Archive for the ‘multiplatform’ Category

South America Day 4: Rosario – 50 shades of green

el cairo cinema sign rosario argentina

It’s been a good while since I’ve been on a plane with propellors. This one was quite magical. It flew low (i.e. in clear sight of the ground) out over the River Plate / Rio de la Plata, a rich muddy brown colour, as extensive as a sea, Uruguay visible only as a thin strip in the distance on the other side; along the muddy water (which of course is silvery or argentine in the sunlight) into the enormous delta region; and on over water-level land bisected by the meanders of the river (Rio Parana) and divided by myriad channels, very little sign of habitation or human presence.

river plate argentina from plane

We landed in Rosario, Argentina’s second city, 50 minutes north-west of Buenos Aires. It’s largely a human scale, two-storey urban sprawl, all in square city blocks, with very varied architecture (very little sign of any planning control or heritage building restoration). Some very elegant buildings among the hideous blocks. My companions Damian, Valeria and Robert and I landed in one of the class ones – the El Cairo cafe, once the cultural and literary hub of Rosario thanks to the writer Roberto Fontanarrosa, El Negro, a son of the city who hung out every afternoon with his compadres to talk culture, politics, football and all the stuff of life. Damian once optioned some of his short stories but found them impossible to realise in practice due to their fantastical nature – Mars is not an easy location.

el cairo cinema rosario argentina

A couple of doors down is the El Cairo cinema, a beautiful 40s art deco picture palace decorated with palm trees and orientalist details, redolent of Casablanca, Rick’s, the Blue Parrot, all those usual suspects. It has a huge screen and a rich crimson womb-like vibe. The boss of the cinema, the charming Arielo Vicente, took us down to the old railway station by the river. In the British-built, red brick railway terminal, which was specially opened for us, is now a fabulous children’s project, a space for children and their parents to come at no cost to hang out together and do arts activities from making clothes to welding scrap-metal sculptures, from manufacturing paper to reflecting on memories.

old railway terminus rosario argentina

Adding to yesterday’s list of things that have cemented themselves in my head about this place and its people:

  • Argentines think a lot about what’s public
  • The advent of democracy in the mid-80s is a major watershed in their consciousness
  • They are very good at crafting attractive environments
  • They seem remarkably friendly and warm to each other too (I watched an emblematic scene in the airport today of a man and woman returning the mobile phone of an old fella who hadn’t realised he’d lost it – lots of goodwill and smiles).

There were lovely details in the old railway building – a glass wall at the tracks end creating a compelling view along the still extant tracks, the old ticket windows, some well worn wooden stairs up to the first floor (where there’s an animation workshop with a refreshingly analogue, hands-on focus).

rio parana rosario argentina

We had a drink at the riverside (Rio Parana) before returning to the Cairo where I followed Damian giving a talk to an audience largely of students and young Rosarians about what’s exciting about ‘transmedia’. The queue for the event was out the door and down the block. Really enjoyed chatting to the young folk afterwards and joining them in their selfies.

davis silos rosario argentina

As the red neon El Cairo sign illuminated (a distant relative of the Phoenix sign in East Finchley) Arielo took us back to the river, beside some massive, beautifully painted grain silos (now a modern art museum) to a fantastic modern restaurant where I ate paku, a river fish that really tastes of river, a fascinating muddy aspect to the taste which I enjoyed more than the natives (not to be confused with pako, the cheapest, nastiest derivative of cocaine, which was the subject of my attempt at Spanish wordplay, feeble but given how little Spanish I know not altogether unworthy. I started learning Spanish today in the footsteps of 20.2M other Duolinguo users. I’ll try it out on my Argentine amigos on Monday.) Washed it down with a beer, the right drink at the right time, although no native cerveza to be had.

paku river fish argentina

Though no beer was really needed, we all felt buzzed by the positive response to the El Cairo event and the youthful energy in the air.

adam gee el cairo cinema rosario

courtesy of @yazmin_pacifico

South America Day 3: meat me in BA

storm at audio-visual district buenos aires

Wow, where did that come from? One minute I’m walking along with three charming lunch companions, the next minute the rain and hail is so intense I can’t even see across the street to the Audio-Visual District HQ in an old market building, open to the air. As previously reported, it’s Spring here and seemingly that means extreme shifts of weather. This time yesterday I was sunbathing on a stone seat – now I’ve ducked into a cosy but lively café, the Decata, with thunder and lightening punctuating the background music in here.

currywurst german sausage

Lunch was very enjoyable in a German-owned place which gave me the chance to switch from my Spantaliano to Deutschpagnol. My three companions were a young TV presenter-producer who fronts a show in Venuezuela, a fella from Colombia who loves punk (Pistols Tshirt yesterday, Clash today) and a translator-scriptwriter. They filled me in on the harsh realities of the closed economy here (pretty much the opposite of London and what makes it tick – advantage of being an island, where trading is second nature) and I felt their frustration at how it hemmed in their creativity, natural entrepreneurialism and energy.

