CSM asks SFAC for funds to add sales position
The Center for Student Media offered up two proposals for FY 17 funding to the Student Fees Advisory Committee during the third day of open presentations Friday afternoon in the Student Government Association Senate Chamber of the Student Center North.
CSM requested a $62,000 base augmentation and a one-time $56,737 request to fund a new sales position as well as an additional $50,380 one-time request to cover a deficit the center is expecting. CSM Director Matt Dulin said the center’s growth over the past year can be attributed to coordinating between the three student groups encompassed by CSM: The Cougar, Coog TV and Coog Radio.
“When you think about the whole audience reach, the footprint of student media, you combine all the digital platforms we’ve got; between all of them we are reaching over half a million people — unique users — a year,” Dulin said.
The first proposal would fund strictly the $62,000 deficit CSM is expecting for FY 17, while the second proposal would cover this gap as well as an additional full-time position dedicated to sales.
The deficit the center is expecting is a common headache for media centers nationwide because of the advancement of technology and evolving ways people consume the news.
“We exist in a very competitive and constantly evolving landscape,” Dulin said. “When we talk about increasing our social media presence and increasing our readership, that’s all working now but there’s no telling what’s going to work three years from now. So we’ve got to be innovative.”
Dulin said the center’s request for a new sales position is a “critical need” that should be considered seriously.
“Without at least scenario one, the future for my department looks like us navigating things like staff reduction, or significant reduction in student media programming,” Dulin said. “And that’s what student media is doing nationwide. Just do a google search for ‘future of student media’ and you’re going to see a lot of colleges grappling with these questions and not small schools, UT, A&M, LSU – they are all running big deficits, much bigger than mine, but they also have the same challenges.”
Dulin said one of the best options for CSM is to invest within the local advertising market to produce additional revenue.
“The Houston community is a multi-billion dollar advertising market, it’s huge, and so for us to not tap into that would be irresponsible,” Dulin said. “To continue to generate the revenue and at the scale that we need, we need to tap into the great beast that is the Houston advertising market.”
Dulin said a new sales position would help reach the local advertising market and in turn increase revenue for student publications of the center. The position could potentially help create $300,000 in new revenue.
“There’s definitely a link between multiple professional sales staff and larger dollar amounts coming in to the university,” Dulin said. “It won’t be a guarantee, but based on past experience, and thinking about all the other factors — thinking about the size of the market that we have to work in, and the attractiveness of the University of Houston — I don’t think that’s outside the realm of possibility.”