During the last 5 years we have been investigating our viewers’ needs in different countries. We receive regular feedback from our subscribers via our website and social networking services. We have divided our viewers into 3 groups: viewers who want to improve their English, viewers who have just started learning English or are at a basic level; and viewers who are at an upper-intermediate level and want not only to improve their language knowledge, but also enrich their knowledge in different areas. Mainly for this last group of viewers we acquire content and adapt it to make it more educational. For the first two groups we produce our own programs. What is important for us is to make English learning interesting for our viewers and encourage them to keep learning and achieve good results. Our own productions give us an opportunity to extend cooperation with our clients: negotiating our cooperation we usually discuss not only linear channel retransmission, but also content delivery to services such as VoD, SVoD, web TV or mobile TV. How do you guarantee the quality of learning?While producing the content, we are constantly cooperating with language methodologists and our hosts are native speakers. Also, we have a long and fruitful cooperation with an international language school called International House that operates in more than 50 countries worldwide. As for the content we acquire for our channel, we check it thoroughly with our target groups. Also, 95% of English Club TV programming is subtitled. How many programs are dedicated to each group: kids and adults? What is the percentage?First of all I should remind you that more than 1.5 billion people speak English all over the world and 1 billion people are learning it. Around 80% of people throughout the world think that multilingual citizens are better placed to take advantage of the economic, educational and professional opportunities. Regarding our programs, approx. 16% of them are dedicated to kids and teens aged from 3 to 16 years old. There is a separate everyday kids’ slot that is extended on a regular basis. The rest of the content is not age-restricted. Are there commercial breaks or plans to introduce them?There are no commercial breaks on English Club TV and we do not plan to introduce them at the moment. In some individual cases we give the right to our clients (cable or DTH operators) to insert them. Many English Club TV programs are available for free on YouTube. Does it not interfere with gaining new subs on the Internet at your own on-line service or in selling the channel to catv operators? No, it is not a problem for English Club TV. Almost all programs that are available on YouTube are out of our programming grid, as well as, VoD library. Approx. 40% of the current TV programming was produced in the last 5-6 months. The average airing time of each program is approx 18 months, so if a viewer starts watching English Club TV after a break, he will have an opportunity to watch not only a new series of favorite TV programs, but also new TV projects. Besides, we should not forget about technologies that are driving many economic fields. We are broadcasting less and less SD content and producing new one in HD only. This fact made us consider launching an HD version of the channel, which we are going to do on April 1, 2013. We aim to deliver this sensational experience to viewers in as many HDTV-equipped homes as possible and in as many countries in Europe where English Club TV is broadcasted. Our next step will be considering the possibility of broadcasting English Club TV HD in the Pan-Asian region. How do you evaluate the activity of users at www.english-club.tv? What percentage of visitors decide to buy online subscription to the content?Service “On-the-Go” is available for subscribers of English Club TV website. This is a project that has its own rules and strategy, but it supports our viewers who register there to communicate via English Club TV social network, they also receive methodological support via English Club TV Live Classroom, have an opportunity to read latest news and find a lot of interesting information on the page “Handbox”. Everything they need to learn and have fun. We receive very actual information from our subscribers regarding English Club TV channel’s programs’ ratings, their comments and opinions. We started producing a lot of new TV projects namely using our viewers’ comments. What is also important for us in terms of our global distribution strategy, is to have information regarding the countries from which our subscribers come from. For example, subs from US and UK are on 5th and 6th place in terms of the number of users and the channel is not available in their cable or DTH offers at the moment. In TOP-20 countries there are also subscribers from Turkey, Germany, the Czech Republic, Iran, Poland, Spain and others. Interest in the English language has been growing significantly in the world in the last few years and we feel this too. How does the channel distribution look like? Which markets are most important to you and where do you see the biggest potential for the channel’s growth?Our strategy is to give an opportunity to learn English everywhere worldwide. I would like to mention that English Club TV is the best channel for English language learning for many reasons: material visualization, high quality exclusive content, diversity of themes. Sometimes during negotiation, I ask decision makers whether they have educational channels in their offer, smiling they answer ‘no’. It is a pity that some people do not understand social responsibility, do not think about future generations and education of their subscribers. Fortunately, such situations happen seldom. I am convinced that television should not only entertain, but also educate and help. That is what we do. Approx. 60% of English Club TV channel subscribers are in Eastern Europe. We started our distribution on this market and have already gotten the subscriber’s loyalty there. But the situation is changing. While distributing English Club TV in Central and Western Europe we also feel the demand for our channel in ex-Yugoslavia countries, Hungary, Poland, France and Turkey. On November 1st, 2012 we launched the channel’s signal at MEASAT 3A satellite, which now gives us opportunity to cover the Asian market, as well as the Middle East and a main part of African countries. Asian market is developing very fast and I hope to increase the number of our subscribers there soon. We have already signed contracts with companies from Malaysia and Jordan. English Club TV is always present at the most important events like MIPCOM, MIPTV, CSTB, and CASBAA. In December, English Club TV was presented for the first time at ATF Singapore. Our next strategic step is to extend our presence in Latin America and North America. We are receiving positive feedback from these territories and have already started negotiations with potential clients.