This morning I went back to Mediamorfosis to listen to a session on multiplatform history by Alvaro Liuzzi. His project on the Malvinas conflict 30 years on was particularly interesting. Veterans joined in the Twitter narration by publishing extracts from their long-forgotten war diaries. A journalist found an undeveloped Kodak disposible on the islands and used the project to help track down the soldiers who showed up in the developed photos.

Next up was Robert Pratten of Conducttr, an East Ham man who talked through the very interesting and well integrated Twitter game he developed for Canal Plus in Spain for Game of Thrones. He had some keen observations on patterns around transmedia which were great food for thought. He, like me, places great emphasis on the centrality of the audience.

Damian Kirzner who organised Mediamorfosis is the long lost twin of my friend Jim Dwyer in Dublin. I’m going to make a point of engineering an opportunity for them to meet face to face. Damian pressed his two teenage sons into service as well as his good lady wife making the whole thing a delightful family affair, lovingly crafted. The two boys couldn’t have been more solicitous in taking care of dad’s Brit mate.

ernest hemingway writer at typewriter

The storm has somewhat bollocksed my planned flaneur activities for the afternoon so I’ll sit here Hemingway-like on the trusty Air (in my head a portable Halda) and rethink…

The Apple MacBook Air of its day (but with better battery life)

The Apple MacBook Air of its day (but with better battery life)

The solution was meat.

steak meat

Two and a half days in Argentina and no red meat. I had to do something about it. I headed across town with Robert and a taxi load of super-friendly Argentine women from Mediamorfosis to the Teatro Picadero where, beside a newly and beautifully restored theatre, warmly lit throughout, was steak. Not the stake of stakeholders and other arts jargon from subsidised theatre. Steak as in the two truckloads of cows I spotted on Day 1 coming in from the airport. We had dinner hosted by Marina Marchesotti, boss of the Picadero, along with people from the British Council, the Picadero and Direct TV from LA. Red wine flowed. A pile of meat duly arrived. The evening flowed happily.

teatro picadero sign buenos aires

A couple of things that have cemented themselves in my head today:

  • Argentines do a single kiss – consistently (no European double, even men do it much of the time on other men)
  • Argentines commonly have Italian names
  • Apart from the grumpy taxi driver on Day 2, everyone here is genuinely friendly and warmly welcoming.

teatro picadero buenos aires restaurant

South America Day 2: An Irishman in Buenos Aires

The sun has put his hat on. The tree-filled Plaza San Martin looked the business as I taxied across town past the main station and through much more impressive neighbourhoods, greenery, space and Euro-elegance.

I spent the morning at Mediamorfosis, a progressive transmedia conference lovingly arranged by my friend Damian Kirzner, a producer and passionate advocate of multiplatform story-telling. We first met at the International Emmys in Cannes a couple of years ago, both nominees. We tried to hatch an ambitious Anglo-Argentine multiplatform environmental project focused on the South Atlantic but it floundered on the rocks of British realpolitik. Shame because the sea-life there is seriously under threat.

At Damian’s invitation I did a turn trying to get across what’s exciting about transmedia and where the opportunities lie. It seemed to go down well so hopefully it may inspire a Latin or two to come up with a multiplatform creation which works this side of the water.

street in Buenos AiresTook a long hike across the city with a Columbian student along tree-lined streets of two-storey European-style buildings through the extensive area known as Palermo. Reminded me of similar streets in Toronto, Tel Aviv and Paris. We talked drums, jazz, politics – thoroughly enjoyable wander. One highlight was a beautiful bookshop of high wooden shelves with a tranquil cafe secreted at the back – where I would definitely hang out if I lived here. The only book in English I saw was by Jamie Oliver.

bookshop in buenos airesWhich brings me to Shakespeare. I’m still in the garden near his bust as mentioned on Day 1. I’ve had a fine siesta in the sun. Read some more ludicrous stuff about Nazis in Lisbon. And am about to head off on the hour walk back to have cocktails in the media district.

el rosedal garden buenos aires loversAs it turned out, I got lost (not like me in cities) and went on a marvellous sunset adventure involving riot police in the evening sunshine

riot police on the streets of buenos airesand people talking in a big glass box and a grumpy old taxi driver who I had to tell I was Irish to avoid further disapprobation. And that was all before the alcohol.

radio station glass wall buenos aires

A cool million

Tonight we hit a cool million tests taken on My MindChecker, my first project post-sabbatical at Channel 4. That’s in just 8 days – it launched with the new (4th) series of Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic last Tuesday.

