Madison TV 15 interim director Aaron Wood gave the Public Video Service Board a glimpse of the station’s redesigned website and presented viewership metrics Monday night ahead of plans to expand the station’s programming and recoup revenue lost to local governments.

A few members of the board appeared before Hanover Town Council and Jefferson County commissioners earlier this month to explain changes coming to TV 15 and request that the governments start giving back 50% of the station’s franchise fees collected for 2021. In Indiana, 5% of revenue for public access stations is collected by the state, while the rest is then sent to local governments.

Although entitled to nearly all of that revenue under state law and an interlocal agreement with Jefferson County, the Town of Hanover and the City of Madison, TV 15 has been only getting 15% of that revenue back from each entity, which funneled the rest into their annual budgets. Hanover has already agreed to give back 50% while Jefferson County is still working that out in its budget, board member Jan Vetrhus said Monday. The Board is still negotiating with the City of Madison on compensation moving forward.

Full funding would allow TV 15 to budget more than $30,000 a year as it had been doing and upgrade equipment, salaries and new programming. The station is still advertising for a new executive director following the death of former director Dennis Crank last year.

“Hopefully people will understand that these are fees designated by law to Channel 15,” Vetrhus said.

Meanwhile, the station is still owed more than $66,000 by Charter Communications, the parent company for Spectrum, in franchise fees dating back to 2008, board chair Larry Henry added. He then referred to an article detailing that four Indiana cities — Evansville, Fishers, Valparaiso and Indianapolis — had taken on streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Direct TV and Dish Network in a class action lawsuit and demanded the companies pay 5% franchise fees because they use public internet equipment to transmit programming.

In the case of Valparaiso, franchise fees last year totaled about $30,000 less than in 2017, which was likely due to subscribers switching from cable programming to digital streaming services, he read.

One upgrade presented Monday was a redesign of the TV 15 website, which went live at noon with improved functionality and navigability. Also included is a ticker with page views, an RSS feed for social media and phone numbers for each member of the board that the public can use to make direct calls, Wood said.

He then showcased TV15’s metrics on Vimeo since the station started posting its videos there in 2015.

Since then, the site has attracted about 516,000 guests and 40,000 total views. Wood pointed out that only about 11,000 of those views are from Madison locations, meaning a lot of viewership is coming from outside the community.

Most views were also streamed through smartphones — around 17,000 — and the rest were from laptops, tablets and TVs. The station is also in talks with a company for developing a TV15 app that would cost a little over $3,000, Wood said.

The station will also begin broadcasting the Jefferson County Veteran’s Council starting Sept. 1, after Wood negotiated with the group to move sensitive or personal discussions to the end of the meeting and not record them.

The station has also been in communication with Jefferson County Veteran’s Service Officer Faith Weir on developing content to get information out to local veterans and will be working through that over the next couple weeks, Wood said.

The Public Video Service Board will meet again Sept. 10 at 5 p.m.