Rogers State University Innovation Center’s incubator program is nearly at full capacity following the arrival of their newest client Gameview TV (GVTV).
GVTV is a broadcasting sports media platform, as well as, a scholastic program for high school students. The program allows students to produce, direct and film sports and academic events, connecting curriculum with real-world broadcasting experience, said Joshua Stokes, owner/creator of GVTV.
“I had a vision of providing schools with the ability to be their own network,” said Stokes.
GVTV supports content for 20 schools in northeast Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City area, including Claremore, Catoosa and Owasso. Stokes said he is planning to add 50 more high schools in Oklahoma before the end of next year.
Currently, Stokes travels to each school for biweekly instruction on technical aspects of production, including footage evaluation, equipment management, directing and camera operation.
“Last year was our beta release, starting with about 10 schools in the Tulsa, northeast Oklahoma area. During that time, we performed over 450 varsity sporting events in the actual market,” he said.
Gameview was not Stokes’ first idea. In 2006, Stokes and his business partner at the time, were producing destination-type marketing presentations for retirement communities and golf courses. The two would then send the hard copies of video to the businesses to use at trade shows.
“Around that time YouTube hit and so we started to make that transition, creating an online delivery system. My business partner and I then realized that we should use this idea for the church,” said Stokes. “The churches produce weekly content, and it’s much more important to get the sermons in the hands of the local community. Within two weeks we closed all our businesses down and started what is now called The Sermon Network.”
Stokes said the first year was a developmental process. The network began with about 75 churches, building a system that worked well for each church.
In 2007, Stokes spoke at several conferences, informing people of the benefits in placing their sermons online.
“It was similar to what I’m doing now with schools. I wasn’t promoting a widget or something that can go on their site, it would be free access and we would archive everything and never take it down,” he said. “At the end of the year we had 5,000 churches. We really dug deep on the technology side; broadcasting, keeping up with Apple and Android.”
Today, The Sermon Network has data centers in Tulsa, New York City and Dallas, and there are more than 30,000 church users worldwide. In 2012, Stokes and his business partner sold the network.
“My business partner moved back to Buffalo, NY and is still passionate, working full-time on the network,” said Stokes. “Now it is a complete not for profit.”
Stokes said his passion is sports.
“I have two kids, one’s in seventh grade and the other is a sophomore in high school. I’ve filmed all of their sports growing up and I loved it. I love high school sports and college too, but there’s something about high school competition that is awesome,” he said. “What I wanted to do is use what I know as a platform for high school competition.”
He said right now, Cox or Fox Sports Southwest will do a game of the week for big-time matchups, which is good publicity for those schools and athletes, but the schools that might not have the best record, or schools that are stronger in sports other than baseball, basketball or football, will not get the coverage.
“I wanted Gameview TV to empower the school, getting the footage out using live broadcasting, on-demand delivery and making it available anytime anywhere. The program is completely free for schools, they get awesome exposure and students get hands-on training in media broadcasting.”
Last year, Stokes was invited to broadcast the Bedlam Game at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, and when he found out he was going to do the production, he invited all high school students.
“These kids now have this experience on their resumé and they got paid for it,” said Stokes.
Stokes said he is where he is supposed to be at the RSU Innovation Center. Gameview TV is doing a mentoring program with RSU TV where each broadcast student gets to come to RSU for a day, on set and talk with directors, producers, writers and college students.
“Claremore is one of my favorite schools. I really like this area and the talent that it produces. I talked with Jerri Koehler from the Innovation Center because I needed help managing the business so that it has legs to grow,” said Stokes. “This organization is here to help and since I am in the stage of working capital and trying to expand to 50 more schools, the professionals here at the Innovation Center have really been helped begin that process, as well as, helped me bring in extra staff.”
The RSU Innovation Center provides business development and consulting services to entrepreneurs beginning or expanding their business. Services include assistance with business plans, cash flow projections, strategic planning and more.
Currently, the incubation program The Hatch, houses six businesses, and space is limited.
“For the first time we have a full incubator program, including businesses with full-time salaried positions. There is room for only one more business,” said Director Jerri Koehler.
Koehler said Innovation Center activities have directly influenced northeast Oklahoma businesses that have invested more than $2 million in the past year. Since 2005, the center has worked with more than 1,500 business and industry clients, addressing planning, marketing and other needs.
“When I leave the office on Fridays, it’s inviting and encouraging to see the center’s parking lot full of job creators.”
For more information on The Hatch or the Rogers State University Innovation Center visit rsuinnovation.com. For information on Gameview TV visit gameview.tv or okpreps.tv.