Digital Options to Replace Media Guides
Virginia’s Next Option to Replace Media Guides
The Pending Legislation
In mid-April (April 12-13) the Division I Recruiting Cabinet will review two legislative proposals (from the Pac-10 and SEC) involving media guides that could have a lasting effect on athletics department budgets and how schools recruit prospective student-athletes.
NCAA rules currently allow institutions to print a recruiting brochure or media guide, but not both. The publications are limited to one color (except for the front and back covers) and may not exceed 8.5 x11 inches in size or more than 208 pages in length. Like many other schools, Virginia devotes the front section of its media guides to recruiting information and the remainder to records, historical data, and key player and coach biographies more relevant to media covering these athletics teams.
The Pac-10 proposal would halt the printing of media guides, recruiting brochures or any other athletics publications (other than game programs) and move those publications online.
The SEC’s version would allow institutions to continue to print media guides (and maintain the current standards for color, size and length) but would prohibit schools from sending them to prospects or their parents/legal guardians, educational institution or coach.
A large number of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) members believe one of the proposals will be adopted, if not now, then in the near future.
The ACC office believes that the SEC proposal – allowing media guides to be printed but outlawing their use in recruiting – will be the one that passes. This proposal has an effective date of August 1 of this year. The NCAA Board of Directors would then have to approve it on April 29, but for all intents and purposes, the vote by the NCAA Legislative Council on April 12-13 will be the decisive one. For this matter, the Board of Directors would not likely overturn the decision by the Legislative Council.
Virginia needs to be prepared to have its decision in place prior to this legislation passing in order to begin the process of converting the media guides into its new platform
It is the recommendation of the media relations staff that we move in this direction, even if the bylaws are not amended.
The goal would be to build each sport a “digital media guide” site that would function to assist in recruiting and also provide the information members of the media require to do their jobs. Using the services available in the media relations office and video services area, we feel this would provide UVa coaches a greater tool to interact with potential student-athletes and a tremendous pool of information for anyone interested in Virginia’s athletics programs.
Some current formats (Flash) are not viewable on all portable devices (e.g. iPhone/iPad). It is important to take this into consideration when selecting the format.
Selecting a Digital Format
A number of institutions have already ceased printing media guides or are moving in that directions toward one of several different digitial platforms. Many took this step as a cost-cutting measure. None of these options completely eliminates costs previously associated with the printing of media guides.
Some schools have set up high-end sites exclusively for recruiting while continuing to produce a media guide, either in print or digital format.
The Adobe format, in common use for un-editable or secure documents. PDF can also be made interactive and formatted to look professional. Like Flash, reading a PDF file requires the Adobe reader.
• The software for producing PDF become more accessible and the functionality (interactivity) in the resulting documents increase.
• Media guides have traditionally been produced in PDF as a byproduct of the original intention of printing. These PDFs can often be easily made ‘downloadable’ by reducing the size (and resolution) of the document.
• Reading a PDF file requires the Adobe reader. However this reader is both free and in common use.
• Can present the entire publication in color.
• External links – including websites, photos and videos, can be embedded into the PDF file, making it more interactive.
• Re-purposing the document so that it is suitably laid out for browsing and interactivity takes a little more time and expertise.
• Not searchable by Google or other search engines.
• Sites can be slow to load.
• Embedded links to other website or video are not always evident to the viewer.
• Can vary from $400 to $800 per publication. There is an annual renewal costs to archive files.
• Additional staff time is required to incorporate embedded links.
• Maryland Women’s Basketball (non interactive)
• Fresno State Baseball Guide (interactive w/video – HYBRID)
• Xavier Volleyball Guide (interactive w/video – HYBRID) • Stanford Baseball Media Guide (non interactive) • California Women’s Basketball Media Guide (non interactive – very good layout)
Commonly used for building websites, and read via an Internet browser such as Firefox on Internet Explorer. This is the most commonly used and versatile format. HTML is the most popular format for production of online annual reports. Here are some of the reasons why:
• Flexibility with online viewing experience; e.g. getting away from “books” and creating something organized differently.
