Monday, March 19, 2007

Web TV

Current TV launched in the UK last week. It's an interesting idea aiming to produce community generated short form video. They have a distribution agreement with BSkyB. In the US, where it's been running for longer, the same deal is covered by a string of cable networks.

In the UK they need to generate enough quality content via the web to populate a channel on the pay TV network. They're focusing on students and young people and have 25-30 facilitators or producer-type crew educating, encouraging and working with these communities to generate the videos.

The reverse broadcasting formula back into a TV network is understandable, but it seems to be a bit of a backward step. If nothing else, the Current TV content that makes it on to BSkyB will inevitably have to conform to general broadcasting standards, not just in production values but also in terms of content style and type.

18 Doughty Street, on the other hand, doesn't have any pretentions to being old fashioned TV. It wants to break the mould. This is uncompromising right wing stuff, but the structure, and the way they go about engaging their audience, is very clever.

The company is owned and funded by Stephan Shakespeare, the co-founder and Chief Innovations Officer of YouGov Plc. who has put in US$2 million. It's advocacy TV and at this point they are not trying to make money, which sets them apart from Current TV which does have a defined business model.

Their audience is still small, but they are getting a fair bit of coverage in the UK media. This recent piece posted on Youtube has been viewed 250,000 times and has reportedly had a strong flow-on effect in traffic to the site.

No comments: