Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, April 27, 2001

Merrie Monarch
online had 9,100
hits in 3 days

By Tim Ryan

KITV's first in-house, video-stream broadcast of last week's 38th annual Merrie Monarch Festival on the station's Web site -- -- got 9,100 hits over the three days.

The ABC affiliate did the Internet broadcast because the station received "tons of requests" from people on the mainland asking KITV to do something so they could see the prestigious Hilo hula event, said Mike Rosenberg, general manager of KITV.

Broadcasting the festival by satellite would be "hugely expensive" since time to use the device would have to be rented for three days, he said.

The vast majority of hits were from the mainland, though at this point, station executives do not know specifically where the viewers were from.

KITV used the Hearst Corp. server in Charlotte, N.C., with the cooperation of IBS, which runs the station's Web site, to broadcast the video stream. TIBS runs all the sites for the Hearst stations.

Video-stream viewers saw the festival without commercials, so between halau changes they got glimpses backstage.

KITV transmitted the live broadcast from Hilo to Honolulu. It was then sent to the Charlotte headquarters, then to the Internet, Rosenberg said.

Last year, the Merrie Monarch Festival in the May ratings period had a three-day average of a 15 rating and 28 share from about 6 p.m. to midnight.

Ratings are based on the number of potential viewers, or available TV sets.

Shares are based on the number of TV sets actually in operation during that time period.

KITV has a multiyear contract with festival organizers, and Rosenberg said he hopes "we broadcast it forever."

This year, KITV used an additional camera to capture crowd reactions.

Preparation has already begun on next year's coverage.

Rosenberg declined to say what the three-day broadcast costs KITV but said that the station does not lose money.

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