MRVTV MEETING MINUTES
Date and Time: Thursday, 1-14-2021 @ 6:03pm
Present: Lisa Loomis, Rob Williams, Ilse Sigmund, Ian Sweet, Ned Farquhar, Tony Italiano, Roger Nishi, Rob Perry, Brian Shupe, Liz Levey, John Daniell, Dan Eckstein (6:30pm)
Location: via ZOOM Video call.
Welcome/Additions, changes to Agenda
- Lisa opened the meeting @ 6:03pm
- no changes to agenda
No public present
Approval of minutes of Sept 10, 2020 board meeting
Liz made motion to accept the minutes as written, Ned seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
DIRECTOR’s REPORT (please see report to get all the details)
Rob Perry, our new Executive Director, has been busy!
- Been on a steep learning curve as he takes the reins. In particular, Youtube Studio has limited capabilities which limits the flexibility of the Covered Bridge Camera
- We were dropped by our current bookkeeper and have switched to 802GreenMountain Bookkeeping. Phil Stevens will be taking care of our needs. 802GMBK came recommended by our Tax Accountant.
- Sent out holiday cards to sponsors and town partners
- Planned 2021 Budget
MRVTV won 3rd place at the ACM-NE Nor’easter Awards for “The Mend” produced and created at MRVTV studios by Anna Nasset and Tony Italiano with The Center for Crime Victim Services. The Board applauded the prize – and Tony’s contribution to it – as there were many entries and this is a real honor. Tony highlighted how good Anna’s work is – and continues to be.
- The numbers reflect the COVID environment we have had to work in this past year. Lower volunteer camera hours and indoor studio time, but more time with outdoor studio, Tony Zoom/Camera time, Downloads.
Top Videos for 2020 – Webcam at the top, followed by Tiger Auto repair and tree hitting bridge
- Webcam continues to drive our (excellent) YouTube viewership.
- Rob confirmed we do get ad money from our live stream off the Web Cam. It earns roughly $200 annually, but we can’t control what advertisers show – they are usually just 5 seconds long before you can skip.
- Rob said he would try to get Sugarbush data and compare. Might be interesting.
- Facebook has slowed down, maybe because we slowed on like campaigns.
- Discussion about creating fresh content for YouTube– short videos to keep it fresh. Keith liked to film during his free time, but that is not required. We could also make edits from old MRVTV video.
- Lisa suggested reposting from other community posts – as long as it isn’t boosting a specific for-profit business.
- Projected business sponsorships for 2020 settling at $4,709.96, with $100 outstanding. Rob Williams suggested we keep trying to collect as the owner of that business is currently out of the country, but expected back in the Spring.
- 2021 is just starting to come together and budgeted the same as 2020.
Without live events we stopped fundraising activities. Agreed to form a fundraising committee to brainstorm ideas.
We received the Vermont COVID monies ($14,362.77 in total) which shows in the 2020 P&L, and $15,000 from the PPP Covid monies – currently on the balance sheet.
We discussed possible 2nd round of PPP monies and/or other relief funds. Rob P. said he would follow up.
Brian pointed Rob to the loan officer at NSB who is very helpful. Rob had a good experience with NSB on first round application for loan forgiveness.
BUDGET – TOP LINE
Our 2020 Net income was +$16, 556 over budget with VT monies, but not the PPP monies (coming in 2021)
The cable grant was less than budgeted, and is expected to decrease further in 2021
State is studying the Community Channels and how state subsidies might support us in the future. It was a great discussion, and Lisa recommends we all view it.
See recorded meetings here:
P&L 2020 Review and Proposed 2021 Budget
- Income was $8,530.55 ahead of budget. It varied from Budget as follows:
- Vermont COVID Payment was not budgeted, but came in at $14,362.77.
- Cable grant was lower by $5,165.11
- Misc. Income was over $2,207.79
- Fundraising was $2,875.00 due to COVID restrictions and inability to host events
- Expenses were $5,304.75 over budget. They varied form budget as follows:
- Modest savings were achieved almost across the board. Some of these savings are related to restricted activity from COVID.
- Over in payroll due to extra hours needed to get Rob training.
- Capital Equipment purchases were below budget.
