Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

From 2-screen to 1-screen

Embarrassing Bodies

Opening up possibilities...

Off shortly to a gathering at Maverick TV to prepare for our ground-breaking live switchover show on 10th Feb. The significance of this experiment is that it is taking pioneering 2-screen televisual experiences like Surgery Live and streamlining them to a single screen containing both the video and interactivity (see screenshot in my last post  Bodies Live).

Here’s how it was reported this week in New Media Age:

Channel 4 spins off live web show from Embarrassing Bodies series

21 January 2010 | By Charlotte McEleny

Channel 4 is broadcasting an interactive live web show as part of the
Embarrassing Bodies series.

The broadcaster and production company Maverick TV will stream a live
programme directly after the TV show allowing viewers to influence the
content. Channel 4 said 150,000 people already engage online during or after
the episodes.

The content of Embarrassing Bodies: Live will come from the viewers, who can
comment, vote, submit content and have their health problems diagnosed live.

Each show will also feature a live health check to follow at home, such as a
breast or testicle examination.

Adam Gee, cross-platform commissioner at Channel 4, said, “We wanted to do
something that took complete advantage of being on the web, so anything that
has gone into the show shouldn’t be possible to do on linear digital TV.”

Users can interact in real time via the channel4.co.uk/bodies site but also through
social networks including Twitter and Facebook.

The web show will start after the second episode of the current series, which
airs on 10 February.

Bodies Live

Here’s my latest project as reported in this week’s Broadcast…

mocked up screenshot

C4 to air live Bodies show online

21 January, 2010 | By Robin Parker

Channel 4 show Embarrassing Bodies is to break new ground by launching a live, interactive spin-off show that airs solely on the web.

Maverick Television is producing three 20-minute episodes of Embarrassing Bodies: Live that will air online immediately after the C4 TX of the main show.

In a live studio-based feed, C4 News reporter Bridgid Nzekwu will discuss the main talking points from the episode with the show’s three doctors: Dawn Harper, Christian Jessen and Pixie McKenna. The team will also catch up with a case from the previous week’s show that has been selected by viewers.

Throughout the webcast viewers will be able to ask questions, vote in polls and upload pictures of their bodies for the team to discuss. The site will also host commentary from sites such as Twitter.

About 150,000 people typically go to Embarrassing Bodies’ established site after transmission, and it has attracted more than 4 million visitors to date. Users have viewed videos more than 5 million times and the best of their uploads have featured in the main show.

C4 cross-platform commissioner Adam Gee said: “It’s woven into the whole fabric of the show to have user interaction shaping the editorial very directly. We wanted to push the boundaries of what’s possible with interactivity around television and make it personalised. The good thing about returning series like this is that once you have a decent web audience, you can use the platform to experiment.”

After the live webcast has aired, visitors can choose whether to watch a full-screen version of the web-feed or watch the interactive version retrospectively.

The first episode will air after part two of the new run of the show, on 10 February.

[Article reproduced courtesy of Broadcast]

2012 gets 2010 off to a flying start

British Paralympic cyclingAt 12:49 BST on 6th July 2005 I was in a meeting in a glass box in a corner of Channel 4 HQ with my then boss Heather Rabbatts and Andy Taylor (now of All3Media) as the result was announced of the winning city of the 2012 Olympic Games. Heather went particularly nuts as her husband Mike had been a key player in the London bid and was out there in Singapore with the posse of British teens who helped land my beloved native city the Big One.

An echo of that excitement tingled my spine on Friday when this note came through from our beloved creative leader (Kevin Lygo):

Dear Wondrous Staff,

A great bit of news to start the year.

The Olympic Committee has awarded us the rights to cover the Paralympics in 2012. There was a fiercely competitive tender between us and the BBC and it’s a testament to how hard many people in the channel worked that we won the bid. … It is an indication of how strong the organization is that we have been awarded such an important and prestigious opportunity.

Onwards and upwards.

Kevin.

PS. Ratings are up 18% so far this year. Oh yes.

C4 beat off bids by the emerging duopoly – BBC and BSkyB. The BBC were Britishly magnanimous in defeat: “…we are pleased that the Games will be available to free to air audiences, and we congratulate Channel Four on securing the rights. We are sure the 2012 Paralympics will be a great success.” It really is a good reflection of how the Beeb and C4 fit together on the Public Service Broadcasting landscape – complementary and with a constructive creative tension.

The 2012 Paralympics are definitely in the right home – the home of Cast Offs, Vee TV, Crip on a Trip, Born to be Different, The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, and of course re-imagined, re-energised Cricket (up to the 2005 Ashes victory which I was lucky enough to experience C4-stylee at the Oval on 12th September 05). We’re all super-proud at C4 HQ to have won this one and are looking forward hugely to bringing C4 values to such a fundamentally inspiring event.

