2016 VAFA Media & Communications Report

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By Nick Armistead

The 2016 VAFA season has provided numerous highlights for the media and communications department, with continued growth allowing VAFA Media to reach more supporters with content and information across all digital media platforms.

The use of social media to engage our supporters is paramount to the success of VAFA Media, with record numbers in growth for both Facebook and Instagram re-iterating the need to continually provide engaging content.

Facebook (6462) has the most followers of our social media platforms and offers the greatest reach for advertising and promoting the VAFA brand. However, there has always been a vast disparity between the number of registered players in our Association and the amount of followers on our social media platforms and, as such, there was a strong focus on appealing to our players via Facebook throughout the 2016 season.

One method of engaging our playing community was introducing a Sunday highlight video each week which promoted a single player’s moment of brilliance from the round’s action. It proved hugely popular and played a significant role in Facebook’s annual growth of 45%. Our two most successful videos were Armstrong ties things up (33.2K organic views and 794 ‘likes’) and OIG vs Kew – Last 60 Seconds with Hoes captain, Mal Mitris, winning the game after the final siren (organic reach of 179.3K users).

VAFA Media held its inaugural Media Days during the pre-season, with 51 representatives from 50 clubs partaking. With such a fantastic turnout, the event was held over three separate days and garnered promotional content from each participating Club via photography, video and player interviews. The Q&As provided comedic relief from our own players, while the footage obtained has been used for promo videos for Round 1, the Big V vs SAAFL representative match, U19 Big V vs AFLVC representative match and VAFA finals.

VAFA TV expanded again in 2016 with the release of HQ News as a means of providing the VAFA community with up-to-date, important information of the Association and our Clubs in a succinct and timely fashion. It also gave VAFA Media a chance to preview the upcoming round, with the combination of our VAFA Tragics review show and HQ News preview giving supporters of the VAFA a larger amount of content and information. Published directly to Facebook, HQ News has aired 23 times thus far in 2016 for an average of 2400 views and a total of more than 55K. Without taking into account VAFA Tragics and all highlight and promo video views, HQ News alone is 58% of 2015’s total video view count. This is largely due to posting directly to Facebook instead of uploading to YouTube and eliminating the double click-through.

VAFA Tragics returned for its second year as a three-camera panel show, dissecting each round of the season with in-depth discussion and analysis. New segments included 4Q’s, Headlines and the Division Report. ZEN Plays of the Week continued to show the best highlights from each round of the season, with the Mark and Goal of the Year announced at the Woodrow Medal and VAFA Awards Night.

The 2015 Taping Techniques series of videos filmed by Andrew Leonard in conjunction with LifeCare continues to provide large numbers of viewers with taping techniques and injury prevention tips. Due to this, YouTube views were over 100K with a 24% increase on the same time period from 2015.

My Sport Live oversaw match footage requirements for the first time in 2016, including filming and uploading all 15 Premier section matches to VAFA TV and the production of VAFA Tragics in their St Kilda studio. The William Buck Premier Grand Final and Big V representative match were live streamed with commentary and sideline reporting. The grand final live stream was seen by an audience of 5K, including over 3.5K unique viewers and 24% from overseas.

96.5 Inner FM continued to broadcast a match of the round each week on the radio, as well as the Premier B – Unders best and fairest counts live on air. 98.9 North-West FM and 88.3 Southern FM continued to broadcast radio shows covering the VAFA on Sundays, with North-West FM also simulcasting the William Buck Premier Grand Final alongside Inner FM.

The Amateur Footballer’s weekly print numbers dropped again as paper becomes less appealing but viewing numbers online rose as supporters continued the transition to digital versions on VAFA.com.au. As per previous seasons, the Grand Final Edition was printed in full colour on A4 and also made available for download.

The VAFA Report was broadcast on SEN 1116’s Tuesday Drive and Wednesday Breakfast each week of the season, while the VAFA newsletter numbers increased again in 2016.

Acknowledgements

VAFA Media is made up of a team of volunteers whose tireless work ensures we can provide the sharpest and most up-to-date content and information across all sections.

Firstly, thank you to returning Amateur Footballer scribes, David Chalmers (Premier B), Gavin Southern (Division 4), John Donohoe (U19 Premier & Premier Reserve), Tom Neuendorf (U19 Section 2 & 3), Norm Nugent (Club XVIII) and Geoff Reilley (Retrospective). Those who joined the team at VAFA Media and who I would also like to thank: Tom Feldgen (Division 1), Jarryd McGuane (Division 2), Ren Thompson (Division 3) and Mikala Sykes (U19 Section 4 & 5).

A special thanks goes to Christian Burgess after he took up the role of Publications Editor this season, continuing the first-class production of the Amateur Footballer in conjunction with his role as Premier C scribe.

Sincere thanks go out to Ken Petrucco, John Kanis and the team at 96.5 Inner FM for their continued support and commitment with the production of the Saturday morning VAFA Footy Show and Match of the Round broadcast each round of the season. Furthermore, thank you to each and every commentator who volunteered their Saturday afternoons to call the matches, as well as Glenn Scarborough (North-West FM) and Tom Brain (Southern FM) whose support of the VAFA on their respective radio programs is unmatched.

Andrew Weiss, Chris Kosmer, Dale Price and the team at My Sport Live have provided more than just production of VAFA match footage and Tragics in 2016, with their expansive knowledge of the digital media landscape and willingness to assist where possible an invaluable asset to VAFA Media.

I’d also like to thank club volunteers who provide content for VAFA Media to help promote our Association and engage our supporters. It is often a difficult and time-consuming task covering each and every section, but submission of photographs, media releases and ideas are invaluable and all contribute to the ongoing success of VAFA Media.

Football Operations Assistant, Mikala Sykes, took up the role of HQ News reporter and provided previews of the most enticing matches each week. Her assistance and positive attitude every Friday afternoon made filming a highly entertaining experience.

Special thanks goes to Andrew Leonard and Brenton Mann for the time volunteered each week to help film VAFA Tragics. Both gentlemen are invaluable members of the panel, with Andrew continuing as host in 2016 and Brenton specialising with his Division Report. They are both constant sources of information and Andrew’s ongoing involvement and advice has been both priceless and truly appreciated. I’d also like to recognise the role Will Balme played on the panel before making the move to England mid-year.

Finally, I’d like to thank VAFA CEO, Michael Sholly, for the support he has shown me and VAFA Media in my first year in the role of Media and Communications Coordinator. A constant source of ideas and feedback, Michael’s contribution has been invaluable.

SOCIAL MEDIA

By the numbers since December 2015

  • Facebook: 6462 followers (45% increase)
  • Instagram: 1386 (113% increase)
  • Twitter: 5446 followers (10% increase)
  • YouTube: 105K views (24% increase on same time period last year)