Michael Pollock, founder of local news website Ossining.com, met with Village Manager Rick Herbek in July, 2005 to discuss his proposal for video streaming Village board meeting over the Internet and making those streams part of an on-demand video archive for the public to view over the Internet at their convenience.
Subsequently, on September 12, 2005, the Village board discussed Mr. Pollock’s proposal at a work session meeting but did not arrive at a decision. Crotonblog spoke with Michael on Thursday, September 29, 2005, to better understand the benefits his service might be to Croton residents and the public at large.
Currently, Village board meetings are televised live and available to only Cablevision customers on channel 78, and are broadcast every other Monday at 8:00 PM, thus leaving subscribers of satellite TV without access to both of Croton’s community channels, one for the Village and the other for the Croton Harmon school district.
According to ConsumerAffairs.com, 27 percent of U.S. households subscribe only to satellite service — up from 19 percent in 2004 and 12 percent in 2000. Sixty percent of households subscribe only to cable service — down from 62 percent in 2004 and 66 percent in 2000.
“The Internet would guarantee open and free access to anyone interested in viewing Village Board and/or Croton Harmon Board of Education public meetings remotely from any network attached computer or certain types of mobile devices. And since the meetings would be archived, viewers can watch, pause, fast-forward and rewind the videos at their convenience.”, added Mr. Pollock.
In addition, the cost to Village residents is very reasonable. Mr. Pollack said, “The proposal offers a cost of $125.00 per Village Board meeting, which includes archiving services and the ability to stream live video to 400 concurrent viewers.”
Streaming and archived videos would all be available from the Village website, www.crotononhudson-ny.gov, by simply clicking a link which would lead viewers to a page where the videos can be seen in an embedded 320 (w) by 240 (d) pixel video player in Windows media format.
To enable video streaming for the Village, Michael proposes installing his own dedicated media server at the Municipal building which splits the live camera’s video feed, encodes the signal, and at the same time, the processed video is pushed to live media server on the internet, and is subsequently available as streaming video.
Recently, Michael was featured by the Journal News, in an article written by Croton resident Robert Marchant, called “Municipal meetings online”, where he announced that he will soon begin offering video on-demand services to the Ossining Board of Education. His website, Ossining.com, also presents video advertisements from local businesses that are identical in presentation to his proposed initiative with the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.
Photo: Michael Pollock, pictured left, with Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, which has been on the best seller list for 257 weeks, at his office in September 2005, in Phoenix, AZ.