STARKVILLE – In less than four years, a small video production company in Starkville has produced promotional videos for churches and other nonprofit
organizations that have helped raise roughly $25 million in capital fund-raising programs.
“Our videos are only one component of a campaign that involves a lot of hard work from consultants hired by the organizations, their volunteers and staff,” said
Robbie Coblentz, 30, president of Broadcast Media Group Inc. in Starkville. “I am very pleased to be a part of the effort.”
Since 1996, Broadcast Media has produced about 25 promotional videos for churches and other nonprofits, including the Jackson Diocese of the Catholic Church,
St. Francis Catholic Church of Madison, United Way of North Central Mississippi, Vision 2005 for the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Elizabeth Church
of Clarksdale, Christ the King Church of Southaven, and First Methodist Church of Columbus, to assist in their capital fund-raising efforts.
Broadcast Media began as a sideline business in 1996 for Coblentz, then manager of a local television station, when he began receiving calls to do freelance jobs on
the weekends. Two years later, the sideline business became so profitable that Coblentz devoted himself to it full-time. The company was incorporated last year.
“We found our niche in charitable giving by happenstance,” Coblentz said. “St. Joe’s Catholic Church in Starkville employed CDS Consultants, a capital fund-raising
firm from St. Louis that runs 10 to 12 fund-raising campaigns a year, to assist in its fund-raising campaign. Professional consultants like CDS are often hired by
organizations that need to raise anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5 million because they have the expertise to organize volunteer groups, provide professional direction
on how to approach people and so forth. CDS generates video scripts and needed someone to produce an eight to 12 minute promotional video for St. Joe’s
fund-raising campaign. Because I’d done one or two pieces before for local churches, CDS hired me. Since then, we’ve probably done 75% of their campaigns since
But the “charitable” part accounts for little more than a third of Broadcast Media’s business. With a client base from the Gulf Coast to St. Louis, about 30% of
Coblentz’ work is for industrial and commercial clients, which includes producing videos for new product introduction, company profiles and employee orientation,
with another 30% in VHS duplication, primarily for MSU’s distance learning program, where tapes are sent to more than 3,000 students across the nation. Various
video-related work accounts for the balance.
Last fall, Coblentz traveled to Lubbock, Texas for Habersham, Georgia-based Phi Mu to interview Kristin Lewis, a Children’s Miracle Network miracle child who
survived cancer at the age of nine and wrote a children’s book about the experience called “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I Beat Cancer…so Can You.”
“The Phi Mu project was for their foundation to raise awareness of their philanthropy to local chapters across the nation,” Coblentz said. “We interviewed Kristin, her
family and friends and created two five-minute videos that were distributed across the country. The video premiered at the Phi Mu national convention this past
Coblentz manages the business with one full-time employee, and subcontracts freelancers as needed. Broadcast Media charges $2,500 to $10,000 for video
production, depending on “bells and whistles,” he said.
“The cost mainly depends on the computer animation and time involved, but the average is about $5,000 to $6,000 for an eight to 12 minute video,” Coblentz said.
Coblentz has been involved in broadcast production since he was a student at Meridian High School, when he dabbled in radio on the weekends. In the late 1980s,
Coblentz switched to television. Within a few years, he was named station manager at the same time he was studying computer animation and engineering at
Mississippi State University, where he received a degree in liberal arts.
Even though Coblentz declined to disclose annual revenues, he said sales have increased 30% to 40% annually. Later this month, Coblentz will move the production
company from a two-room, 2,500-square-foot facility in downtown Starkville to a larger facility that formerly housed a radio network. With several soundproof
booths and an upgraded wiring system, Coblentz will be able to expand audio production and possibly add a studio. After renovations, the facility should be worth
$250,000 to $300,000, Coblentz said.
“The building plans are not completely finalized, but I’m anticipating the papers being signed within two weeks, with our move beginning just before Thanksgiving –
another item to add to the busy holiday season,” he said.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 853-3967.
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