Today it made the front page of the Mail Online.

Today's Mail Online front page

Among the unembarrassing bodies on today’s Mail Online front page

I like the last line of this coverage in the Evening Standard:

Evening Standard 15.iv.14

Evening Standard 15.iv.14

And here’s a neat little piece from The Sunday Times:

Sunday Times 13.iv.14

Sunday Times 13.iv.14

The Autism Test we featured in last week’s show was done 63,000 times during the hour of the show and by 11pm (3 hours in) that had reached 100,000. The total now stands at 350,000 completed tests. These anonymised results will go to the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge for their on-going work at the cutting edge of autism spectrum disorder research.

Links for Orna

Some concrete examples of multiplatform TV (factual)

The Great British Property Scandal (case study video)

George Clarke Great British Property Scandal

Seven Days (case study video)

Seven.Days_48sheet_Version.B_HR2

Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic (case study video)

embarrassing-bodies-series-3

Big Fish Fight  (case study video)

hughs-big-fish-fight

D-Day as it happens (post-TX website)

dday

Foxes Live (post-TX website)

foxes_live

 

The New Rules of Engagement

This extract from Broadcast is based on a roundtable discussion about the state of play of multiplatform and interactivity around TV.

The new rules of engagement

14 March, 2013 | By 

What are broadcasters and producers bringing to the table in multiplatform projects – and how can they make them pay? Broadcast brought together the key players at a roundtable sponsored by Xbox

Broadcast 150313

ROUNDTABLE THE PANEL

Alex Farber (chair) Web editor, Broadcast
Adam Gee Multiplatform commissioner of factual, Channel 4
Harvey Eagle Marketing director, Xbox UK
Paul Bennun Chief creative officer, Somethin’ Else
Peter Cowley Managing director, Spirit Media
Victoria Jaye Head of IPTV and TV online content, BBC Vision
Anthony Rose Founder, Zeebox
Janine Smith Creative director, Zodiak Active

Why is innovation so important?

Paul Bennun All of us want to create wonderful services, products and content that is going to be enjoyed and used by as many people as possible. You can’t just think about programmes any more; you have to use design-thinking, and that means employing more than one platform.

Do viewers want innovation?

Anthony Rose When there was only black-and-white TV, it’s unlikely people were clamouring for colour; they didn’t know it was possible. As a developer, you take bigger bets on things that you think have a high chance of succeeding and smaller bets on things that are fun to try. That’s the joy of innovation.

How do they engage with content?

AR Once the BBC filmed beautiful things for TV, then it began producing programme pages online, then second- screen apps. Then Twitter arrived offering conversations around content. The nirvana is that some programmes could be completely interactive. Imagine The Voice where the audience is the fifth chair.

PB I disagree, I do not want to be calling the shots on a football match. I want a director to tell that story because they can do a better job than I can. Interactive dramas that try to work on a mass scale tend to be worse than a simple linear experience.

Adam Gee But Embarrassing Bodies: Live From The Clinic is exactly in that space. You can watch the show at 8pm and have been on it by 9pm. It throws the emphasis back on live TV, which is good for advertising. There is a sweet spot between TV and interactive where you can get mass participation and rewarding, new experiences.

Janine Smith We have reached a point where we can learn from things we have done, and develop new formats where the multiplatform element is integral and not just an extended add-on.

There is a sweet spot between TV and interactive where you can get mass participation and rewarding, new experiences.  Adam Gee, Channel 4

Has the role of the broadcaster changed?

AG It’s critical to ask what you can bring as a broadcaster that no one else can. Facebook, Twitter or Zeebox couldn’t make Live From The Clinic. You want to get to a position where if you extract the digital from the TV, it’s a lesser programme and vice-versa.

VJ Programming is still one of the key catalysts for social discussion. You’ve got to put something great out there for the audience to get excited about. Only we can bring Sir David Attenborough to Twitter for a chat about Africa.

AG I always ask if what is being proposed is better than a really good TV show and Twitter. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is one of the biggest factual formats on Channel 4, but there’s nothing much that we can usefully bring to the party in that case – so we don’t…

Peter Cowley Editorially I agree, but if you were a purely commercial broadcaster you might have a different view.

