A word from the Board of Directors at EMCVT, governing body of student media at Virginia Tech
When I assumed the responsibility of EMCVT’s Board President in July 2015, I inherited a dire financial situation. Our legacy revenue models -- particularly advertising in print mediums – had eroded at a dramatic rate, which led to difficult organizational and operational changes. The most significant change we implemented was the immediate reduction of printing days for the newspaper. Printing costs -- combined with the staff overhead -- could simply not be supported by the advertising dollars being generated. Secondarily, we also decided to outsource advertising and business functions to MediaMate, as the alternative to re-hiring the four professionals historically staffed.
The decision to outsource our business functions was concerning at first, especially since the organization had always managed everything internally. There were apprehensions that EMCVT could lose some (or all) control of our business operations, that the student experience would suffer, and/or that we still needed a full staff on the ground to service local advertisers in Blacksburg.
As soon as we started working with MediaMate, those concerns quickly diminished. In fact, we found the opposite to be true -- we had increased control of the business side of the newspaper with MediaMate as our partner. There was complete transparency and increased reporting, with MediaMate systematically tracking The Collegiate Time’s advertising and financial activities. We had a clearer picture of our ongoing fiscal situation, could take an immediate and honest look at our P&L trends, and had the ability to make more informed decisions as a Board.
The newspaper continues to be completely student-run, as it had been since 1903. As a point of fact, EMCVT continues to retain a (local) part-time General Manager to provide leadership/professional presence in Blacksburg, but combined with in-person visits from MediaMate (as well as phone calls, technology, and training our students on the ground), our organization’s professionalism and communication with advertisers has greatly improved. We have even found that pricing, placement, and collection errors that frequently occurred in the past have been virtually eliminated now that MediaMate has operational oversight of our advertising business.
Without hesitation, if your student media organization is working to adapt to the overall marketplace shift into digital/social from legacy print businesses, I highly recommend MediaMate. Since making the decision to partner with MediaMate -- along with other key Board decisions -- EMCVT has finally stabilized its financial footing after a decade of losses. Our student leaders are engaged and excited to be a part of this historical institution at Virginia Tech, and our Board is proud to have taken corrective measures to ensure a stable financial future such that the next generation of Hokies can enjoy the same opportunities our Board members experienced during their tenure on campus.
-Elliott Gordon, President of the Board of Directors, Educational Media Company of Virginia Tech (EMCVT)
The Collegiate Times before outsourcing
Internally Managed Business and Advertising
- EMCVT Board of Directors (a 501c3) had oversight for the business operations of the Collegiate Times
Business Staff of 4 full-time professionals
Design and Production Adviser
Accounting and Sales Adviser
Students sold local advertising
Turnover in General Manager and Advertising Adviser positions led to confusion and disorganization
Complicated process to place and track advertising orders, resulting in high rate of errors
Students granted advertisers large discounts off the published rate card, traded ads for services, and offered free graphic design
Substantial amounts of advertising monies were not collected by the students
Checks and cash were lost in desks in the local office
Discount and collections problems were largely unreported and unknown to the Board
Board had limited exposure to the organizational decisions, especially as it related to
daily operations, expenses, contractual obligations, etc.
Student media incurred a deficit for 9 out of the previous 10 years
VIRGINIA TECH after outsourcing
Outsourced Advertising and Business
- Board of Directors transitioned the business operations to MediaMate following the elimination of full-time staff
MediaMate has a team of experienced advertising and business professionals
MediaMate manages payroll, sales, billing, collections, printing, and distribution
Students manage the onsite business office and help sell local advertising
EMCVT Board of Directors (a 501c3) retains oversight of the business operations of the Collegiate Times
Improved operational processes, consistency, and customer communications through MediaMate
Board has increased transparency and financial awareness
EMCVT continues to retain a part-time, local General Manager
Working with MediaMate, in conjunction with several other key Board business decisions, EMCVT has stabilized its long-term financial situation
MediaMate partnered with Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business to offer students internships in sales and marketing at The Collegiate Times