Here’s the full story…

Channel 4 to be the Paralympic Broadcaster in the UK in 2012

  • Deal will deliver over 150 hours of television coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – more than ever before;
  • Channel 4 will run its biggest ever marketing campaign to promote the Paralympic Games;
  • Every penny LOCOG has raised from selling the rights will be invested to provide the biggest and broadest TV feed of the Paralympic Games ever;
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has awarded the UK broadcast rights to Channel 4 following a highly competitive tender process.

The deal with Channel 4 will provide the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sport with the strongest pre-Games broadcast coverage and marketing support it has ever received on UK television. As an example Channel 4 will be completely rebranded with a Paralympic theme after the London 2012 Olympic Games finish. Channel 4 will work with the world’s best production companies to build on its reputation for the most innovative sports coverage showcasing Paralympic sport to millions of viewers, fronted by a world-class presenting team.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012 commented: “The eyes of the world will be focussed on the Paralympic Games – the world’s second biggest multi-sport event – in London in 2012. We will deliver a spectacular sporting showcase for the world’s greatest Paralympic athletes, and will use the power of Paralympic sport to raise awareness; challenge stereotypes; inspire understanding and communicate the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality.

We are absolutely delighted to appoint Channel 4 as our broadcast partner in the UK. Channel 4 shares our vision for the Paralympic Games, has a very strong appeal to young people, and will play a hugely important role in increasing public engagement and involvement in Paralympic sport in this country.

We are confident that the quality and depth of the broadcast coverage provided by Channel 4 not just for the 12 days of sport in 2012, but in the two and a half years leading up to the Games, will inspire disabled people of all ages to take up sport and be a catalyst for continued change in public attitudes towards disability. The commercial value of this deal has raised the bar financially for the Paralympic movement. ”

The deal with Channel 4 includes multi-platform broadcast rights within the UK, with non-exclusive rights in the Republic of Ireland. Channel 4 will produce and screen two peak time 10 part documentaries in 2011 and 2012, building the stories of the athletes and their journey to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It will also include dedicated coverage of the Paralympic Torch Relay and will be supported by the biggest marketing campaign in the broadcaster’s history.

Channel 4 will also cover key disability sports and sporting events, in the run up to the Paralympic Games in 2012.

At Games-time, Channel 4 will deliver over 150 hours of coverage of the Paralympic Games, with over 130 hours on their core channel (Channel 4). Paralympic sport has never had this level of exposure in the UK. The coverage will be led by a flagship peak-time show, and extensive coverage will also be provided on mobile and online. Subtitling and audio description will form part of all the programming, ensuring the widest possible audience can enjoy the Games.

Lord Burns, Channel 4’s Chairman Designate, said: “For Channel 4, the London Paralympic Games will be the main event, not a sideshow to the Olympics; the Games will define our year in 2012 and take over Channel 4 for their duration. The Paralympics will be one of the most significant sporting events to be staged in Britain for many years and we’re confident the more comprehensive and more cross-platform coverage we are offering can connect the Games with the widest possible cross-section of British viewers.

Kevin Lygo, Channel 4’s Director of Television and Content, added: “Channel 4 has done more than any other broadcaster to bring disability into the mainstream and we have a great track record of broadcast innovation with sports like Test cricket. We are genuinely thrilled to be given this opportunity to work with LOCOG to bring Paralympic sport into full public focus before, during and beyond the 2012 Games and to deliver a lasting legacy, including altering public attitudes to disability and disability sport.”

Sir Philip Craven, President of the IPC commented: “The IPC congratulates Channel 4 as a free to air public broadcaster in being awarded the national television rights for the UK. I am sure they will work diligently in portraying just what a magnificent event the Paralympic Games really are, what Paralympic athletes are able to achieve and how they can inspire the world with their performances.

The IPC also wants to thank LOCOG, following a very open, transparent and fair process. The quality of all bids was very high, and I am confident that all bidding companies would have put on a great Paralympic Games coverage.”

Tanni Grey-Thompson commented: “I am pleased that the Paralympic Games will be shown by a terrestrial broadcaster in the UK in 2012. Channel 4 has some exciting plans for its coverage and marketing support.  I look forward to seeing these plans progress in the coming months and years ahead on the road to London 2012 ”

London Paralympic Logo

Love ya London

It smells like …victory

I’m getting into the swing of the lovely Twitter-based word game Artwiculate – born in Belfast, thought of and designed by atto, improved and realised by Johnston North.

Artwiculate Twitter word game
Artwiculate Twitter word game winner

Diaphanous was one of my first gos at Artwiculate. I tried one a couple of nights earlier but it was only 5 minutes before the end of the 24 hours and it didn’t register – the word was Quagmire. “I admire a good quagmire, something you can really get stuck into”

The challenge of writing well in 140 characters is something else you can really get stuck into – it has something of the unities of classical drama about it. Some people really seem to shine at it like Russell no T Davies of Wired UK.