PB When the BBC removed its multiplatform commissioning, it effectively started presenting itself to the world as a TV commissioner. Because the BBC measures itself on its performance with TV programmes, it isn’t measuring the success of its digital formats.

AG We’re in a different place at C4. The past 18 months has been about trying to find the passage from digital to television. I’m working on a panel show that started life as an online arts commission; it’s a sign of maturity that this direction of travel is now possible.

How mainstream are multiplatform projects becoming?

VJ Media literacy is a big job for the BBC. The challenge is: how do you invite and choreograph 6 million people to download an app and play along with a 35-year-old programme such as Antiques Roadshow?

HE We are now trying to expand our audience beyond core gamers by creating content and entertainment experiences with broader appeal.

Who are the emerging players?

VJ Felix Baumgartner’s space dive really showcased the mixed economy: a 10-minute live event, funded by Red Bull, with 8 million YouTube viewers, followed by a BBC documentary funded via a completely different model with National Geographic. It shows the new players that are bringing audiences content.

PB Red Bull has no broadcast infrastructure overheads. It will ask how something executes across the different platforms and won’t draw any distinctions. We made Red Bull’s Bedroom Jam, which included an online music competition and a live broadcast. A programme doesn’t sum up what we’re trying to achieve any more.

HE We’re trying to go beyond the console model and become a service that exists across multiple devices.

AG The new YouTube channels are an area where TV baggage is damaging. Some have squeezed out everything that’s really good about YouTube. You want that energy that comes from someone being able to record, edit and bang something out in three hours.

Extract published courtesy of Broadcast

Broadcast New Rules of Engagement

 

 

The Next 30 Years of Channel 4

2nd November marked the 30th anniversary of Channel 4. Here’s an extract from an article published by Broadcast to mark the event -

How C4 must approach its next 30 years

by Dr James Bennett of Royal Holloway, University of London, derived from a 2-year study he was involved in about the role independent production companies play in the cultures and economics of Public Service Broadcasting and “its multiplatform future”.

But the cultural commitment from indies to C4’s public service remit might be under threat. Decreasing production budgets from broadcasters and the imperative to sell formats overseas as a result of producers’ retention of IP rights following the 2003 Communication Act have resulted in aversion to risk. This has the potential to undermine the creation of the kind of challenging, innovative, diverse and engaging programming that has been the hallmark of C4. Senior producers worried that younger generations lacked the skill set and training in public service modes of production that had been so pivotal to their success.

Yet a movement away from the 30 year cultural commitment to public service broadcasting would only harm UK plc: it is PSB that makes UK content unique, innovative, challenging and sellable around the world.

There remain grounds for optimism. Not least because of the cultural commitment to PSB found across so many independents, but also because of Channel 4’s investment in multiplatform production and digital platforms.

From apps that increase our awareness of sexual health – Embarrassing Bodies – to successful multiplatform ethical fishery campaign – Fish Fight – C4 has taken some its pioneering, challenging and innovative approach to public service online. And it is taking a group of talented digital producers, committed and passionate about public service, with it. If it can balance profit and public service, and its commitment to diversity of independent suppliers with the need to foster a close relationship with digital indies, C4 can help create a digital public service sector that will ensure the broadcaster’s continuing relevance for a multiplatform future.

{Extract published courtesy of Broadcast}

Hotel GB opening its doors

Next up from these quarters is Hotel GB – kicks off on Monday night at 9pm on Channel 4. In terms of Multiplatform the emphasis is on lively chat and social media, which is why we’re working closely with Twitter. As my friend Judyth put it last weekend, “you’re a pill-sugarer” – I am indeed a pusherman (my theme tune is here), in the business of disguising public value and learning in colourful shells of celebrity and entertainment. The vibe on the location this morning was positively party-like – I chatted with Gordon Ramsay, Mary Portas, Kirstie Allsopp and Gok and all seemed really up for it, having fun for five days whilst highlighting some critical issues around young people and employment at this particular juncture. Meanwhile Tim Lovejoy and Sara Cox are psyched about diving in for some online banter. Here’s some stuff from Broadcast about it…

Twitter & C4 tie-up for Hotel GB

28 September, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 has forged a direct partnership with Twitter to boost activity around its forthcoming reality show Hotel GB.

Twitter broadcast partnerships executive Dan Biddle has been working closely with C4 and production company Maverick Television to ensure the stripped show’s social media champions Sara Cox and Tim Lovejoy are as effective as possible.

@sarajcox and @timlovejoy, who have 496,000 and 477,000 followers respectively, have been appointed to act as online cheerleaders for each team throughout the show which airs on Monday.

