The Bowdoin Cable Network (BCN) is going online. BCN General Manager Lidey Heuck '13 confirmed that, starting this semester, the network's movie content will be made available on-demand on the Internet.
BCN currently airs eight movies, selected by the student body each month, on a continuous loop. Students will now be able to choose which movie to watch, and when to watch it, no longer bound by BCN's TV schedule.
BCN made the decision after the results of its campus-wide poll, in which 74 percent of the 450 respondents indicated a preference for streaming movies online. BCN also hopes that the accessibility of streaming movies will reduce the proportion of students, 33 percent, who said that they never watch movies on channel 40.
Ismael Xique '13 said the change sounded like a good idea. "I would want to watch, but didn't know what time [movies] started, so I wouldn't watch because I missed the beginning," he said.
Not all students are sold on the idea.
"There are pluses and minuses," said Jesse Gildesgame '13. "You kind of kill the social aspect, but it is pretty convenient."
Those who prefer on-air movies will still have that option, for the time being.
"For the semester we are doing both," said Heuck. "We are going to continue to do the movies on the movie channel and hopefully switch to just the online streaming next semester."
Hueck, who replaces Zac Skipp '11 as general manager of the organization, hopes to bring about several changes this year, including involving more first years and emphasizing original content.
This first change comes as part of her plan to reinvigorate BCN and increase its waning viewership. Hueck acknowledged the recent decline in the channel's quality.
"Last year wasn't a very productive year for BCN," she said.
Her strategy to reverse the downward trend in viewership and quality revolves around new original programs like "The Real Housewives of Bowdoin College," as well as a Bowdoin sports show, comedic acts, and the return of BCNews.
"The most important, and the student-produced content will also benefit from BCN's decision to hand over channel 40 to the Bowdoin Film Society (BFS) whose president, David Shuck '12, hopes to use the air time to increase filmmaking on campus.
"It gives our movies more exposure. It's a more tangible venue, so students won't have to wait for film festivals to show their work. It's a real incentive to produce more content," Shuck said.
In order to fully benefit from this change, BFS is taking additional steps to increase the amount of content it produces.
It is currently in the process of scheduling training sessions to help budding directors learn filmmaking techniques and master newly acquired camera and editing equipment.
The move to put more content on the Internet does not indicate a larger trend toward online content, so do not expect to see BCN give up its hold on channel 41.
"Bowdoin Cable Network implies it's TV, and when it's your friends goofing around live on camera, that's a nice campus thing, and I'd like to keep it," Heuck explained. "I hope BCN's campus presence really comes back this year."