English Club TV has now been operating for seven years. What have been the major landmarks for the channel during that time?
Yes, the English Club TV Channel has already been operating for seven years. But, the project started a year before the TV channel started broadcasting via satellite. The main landmarks for the TV channel were the expansion and content production of English Club TV. Both landmarks have evolved over time, but there is always room for change and improvement. Being an English language tutor and motivator, the channel should be covering as much territory and being broadcast into as many homes as possible.
According to official statistics, more than 1.1 billion people learn and speak English worldwide. Our aim is to help people to communicate using one of the most popular languages. First of all, we launched an HD version of the channel for our European viewers and an SD version, which broadcasts the signal via MEASAT 3A for our viewers in Asia and the Middle East. Our distribution policy is very flexible. We cooperate with our partners, offering fair and reasonable conditions, to give the opportunity for our viewers all over the world to learn English. We support the idea that television should be useful and try to get this message out to our partners in the B2B sector. We produce much of our educational content ourselves; offering varied and classified programming which starts from the age of 3+. Also, English Club TV has implemented technologies that improve people’s memory and increase viewer’s perception while producing the content. So, watching the channel on a regular basis helps not only improve viewers’ English, but also helps to develop basic memory skills. Being a social orienteered company, we are open to dialogue with our viewers. English Club TV has about 500,000 followers on Facebook and their number is increasing day by day. Our followers are teachers, students, doctors, actors etc. from Finland to South Africa.
What satellites is English Club TV now distributed by and where is it available? Is further expansion planned?
English Club TV Group is broadcasting signals in SD and HD versions via Astra 4A and the SD version via MEASAT 3A covering the Asian continent, Middle East and Africa. We are also very close to starting broadcasts for our viewers in the Latin American and US markets. I hope we will achieve this by the end of 2015. We understand that the market is changing every day as providers are looking for new ways to attract and entertain their clients. I hope that educational television like English Club TV will receive positive feedback from the American territories as well.
What is the structure of your content? What are the changes in your line-up for future broadcasts?
The line-up is divided into 6-hour blocks. Each 6-hour block consists of several mini-blocks that target different audiences with programmes on various topics and skills. Each programme follows its own structure and delivery method. English Club TV creates its programmes following the main principles of the communicative approach. Each educational programme is a mini-lesson. It starts with presenting new material (vocabulary, grammar points) following by vivid examples, exercises and tests that enable the viewers to practice and make sure they understand the material. All programmes include some of the following learning activities: watching and listening, answering the questions, filling in the gaps, multiple choice, matching, reading, followed by a self-check, and repetition after the speaker. Apart from education programmes the channel broadcasts Hollywood films, cartoons, world news and other programmes for vocabulary extension and understanding. Since the channel first came into existence we have been trying to implement features and topics that our viewers recommend or request.
English Club TV launched an app called SpeakingPal earlier this year. How successful has this been?
Actually, we started cooperation with SpeakingPal this year. But, we have already launched the application Speak King. We will provide 5 different packages and it is still in the process of being finalised – we haven’t completed the full range of packages yet. Moreover, we have been uploading the content we are going to provide for our clients. It will take some more time to do this.
As English Club TV Channel developed a special time slot for children, we are now preparing a package in the Speak King application for kids that are learning English as a second language starting from the age of 6+.
We are happy with the current results for the time being, as our common application with the SpeakingPal company is devoted to practicing and improving the speaking skills of the user.
How is English Club TV’s multiscreen strategy as a whole developing?
English Club TV is a different channel: we diversify our services oriented towards viewers’ skills. Broadcasting the channel we do recommend using different sources of English language learning as well as our own system to get the best results.
But we recommend using these in a different way: learning the English language, watching the channel (audio-visual teaching and extension of memory and perception skills), testing basic skills, using VOD services provided by our partners or our own web service ECTV-on-the-Go (tv-english.club), and finally, practicing speaking and pronunciation using the Speak King application, which is available on Google Play and App Store. There are no commercials, so concentration on one dedicated screen is total. However, we also recommend watching the channel 15-20 minutes a day to start with for beginners and in 3-4 months increase the viewing up to 40-45 minutes. As I mentioned before, our viewers who are regularly watching the English Club TV Channel will be able to learn not only more in 3-4 months, but also will be able to keep more information, memorise more data and feel better at processing the daily information around them.
English Club TV has recently updated its content portfolio. What new programming is now available to viewers?
Actually updating of the content portfolio is the main task of the programming team, which is reviewed on a monthly basis. All materials are classified and usually unchanged in the school, but English Club TV offers new ideas and new TV projects on a regular basis to make the content useful and attractive for our viewers.
Apart from famous projects like ‘City Grammar’, ‘Grammar Wise’, ‘Step by Step’, ‘English 911’, ‘Prefect English’ etc, English Club TV continues to extend its line-up for business oriented viewers and fans of sport who want to improve their skills in these topics. There are brand-new projects ‘Language of Business’, a renewed project ‘Business Words’ and ‘Keep Fit’ are being aired from September. We are also continuing to produce such kids projects as ‘Yummy for Mummy’ and ‘Words to Grow’ that are very popular among our younger viewers.
What are English Club TV’s plans for the future? Do they include the launch of more channels?
English Club TV is constantly expanding its line-up, so we plan to launch production of three or four new projects for language learning dedicated to viewers with basic skills. English Club TV is working on an application that will be a big surprise for fans of smartphones and tabs: that will provide an innovative methodology and approach for English language learning as well as for practising and improving English language learning. As mentioned before, we expect to launch the signal of English Club TV for the LATAM and US territories by the end of the year.
English Club TV group has also just launched an IP channel called Classical Harmony. We are combining classical music with artistic masterpieces on the TV screen. A lot of fans of museums and galleries will be able to watch and explore the most famous canvases of the great painters of the past accompanied by the sound of classical music. Classical Harmony Channel is a place for relaxation and immersion into the world of art.