Reporter 439, 27 September 1999

Results of the Survey of Television Production and Training

When you helped me earlier this year by filling in a questionnaire about the Television Division of Media Services, you said that you would like to know the results. I now have 112 pages of statistics from Alchemy Research Associates, the company which helped us to compile the questionnaire and analyse the data and you are most welcome to read them: however, I thought you would probably prefer a summary!

We set up this survey because we wanted to know not only what you thought about the Television Division but also how much you knew about it. We therefore took a sample of 100 people whom we knew had used the Service in some way in the past 12 months and 100 people whom, as far as we knew, had not. We received 93 responses representing all faculties as well as university services, administration and other departments and a wide range of staff categories. The survey was set out in such a way that the responses of users could be separated from non-users.

We compared audience awareness of and use of the Television division with others divisions of Media Services and were glad to know that we did not come off significantly worse, as we had originally feared. 55% (51 people) had used the service in the last year and a further 15% had used it some time prior to that; only 13% were completely ignorant of our existence. However, 6% used some of our services but clearly did not know from which division they originated!

The analysis of the use of different types of service within the past twelve months and of the expectations of use with next year confirms that television production and technical services of various kinds, particularly tape copying, are our main business. Television training is for the minority, but it is very heavily exploited by that minority.

Impressions of the quality of service given were gratifyingly generous. When asked for good points, 47 out of 51 people bothered to write comments which ranged across ‘friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, professional, efficient,’ though significantly only 3 people commented on the cost (see below). When asked for bad points, 28 responded but 20 of those did so by saying that there were no bad points! Of the other 8, one would like an on-site AV repair service (this was tried and abandoned because it was impossible to deal adequately with the range – and age – of equipment presented); one was concerned that there was no delivery service for equipment, which tied with the respondent who felt that the unit was inadequately resourced and staffed for the services on offer: one wanted the History channel recording (see below); one had experienced difficulty making bookings; one felt the service was costly; one felt the service was insufficiently advertised and one felt that it was intimidating to walk through the door into reception.

When asked how the Service could be improved, 29 people declined to comment, 8 said they had no suggestions to make, 3 wanted better advertising (something which we are attending to now), and 12 had a miscellany of suggestions which included: the taping of all satellite and terrestrial channels 24 hours a day (logging, storing and documenting that would keep a substantial part of the service happily occupied), the extension of services to include support for multi-media production and graphical web design and the wish that we should be fully funded! Well, that’s one we certainly agree with (our current grant is less than the salary bill); indeed, if we were fully funded, we might be able to extend the services in the way some people requested.

We also wanted to find out whether there were services which people were getting elsewhere which they would like us to offer. 2 wanted 24 hour recording of the main channels (which we do not offer ourselves because we have access to that service through our membership of the British Universities Film and Video Council), one wanted tapes converted from PAL to NTSC (a standard part of our service) and one wanted the provision of actors (which we also arrange.) So our problem here is communication and advertising again.

That brings me to what we regard as the most important finding: 47% of respondents did not know that the Television Service is subsidised for all university business. Very few of our services cost even 50% of the commercial rate and several are free of charge. How long this will continue as the central grant is eroded year by year is difficult to say but it will be for as long as possible.

I am very grateful for your help in this survey. We take its findings seriously and, where we can, will act upon them. We have plainly been negligent in advertising ourselves properly to the university – so your department will be hearing from us again in the near future!

Every good wish

Yours sincerely,