The social networking site has provided behind-the-scenes technical input such as statistical analysis, best practice guidelines and extra code.

The @C4HotelGB profile, which currently has 3,500 followers, was also handed a verified account status immediately.

C4 has previously paid for promoted tweets on the site but is not thought to have worked so closely on a single show before.

Maverick’s production team, led by multiplatform executive producer Claire McArdle, will manage the celebrities updates throughout the series without input from Twitter.

C4 multiplatform commissioning editor of features and fact ent Adam Gee said the input from Twitter would significantly boost the profile of the Hotel GB.

“They have given us a lot of good tips as to how to squeeze the most out of the show via the site,” said Gee. “They have vast pools of knowledge which have provided us with ideas we wouldn’t have had ourselves.”

McCardle added the insights provided by Twitter had been as detailed as how to manage multiple hashtags within a single tweet.

“Their interest in how we are using the site to magnify the show gives us a sense we are trying something new around it,” she said. “It’s like we have been given a real-life verification tick.”

C4 recruits celebs to cheerlead Hotel GB

14 September, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 is to recruit two celebrity social media cheerleaders to build engagement with its factual entertainment series Hotel GB.

The broadcaster will tap into the yet-to-be-confirmed male and female celebrities’ huge online followings to reach a significant audience quickly during October’s stripped five-part show.

Each will be allocated a team to support throughout the series, which will see Gordon Ramsay and Mary Portas turn a hotel into a fundraising training ground for unemployed people.

C4 multiplatform commissioning editor of features and fact ent Adam Gee said the ephemeral nature of the show meant making an instant impact was vital.

“It will be a huge multiplatform live event with the main focus on oiling the wheels of social media because the show has a strong entertainment focus,” he said. “The cheerleaders will wind each other up and get their followers behind their teams in a playful way.”

Maverick Television has been appointed to manage the digital activity surrounding the show, which is being produced by its All3Media sister indie Optomen.

Maverick multiplatform executive producer Claire McArdle said the stripped series had insufficient time to organically grow its own social media profile. “To ramp up quickly we must partner with people who are already out there,” she said.

McArdle, who will lead a team embedded round-the-clock in the undisclosed London hotel, said the main site would feature a blog style format, including a quiz, updates and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

It will also offer links to career resources.

A standalone casting tool, which will be rolled out to support other shows, will enable viewers to appear in Hotel GB.

{articles reproduced courtesy of Broadcast}

Clean Sweep – Broadcast Digital Awards 2012

C4 and BBC4 triumph at Broadcast Digital Awards

21 June, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 made a clean sweep of the multiplatform categories at the Broadcast Digital Awards on Wednesday [20th June 2012], with four wins.

Indie-made projects for C4 won Best Game (The Bank Job), Best App (Facejacker), Best Website (Sexperience), Best Multiplatform Project (Live From The Clinic).

C4 also landed a fifth award, for Best News or Current Affairs, for the Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields website.

{extract published courtesy of Broadcast}

Fantastic Plastic for Live from the Clinic handed over by Mr Gilbert, headmaster of The In-betweeners (Greg Davies)

 

Appiness

My most recent project, released last week to mark the start of Series 2 of Live from the Clinic, is 3 Embarrassing Bodies-branded iPhone apps. Here’s the story so far as related by Broadcast today:

Embarrassing Bodies apps near 400,000 downloads in one week

23 May, 2012 | By 

The new trio of Embarrassing Bodies iPhone apps have been downloaded nearly 400,000 times since the start of the new series of Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic last week.

The main app – My HealthChecker – has had over 300,000 downloads alone. The app includes new tests for eyesight, colour blindness tests, as well as memory and lung function tests. Users can track their results over time and compare them anonymously with the other users.

Sister app My MoleChecker has been downloaded 71,681 times since the launch of the new series, while My SelfChecker has been downloaded 15,061 times.

It is the first time the trio of apps have been made available on mobile and have been developed by Maverick Television, which is also producing the 8 x 60-minute show currently on air.

The MyHealthChecker app has topped the iTunes app store free download chart. C4 multi-platform commissioner Adam Gee, who ordered all three of the apps, said it represented an evolution of the show on mobile.

“Embarrassing Bodies has embraced mobile since the outset of the show but this represents a whole new generation of Embarrassing Bodies mobile through which viewers can do things which they can’t do on a laptop or any other device,” he said. “This trio of apps really makes the most of the portability, personalisation and privacy of smartphones.”

The web version of My HealthChecker has seen 450,000 people register and the Live from the Clinic site is estimated to have helped save the NHS around £662,000.

{Republished courtesy of Broadcast}

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