I came across Artwiculate because I’m always on the look-out for inspirational word stuff in my capacity as a non-exec (NED – another word game I indulge in is collecting TLAs) of Wordia, the video dictionary which is a quagmire in itself once you immerse yourself in all those lovely words and definitions like Vibrato, Neologism and Flannel.

Update 12.01.10

Some of my recent Artwiculate entries:

A John Osborne one…

The Avocado Bathroom Suite – a drama by Kitsch N. Sink. Jimmy looks back in anger on a miserable visit to Habitat with posh cow Alison.

A Steely Dan one…

Yesterday’s Ephemeral is today’s Ephem: no static at all

An Evelyn Waugh/Men at Arms one…

Lissome up, men, I want this march lithe, quick and graceful – by the left, lithe, quick and graceful march! left, right, left, right…

Now that’s what I call blue

by Jaume Plensa

Photograph sent to me today by director Mike Christie of Carbon Media

Dream by Jaume Plensa created through Channel 4′s Big Art Project

See Dreaming the Dream

The NHS and Computers

NHS + Computers = Bad for your well-being

The fruits of 45 minutes (so far) trying to register for online Repeat Prescription Facility…

Frankly a scandal – how much public money did they pay for this shit?

This site was made by Egton Medical Information Systems Limited in Leeds.

Postscript: Trying to feedback to Egton

The crowning glory – hitting the Submit button on the Contact form of this Medical Information Systems (ha) outfit to feedback this crappy experience repeatedly gave rise to…

The Submit button alone for the Contact form tells you all you need to know about this kind of technology company (stuff made by programmers with little sense of UX)…

along with the typos littering the site and the way they handle Customer Service…

Update 14.i.10:

Here’s how the NHS does formatted emails… (just arrived from the NHS Institute – whatever that is)

NHS email

Best of 2009

[this is a work in progress]

film still

Burn, baby, burn - it fired me up

Film:
1. Inglourious Basterds – because it reignited my excitement with cinema

2. The Hangover – because it afforded me a fine evening of laughter with the Enfants Terribles
3. A Serious Man – for the uncompromising ending and beautiful cinematography by my former boss Roger Deakins
4. Moon – for being intriguing and thought-provoking
5. District 9 – for realising an inventive concept well
6. An Education – for a supercharismatic central performance
7. Nowhere Boy – for fine performances all round

Actor:
1. Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) – couldn’t take my eyes off him

2. Sam Rockwell (Moon)
3. Christian McKay (Me & Orson Welles) – not an easy persona to capture
4. Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy)
5. Andy Serkis (Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll)
6. Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
7. Adam Sandler (Funny People) – got papped behind him leaving BAFTA (that’s no way to live)
8. John Travolta (The Taking of Pelham 123)

Actress:
1. Carey Mulligan (An Education) – old school screen charisma

2. Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy) – did a great, feisty Q&A for us at The Phoenix, East Finchley
3. Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey)
4. Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank)

Supporting Actor:
1. Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds) – captured the humour whilst retaining the character’s intrigue

2. Alfred Molina (An Education) – also a close second, helped pull off the ending with a pivotal moving scene
3. Ed Helms (The Hangover)
4. Thomas Sangster (Nowhere Boy) – striking screen presence
5. Peter Capaldi (In the Loop)
6. Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)

Supporting Actress:
1. Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy)

2. Claire Danes (Me & Orson Welles)
3. Rosamund Pike (An Education)

Director:
1. Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) – gets it on the strength of the opening scene alone

2. The Coen Brothers (A Serious Man)
3. Neill Blomkamp (District 9)
4. Todd Phillips (The Hangover)
5. Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
6. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
7. Duncan Jones (Moon)

Script:
1. The Hangover

2. A Serious Man
3. District 9
4. Up in the Air
5. Moon

TV:
Gavin & Stacey

Gig:
1. Hothouse Flowers – Community hall, Baltimore, West Cork

2.
Bat for Lashes – The Roundhouse
Christy Moore – Festival Hall
Lisa Hannigan – Festival Hall

3.
Blur – Hyde Park (The Enfants Terribles’ first gig)
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Empire Shepherd’s Bush
David Gray – The Roundhouse

LP:
Sea Sew – Lisa Hannigan

The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Single:
1. Glass – Bat for Lashes

2. Say Hey – Michael Franti & Spearhead

Book:
The Great Lover – Jill Dawson

Art:
Dream – Jaume Plensa

Anish Kapoor – Royal Academy

Play:
August: Osage County (NT)
Prick Up Your Ears (The Comedy)

Sports event:
1. Ireland winning the 6 Nations

2. Spurs 9-1 victory over Wigan

Website:
Posterous

Saddest loss:
John Martyn

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