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Enhancing the SMPTE Member Experience

July 25, 2023

Welcome to the midpoint of 2023. The first part of the year has been filled with change in our industry and Society. With print deadlines looming, I sit writing this column amid the Writers Guild strike. If ever there was a reminder that the engineering and science we do is in support of an art form, this would be it. Our film and broadcast production departments depend on these artists, so hopefully a resolution can be found soon, even before you read these words.

But there are also changes going on in SMPTE. We will consolidate our various systems to enhance the membership experience into an all-encompassing association member management platform. As I have often said, we all know these new systems work perfectly on the rollout and immediately solve all our problems. (Oh, how I wish there were a special font for sarcasm that I could have used in that last statement.)

We will need your help as the system comes online, as we will add new demographics about your interests to your member profile. These changes are in response to our member survey that revealed a common desire to communicate more easily with people of similar interests. We can build communities and tailor material more to your specific interests as people confirm their choices based on information collected from previous registrations where we asked that question.

Your Section will be able to communicate its activities more quickly as it will have access to up-to-the-minute membership information. There is currently a delay in communicating that information to members.

We are also working to offer more options for your membership payment, including monthly payments rather than one large annual payment. And for our non-U.S. members, we continue to work on accepting membership fees in your local currency, though that is a larger lift for some places than others due to banking rules. This change is the cornerstone for SMPTE to build a better member experience and website. As with any change, some things will need to be revised after we have some engagement on a larger scale. But the main point of this endeavor is to provide you with better service and access to your information and the archive of information SMPTE offers its members. These enhancements give us a platform to provide more tangible benefits to answer the question, “What do I get for my membership dollar?”

We are listening to your comments and working to act on them. This new system gives us the groundwork for creating an engaging experience for everyone. When combined with improvements to our website and other projects in the pipeline, these initiatives will help us to create spaces where people can engage with others about the science and engineering of the moving image, which is the ultimate bedrock on which SMPTE was built.

Finally, happy birthday to SMPTE, founded in July 1916. One hundred and seven is a great time to enhance our offerings and show how SMPTE is still relevant today as it was when the first Mr. Jenkins brought the Society together.

David Grindle

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