CSVS Q&A: Joel Kitay, President, Kitay Productions

In anticipation of the inaugural College Sports Video Summit (CSVS) to be held June 9-10 in Atlanta, the Sports Video Group has assembled a seasoned advisory committee that includes some of the game-changers in the business and technology behind college-sports broadcasting. Each week leading up to the event, College Sports Video Insider will feature an interview with a different member of the College Sports Video Summit Advisory Committee. This week, Joel Kitay, president of Kitay productions, shares his thoughts on the challenges confronting athletic programs and how CSVS can help.

When it comes to increasing video production, what is the biggest challenge college athletic programs face?

The most common challenge facing these schools is how to upgrade video technology — or, for those that don’t have it, how to get into video technology — and find a way to make the economics make sense for what is a significant capital investment. Five years ago, video scoreboards and video productions were nice to have, but today, they’re must-haves just to keep up with the competition. A lot of that is thanks to the Internet and the ability of a college to be its own broadcaster through its own distribution platforms, which didn’t exist before.

Are there easy ways for video departments to become more cost-effective?

At some point, you get what you pay for, but there certainly are ways to reduce cost, use more technology, and less people. It really depends on what value the institution puts on video and the revenue and image that it’s going to create for the school. With a little bit of money and somebody who knows what they’re doing, you can certainly get a competent video department started.

Why is the College Sports Video Summit an important industry event?

I think the event is really important because a lot of administrators, especially on the college level, don’t know much about video. It’s such a large beast that it can seem very overwhelming when you finally decide that you need to get into it, whether it’s because you’re just trying to keep up or because you see it as a new moneymaker. It can be very overwhelming for people who are neophytes to the business to start getting involved.

There are so many decisions that have to be made along the way that have a significant impact on what you have at the end of the day, and this conference can give those officials some confidence, some knowledge, some experience, an idea of resources, and a sense of what other people are doing, which should help put them at ease.

The panel you will be participating in is Saturday Afternoon Live! How To Build (and Afford) Your College’s New Video Infrastructure. What are you most looking forward to discussing?

I think it’s important to realize that a Division II or III or even a I-AA school is going to have a different budget than an AP top-25 school’s budget, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some real basics of production that the schools with the smaller budgets can follow to make their shows better.

I’ve always had this expression: it’s not the canvas, it’s the artist. You can give the artist the best paints and best canvas, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with the best piece of art. Likewise, you can give somebody all the best technology and all the best tools for video production, but it really comes down to the artist who produces the content. I’ve always been of the mindset that it’s the artist and not the canvas and that the right artist can make do with whatever canvas he’s been given.

What do you hope attendees will take away from the CSVS?

I would hope that they take away the idea not to look at video production as a cost but to look at the benefits it gives you beyond the bottom line on a spreadsheet and to see the value that quality video will give you in terms of recruiting athletes, selling sponsorships, and getting fans excited. There is more to it than just dollars and cents.

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