Metro Magazine

JUN 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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As a growing number of riders and the general public look to online videos for information and entertainment — video consumption in the U.S. has been gener- ally increasing, according to comScore — some transit systems are producing their own videos to more efectively reach out to and inform their customers. TELLING A STORY O n e o f t h o s e sy st e m s, Ca l i f.'s O r- ange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), was looking to share informa- tion about its many transportation op- tions by telling stories, according to Dar- rell Johnson, CEO, OCTA. The result is the "OCTA Adventure Series," seven short online videos that take viewers on a jour- ney aboard vanpools, carpools, trains, buses and bikes. Te videos, which the agency launched in April, are designed to encourage new riders to sample the wide variety of pub- lic transportation options available in Or- ange County and be an accessible and upbeat educational tool used by every- one from curious individuals to corporate transportation coordinators. Te transit system is also using banner ads to invite the public to visit, watch a video, then enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes such as an iPad Air, $400 in gift cards, a new bike, and bus and Metrolink passes. Using Twitter, Face- book and other social media platforms, OCTA has kept interest high by publicizing the contest and the winners. So far, it has received 1,700 sweepstakes entries. ADDING A VISUAL OPTION What prompted the series, Johnson says, was the need to devise a different channel of communication for people who prefer to receive information visually. "People are gravitating toward [video], and OCTA is also reaching out to a young- er generation, which is more comfortable with video," Johnson says. Additionally, the transit system is try- ing to communicate information in "a fun way." "We're trying to [add] excitement, tell a story instead of just the standard dry pub- lic service announcement … this is about adventures, [for example] a father and son taking the train on the weekend," John- son explains. During the first six weeks the "Adven- ture Series" videos had 4,400 views and more than 10,000 unique visitors. OCTA expects to produce more videos, Johnson adds, particularly since the pro- duction cost is not as high as it used to be — each video cost about $8,000 — with more in-house production and desktop editing now available. EXTENDING SHELF LIFE The month or two it takes to develop and flm the pieces pays of, Johnson ex- plains, because the videos can be updated and modifed to have a longer shelf life, as opposed to radio spots or newspaper ad- vertisements, which are difcult to reuse. Meanwhile, Lancaster, Calif.-based An- telope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) is maximizing its travel training program with a YouTube channel, AVTAtv, which features travel training videos as part of a larger mobility management program. Te program has been funded by a Job Access Reverse Commute Grant for three years, Wendy Williams, communications director at AVTA, says. However, once the grant for the mobility management pro- gram is depleted, the transit system will no longer be able to continue a travel train- ing program. To continue to get travel training infor- mation to riders, the transit system created travel training videos that cover evergreen topics, such as how to ride the bus, for its website in an effort to improve the pro- gram's shelf life and realized that a You- Tube channel was the perfect spot to fea- ture them. AVTA's marketing manager writes the scripts and shops them to local video pro- ducers for quotes. Each piece costs about $1,800 to produce. An independent con- tractor shoots the video and edits the piece, Williams explains. Te videos, which run between two and three minutes, have given AVTA a strong presence on You Tube, she adds. "Now we place all of our videos on AVTAtv, includ- ing commercials and special features." AVTA just released its latest piece, titled "First Time Rider," which provides infor- mation on routes, schedules and paying fares, and plans to produce four more vid- eos this year. 44 < m ETRO m AGAZINE JUNE 2014 marketing matters Transit systems tap video's storytelling ability to attract, inform riders BY NICOLE SCHLOSSER, SENIOR EDITOR California's OCTA was looking to share information about its many transportation options by telling stories. It created the "OCTA Adventure Series," seven short online videos that take viewers on a journey aboard vanpools, carpools, trains, buses and bikes. "We're trying to [add] excitement, tell a story instead of just the standard dry public service announcement …"

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