- Other Income was ahead by almost $4,800 due to less spending on capital equipment.
- Net Income was ahead $16,556.24.
HD payback plan – we need to follow up on this and continue to pay ourselves back. It appears that we were due to pay ourselves $5000 annually and we missed 2020 payment. And next we pay $5K in 2021 and 2022 as well. Rob to follow-up and confirm what we have done, and what is left to do. We will revisit our payback plan in April meeting.
- Most of budget is flat lined.
- Cable grant reduced per Roger’s recommendation
- Fundraising reduced as it is still a challenging environment.
- We will still be adding the $15,000 PPP monies in as a line item.
- We decided not to pursue Board Insurance as it was too expensive.
John made a motion to accept the budget as proposed, Ian seconded.
Discussion: Roger made sure we recognized that revenue is going down and this track is unsustainable. Without the COVID monies we would be running in the red. Board agreed we must continue to find more revenue, or eventually we will have to slash expenses. Board agreed we should reserve a good amount of time in April Meeting to brainstorm and prioritize our efforts with growing our revenue and/or saving money.
With this budget approval we recognize we still have to attend to our HD payback plan which is not reflected in the budget.
Motion passed unanimously.
Program/Technical Update: Tony
- With no live meetings to cover, Tony continues to help broadcast ZOOM meetings.
- Studio air filters – HEPA filters and plexiglass were discussed. Brian shared that he has had excellent results with his HEPA filter. Board lukewarm on spending money as COVID will pass, outside studio will open in a couple months, small pods are using the studio already.
- He has been covering church services as a volunteer and is in high demand. He also volunteered to cover Camp Meade music event in the fall.
- We have been able to provide LIVE streaming on meetings because of ZOOM…eventually we will need to invest in new equipment, possibly laptops) and new fiber drops to cover meetings with a live stream (other than Waitsfield which already has a drop). In April we will brainstorm how we prepare for post-COVID.
- Board thanked Tony (and Keith and Rob) for pivoting so successfully during COVID.
- Waitsfield Cable update- Roger
- People are still cord cutting and revenue is going down.
- Meanwhile expenses are a challenge. Example: to carry the local channels we have to pay a lot more than we used to, but the larger cable companies get better deals.
- AMOs hope to identify new income possibly based on Broadband revenue through state tax program. Roger said he would not be able to support that in current operating environment – customers will not accept a 5% increase.
- Roger highlighted the potential of subscriptions or memberships to MRVTV to help us raise our own money as it may be hard to get more out of Cable companies, or anything out of Broadband.
- Board agreed we should do some planning and homework to cover this and previous topics around our financial future.
- Tony advocated more YouTube streaming so people come to rely on it, then rolling over to subscription may be easier. Tony will flag this for the April meeting.
- Rob brought up general streaming of the channel – either direct from the Web site or using an OTT player (e.g. Roku) to provide access outside of Cable.
- Lisa invited Roger to join future Executive Committee Meeting to help us work on this challenge and prepare for April meeting. Knowing Cable company thinking on this will help us.
- Ned offered to participate in Exec Meeting to offer his experience in membership models.
Open Board Seat Elections
- Dan and John are up for re-election. Their respective 3-year terms expire in April.
- John expressed willingness to serve.
- Dan expressed a desire to move off the Board, but was convinced to stay until we get through COVID. His experience during these tricky times is greatly valued. He (we) might seek out potential person(s) which could fill his seat if/when he needs to resign.
Rob W. made motion to vote the slate, Ian seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
- Mad River Choral might be a good future revenue stream – as they may continue to wish to film and broadcast their concerts.
- Rob Williams, Ilse, and Ned offered to work on Fundraising Committee along with Rob P, Tony and Liz. This group will get together in the coming weeks.
- We need to do a public relations campaign to show how MRVTV played an important role in the community during COVID. We stepped up! Time to blow our horn, which lays groundwork for establishing our VALUE and later building paying membership.
- Lisa and Rob are trying to get more funds from the School Board to cover meetings.
- We do get monies from the Towns, but we have proven ourselves to be there above and beyond with regards to school Board meetings. It is worth asking.
Dan made motion to adjourn. Rob W. seconded. Motion passed unanimously
Meeting was adjourned at 8:02pm