BEWARE this Halloween!

It’s that time of year when people dress themselves up and pretend to be someone they’re not.  It’s all part of the fun of Halloween.

There are other imposters lurking about that can also be a bit scary – companies pretending to be something they’re not.   There are a few of those in our business – contest platforms who are calling around saying “we’re just like BetterBNC but cheaper.”

Well, we’re flattered and thankful to our loyal customers who are telling us about the calls from those businesses but make sure you do know the difference between BetterBNC, which is currently the preferred contest platform for nearly 200 media and PR organizations in the US and Canada, and the other companies, most of which offer generic platforms that they will adapt for media contests.

BetterBNC was designed by media professionals specifically for news, creative and PR awards programs.  It is based on industry contest best practices and provides the security features and high-performance cloud server processor systems needed for today’s journalism and PR contests.

We know that if you shop around and ask the right questions, you’ll see the advantages of BetterBNC.   For example, make sure you can’t just log in and make an entry to a contest without an authorization feature.  If you can do it to another contest, someone could do it to yours.

We had two contests who went to another vendor who promised a cheaper experience but a year later they came back to BetterBNC.  One told us they now know why the other vendor was so inexpensive – they didn’t offer the needed features that are core to BetterBNC.  Another said the other base platform was inexpensive but after customizing it so it worked for a journalism contest they spent more than they had with BetterBNC.   Ask questions and make sure you know what you’re getting.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

BetterBNC & Large Video and Audio File Contest Entries

logo-300As our number of broadcast customers grows, we’re often asked about how the BetterBNC platform handles large audio and video file entries.  Organizations looking for an online contest platform want to ensure an easy experience for entrants and judges and that leads to questions about encoding video, standard video resolution vs HiDef, audio bit rates, target file sizes, encoding tools, accepted file formats, video containers and codecs…well, you get the picture.

Because technology in the broadcast industry changes so rapidly and to ensure the smoothest experience for everyone involved, BetterBNC does not require uploads but rather allows entrants to simply link to their entries which can be on their station’s server or on any one of a number of online sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Tindeck.

The result is significant time savings:

  • for entrants, they spend less time contest entries and they don’t have to worry about seeing the dreaded “failure to upload” message.
  • for judges, linking to audio and video files delivers an easier experience allowing them to view the entries from any device without worrying about whether they have the appropriate readers to view or listen to the material they’re responsible for evaluating.
  • for contest administrators, there are fewer calls and emails with questions about file uploads.

For administrators responsible for creating a video of winning high definition entries for the awards presentation event, there are a number of options.  Mary Worland with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters tells us the MAB uses an FTP site for the winning entries.  “We let our entrants know at the time of entry that if they should win, they will have 7 days to submit a 30 second high def clip of the winning entry to an FTP site that we will send to the entrant at the time we notify them of the winning entries. This system has worked really well for us and seems to be favored by our members,” explains Worland.

Want to learn more about how BetterBNC can help your broadcast contest?  Contact us today to schedule a complimentary demo.

Thanks for the shout-outs!

megaphoneBetterBNC wants to thank our customers for the tremendous number of shout=outs via social networks and also for sharing experiences with peers at industry conferences and gatherings.   The result this year has been dozens of new contests underway using BetterBNC with many others currently in the set up phase as they prepare for their spring call for entries.

It’s great to hear how the platform is performing for our customers like Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s Member Services Director Julia Hunter who shares, “The Wisconsin Newspaper Association has utilized BetterBNC for the past four years and the platform significantly streamlined administration of our annual professional, collegiate and high school newspaper contests.  It significantly improves the ease and convenience of judging, and the customer service is always helpful and expeditious! The staff is always quick to respond to any question and assist with troubleshooting in order to ensure everything is running smoothly for us and our members. They’re a pleasure to work with.”

We appreciate and value hearing about our customer experiences as well as suggestions.  The feedback from contest administrators and participation of our Admin Advisory Group (which helps guide platform changes) is helping ensure the very best contest experience for everyone.

Our customer list is growing rapidly and now includes many collegiate and professional public relations  and broadcast organizations and trade organizations which hold annual journalism contests.  We’re also seeing strong numbers of freelance and contract journalists who have BetterBNC accounts allowing them to participate in Open Call awards programs.

If you represent an organization interested in a new contest platform, schedule a complimentary BetterBNC demo today and click here to check out our latest platform enhancements.  If you have questions or want to see the platform, email Paul Jeffko at or call our office in Washington state at (360) 427-6300.


Why do organizations have awards programs?

It’s time consuming and requires dedicated staff to managing the process so why do organizations have awards programs? We polled a group of contest administrators using the BetterBNC awards platform for their print journalism, broadcast and PR contests to get an idea of why they hold annual contests.

  1. The majority of those polled indicated that awards programs and recognition provide member news and PR organizations with a marketing opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors.
  2. Contests provide individuals with recognition that can help them advance their careers.
  3. Respondents also indicated that they believe the spirit of competition improves the overall news or PR product.  (Here’s a great blog on how student contests lead to better news stories)
  4. Ultimately, contests can increase involvement, membership and awareness of the sponsoring organization.

Many contests are beginning to see growth in the number of individuals and organizations entering contests which some attribute to the ease of online entries.  (Click here to read more about OCPRA which has experienced 15-20% growth.) Digital platforms are also making it possible to keep entry fees manageable as the much of the processes are now automated and require less staff involvement. Contest administrators who feel their contests have limited potential for growth are now exploring opportunities that can be created by using BetterBNC’s Open CallSM feature which allows freelancers and non-members to make entries. Contest administrators also tell us that they’re finding it easier to recruit judges when they offer online entry evaluation and rating.

Contact BetterBNC at 360.427.6300  to schedule a complimentary demo or learn more about our contest platform which is now being used by nearly 200 awards programs across North America.