• Can be easily indexed and easily referenced.
• HTML is highly interactive.
• HTML is highly interactive.
• Using HTML to house your report or document maximises its readability (accessibly).
• Almost every PC and MAC has an Internet browser on it.
• Almost everyone is comfortable with browsing.
• HTML is the easiest format for providing custom content based on a user’s platform.
• Production of HTML documents is quicker and cheaper than other formats (subject to complexity of document).
• HTML can be moved into online applications for functions such as usage tracking, editing, collection of enquiries and ‘send to friend’. We can even place documents securely behind log in only areas.
• HTML can be indexed and made searchable.
• HTML documents are usually quite compact – file sizes are smaller so… download times are reduced, storage can be cheaper and bandwidth charges kept low.
Note: The largest online video provider in the business (YouTube) is effectively now an HTML site. With the release of their new layout a few days ago, the “HTML5” video player is now the default (as opposed to the Flash player).
• Can be labor-intensive, e.g. creating a whole new website from scratch.
• Visual appeal can be limited depending on the skill of the designer.
• HTML documents do not provide for significant animation – although this can be added using Flash.
•Varies can vary from $0 to $1,000 per sport, depending on internal HTML knowledge.
• BYU Football Online Media Guides
• Villanova Men’s Basketball (HYBRID – Incorporates video)
Some websites are built using flash; readers need a free plug in to open flash based documents – but these are now very commonly installed. Many new browser versions come with the readers pre-installed.
• Can be very engaging for external public groups (e.g. prospective student-athletes, alumni, donors, fans and friends).
• One-stop shopping for information that can be easily indexed and presented.
• The main advantage of Flash technology is that it can be highly interactive and provide animation for engaging your audience. Many websites and website features (such as calculators ad games ) are produced in Flash for this very reason.
• Production of Flash based documents is more in-depth and therefore more expensive. Generally there is more art direction and creativity required.
• Most formal documents such as media guides do not require a high level of animation or interactivity (e.g. games).
• Information is not always easily accessible for media uses (download and print). Much more benefit to recruiting than media relations.
• Could use more video to engage the audience, show personality. There is a lot of cost involved and not much video implemented.
• Flash does not play on all portable digital players.
• $35,000-50,000 per initial set-up and re-design, just for one sport
• South Florida Football Interactive Guide
• Duke Men’s Basketball (this is a recruiting site, not website, but good example of the format)
• Baylor Women’s Volleyball
• Kansas State Men’s Golf
• Stanford Women’s Basketball (this is a recruiting site, not website, but good example of the format)
Hybrid – Incorporating Multiple Platforms to create Interactive Digital Presentations
• Can be built with or without video.
• The athletics department controls the length, look and the amount of and type of content.
• Allows more video content to come into play. Video represents 70 percent of all new Internet content, and can be particularly powerful when dealing with the age demographic representing prospective student-athletes, college-aged fans and recent alumni.
• The mix of information and entertainment gives the user a more interactive experience and a better connection (especially with the implementation of video).
• Relatively cost-effective. Get a fair amount of “bang for your buck.”
• Can update/correct/change anything at anytime to keep information/records current, etc. Some versions can be integrated with Stat Crew for the auto-update of season and career statistics.
• Assumes mostly on-screen consumption for the user.
• Can be tough to download, find information, print. Even more so than the traditional PDF.
• Some entertainment value, some informational value, but not great for either. Does it try to do too much? Jack of all trades, master of none?
• Can $0 (with the company’s advertising), or be around $200-$400 per publication, or $3,400-$5,500 for software licenses for some of the more “PDF-like” companies.
• Can cost in the neighborhood of $5,000-$6,000 per guide for the companies that incorporate more video.
• Can incur additional video costs if your office lacks the ability to produce in-house.