HKTV Telethon Engagement Tops Expectations, Viewership Data Reveals

Updated: Feb 29, 2024

A screenshot of HKTV Audience Measurement Dashboard on Cablecast UI, displayed on a monitor set up in a community media center studio

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, February 28, 2024 – For decades, the TV Department at Haddam-Killingworth High School in Higganum, Conn., has hosted an annual holiday show on its local PEG channel, HKTV. Now, with the help of the Audience Measurement Dashboard in Cablecast Automation software, HKTV can actually see how big of an audience the special draws. 

Teaching television production has been part of the Haddam-Killingworth curriculum since the 1970s. Today’s students learn how to shoot and edit videos, as well as produce the morning video newscast. Of course, the technology has improved over the decades! HKTV has three HD studio cameras (and a high camera), Blackmagic Design video switcher, four sets (including chromakey walls on two sets), a lighting grid, and more. HKTV is available locally on Channel 18 through both Comcast and Frontier, and live and on-demand programming can be accessed on its website

According to Jim Kane, media technician, each year the students, under the direction of the HKTV teacher Kasha Topa-Finberg, pick out a fundraising cause to support during the live holiday show. He said preparations take about a month and a half. Not unlike the MDA telethons of old, students create video segments that are played in between the live segments. Music programs from schools around the district collaborate with HKHS chorus teacher Marcy Webster to provide entertainment. Even some school alumni return to visit during the program. “It’s a big thing around here,” Kane said. 

Last year was the 35th annual holiday show. On the morning of Dec. 22, the telethon ran for about three-and-a-half hours. It generated more than $15,500 for Kindness Over Muscular Dystrophy, an organization dedicated to supporting MD research, providing assistance for families impacted by MD, and raising awareness.

Using the Cablecast Audience Measurement Dashboard, Kane learned the show has had more than 9,800 hits since its debut. The peak view rate was during the show’s second hour on Dec. 22 from 9-10 a.m., when there were more than 1,000 viewers. That’s impressive, especially considering Higganum has a population of about 1,800 people and fewer than 550 students in the high school. 

Kane appreciates the insights from Cablecast Audience Measurement. “It gives us an idea of what people are watching – the number of viewers and how long they watch,” he said. For example, board meetings don’t tend to attract a lot of viewers, but a recent meeting focused on renovations attracted a significantly larger view rate, which he learned through streaming measurement. 

Cablecast Audience Measurement also lets HKTV take a deep dive on its audience analysis. Kane learned the PEG channel had more than 55,000 views of its live stream in 2023, and he can analyze those findings by program and other factors. He can also setup parameters and evaluate the view rate of current and past shows, which can help with programming choices.

“Once you get the hang of what viewer insights you’re looking for, it just takes a couple of clicks to get the report you want,” Kane said. “Working with Cablecast for our channel playout and streaming has been a pleasure.”

Cablecast REFLECT is a cloud-based content delivery network (CDN) that helps move your PEG operation to the cloud while keeping it in your own environment. It gives your online viewers easier and faster access to your programming, while removing the burden of viewer traffic from your station’s bandwidth. Powered by Cablecast REFLECT, the Audience Measurement Dashboard makes digital audience measurement easy, allowing you to track how many people are watching your streaming content, track peak viewership times and other viewer insights across all streaming platforms, including OTT apps, mobile apps and websites with embedded Cablecast video players.

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About Cablecast

For 25 years, the Cablecast Community Media platform from Tightrope Media Systems has enabled educational, municipal and community media organizations to easily and efficiently distribute video across cable channels, websites and mobile and OTT streaming devices. The comprehensive Cablecast product line provides flexible, tightly-integrated solutions ranging from broadcast automation, playout servers, bulletin boards and on-air graphics to Internet VOD, live streaming and closed captioning. For more information, visit or call 
(866) 866-4118. 

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