SHREWSBURY – With viewers “cutting the cord” more and more, cable television is quickly giving way to streaming services as the medium for residents to get their home entertainment.
With that in mind, Shrewsbury’s new franchise agreement with SELCO provides cable service to town for just five years, as opposed to the standard 10. The Select Board unanimously approved the agreement at its March 14 meeting.
Aside from the length of the agreement, there will be a slight increase in the percentage of subscriber revenue to be paid to the town. Other terms of the deal will remain the same, according to Town Manager Kevin Mizikar.
“The franchise license agreement will provide five percent of subscriber revenue to the town,” said Mizikar. “With declining subscribers, we estimate to be in the mid-$400,000 range for fiscal year 2023. We will likely see a continued decline.”
According to Mizikar, with this percentage increasing to five percent, the amount this year will be similar to the previous year.
“In total, we’ve worked with SELCO and the SELCO Commission to maintain funding from all SELCO services to be level year over year,” he said.
Select Board member Beth Casavant asked for verification that, despite reduced revenue, Shrewsbury Media Connection would have sufficient funding to maintain the programming services it provides to residents.
“I’m thinking of this [remote] meeting that wouldn’t be possible right now if we didn’t have Shrewsbury Media Connection to get us all on here and broadcast,” she said.
Mizikar said it would, if only for the time being.
“They certainly will in the short run,” he said. “By the end of the five-year agreement, that’s a big question mark. SELCO is transitioning away from cable operations to be competitive in the marketplace, moving more toward [being] Internet based, using an app. We expect to see a continued decline in traditional subscribers.”
Mizikar said that at the end of this five-year agreement the cable system will no longer be serviceable.
He said the town will have to look for alternatives in the future to provide funding for Shrewsbury Media Connection.
Select Board name two to ZBA
The board voted to name Kevin Nisbit and David Moore to two-year terms on the Zoning Board of Appeals, with the terms to expire March 31, 2025.
Nisbit has been serving as an associate member of the board, with his term to expire March 31. Moore will replace Patrick Fullen, whose term expires March 31 and who had applied for reappointment.
Seven residents had submitted letters of interest for the seats on the ZBA.