Responding to a steep decrease in viewership, Westerville and Otterbein University are pulling the plug on their public-television channel – WOCC-TV, also known as Channel 3 – and replacing it with a new online option.

WOCC will be replaced by "Westerville TV," an exclusively online platform the city will use for live broadcasts of meetings, events, weather and other announcements on the city's website, westerville.org.

Otterbein's programming, meanwhile, will be found at otterbein360.com.

As part of its biennial resident surveys, the city has been asking residents whether they watch WOCC. In 2012, 36 percent of residents said they watched the channel. But by 2016, only 18 percent of respondents said they did.

In a city release, city manager David Collinsworth said the decision ultimately came down to finances.

"Operating a television station is no small task, and we were quite lucky to have the capabilities and expertise of Otterbein University for that purpose," he said. "Yet, when we took a critical look at our costs to operate and the trends in screen time and compared that to declining viewership, making some changes to content and bringing that online was clearly the most logical course of action."

Denise Shively, chairwoman of Otterbein's department of communications, said Otterbein students are "adapting to shifts in technology."

"Video is still a preferred means of information as audiences look for visual stories," she said in the release. "However, those stories are now delivered primarily to mobile devices and through many platforms including social media and organizational websites. Our student media reporters now work in a digital environment where they learn to produce stories tapping their integrated writing, video and audio skills."

WOCC will end transmission Dec. 31.

For more information, visit westerville.org.

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