As far as ratings go Whanganui district council's March meeting bombed.
It wasn't the juciest of agendas and attracted just 148 viewers to its livestream, compared with almost a 1000 for its February meeting.
Council explains the sudden drop of viewers saying this month's meeting opened with a confidential item. Livestreaming had barely begun when it was taken off the air for half an hour as councillors debated in secret.
"We think the smaller number of unique views for the meeting on March 8 is because the meeting was opened to the public and quite soon after closed for a confidential item, which means people may have lost interest," a council spokesperson said.
Online viewers weren't the only ones to lose interest.
Former councillor Ailsa Stewart had turned up to watch the meeting in person but left before the meeting re-opened to the public, clearly unhappy that the confidential item was not heard at the end of the meeting.
The timing was unfortunate but unavoidable due to the availability of those taking part in the confidential item, the public was told.
Nonetheless council remains delighted with its livestreaming service.
And at an annual cost of $18,000 why wouldn't it be? Palmerston North's council recently rejected a livestreaming proposal that was estimated to cost $100,000 a year.
Council pays local business Lamp Studios $210 an hour to film and broadcast its monthly meeting over the internet, plus $95 per hour for a second camera operator.
"The second camera person lets us have the ability to film both the Mayor and the presenter as well as the whole council chamber. On average livestreaming costs about $1,200 per meeting and $18,000 per year."
While viewership is expected to bounce back next month, livestreaming was not about ratings, council said.
It increases public access to the democratic process and allows people from anywhere to see how council decisions are made, says council.
"People can watch council meetings as they happen, in their own time, and interact with others on Facebook."
It also allows people to watch without being in the council chamber, which seats 20 members of the public.
And it brings out the best in councillors, says Mayor Hamish McDouall.
"All the feedback we've had has been positive. I think it helps to clarify councillors' thoughts and speaking and improves their behaviour and decision making."
Council began televising its council meetings in November over the internet and has streamed two meetings since.
"Our communications and IT teams have been approached by other councils asking us how we've got the process up-and-running and to congratulate us on both the project and the quality of the streaming."
To view meetings, browse to whanganui.govt.nz or facebook.com/whanganuidistrictcouncil.
Council meeting March 8 2017:
Unique viewers: 148
Total minutes viewed: 218
People who viewed for 10-seconds or more: 68
Video average watch time: 0.41 seconds
Council meeting February 7 2017:
Unique viewers: 983
Total minutes viewed: 2,828
People who viewed for 10-seconds or more: 575
Video average watch time: 1:33