Union Goes On Demand To Increase Demand

The Union has launched its own online video player, making past videos available for all to see, although initial reaction has been mixed.

becca bailey Cambridge Union frankie hill julian assange Stephen Fry

The Union has today launched its very own online video player, hoping to bring themselves “into the 21st century” with CUS-Connect and reach a wider audience.

With iPlayer and 4oD part of the staple diets of most students, Connect will upload videos of recent talks, debates, and exclusive interviews, in what Union Press Sec Rebecca Bailey has labelled: “a commitment to the Society’s charitable mission to promote free speech.”

The launch of the site has been spearheaded by the promotion of Julian Assange’s popular talk last term, thought to be the longest recorded footage of the Wikileaks man speaking available to the public.


The Tab got a sneak preview video made for the new online service. Video courtesy of Elliot Turner

Emma Nunn, a medic fresher at King’s, welcomed the service, telling The Tab: “lots of members can’t make talks because of supervisions and stuff.” A second year Arabist pointed out that it would mean Union members on their year abroad could enjoy their benefits despite not being in Cambridge, and alumni life members of the Union have also welcomed the service.

Not all reaction has been positive though. Freya Perry, an English finalist at Pembroke, was “completely ambivalent” towards the service, “especially as it’s exam term.” And the decision to make the footage accessible to members and non-members alike has left some questioning the value of their £140 joining fee.

It remains to be seen whether the new service will take off, but the Union hopes to boost ratings by live streaming the classical music debate with Stephen Fry on Thursday for those unable to attend.