Archive for the ‘new media’ Category
A bulletin from the front-line of MIP TV in Cannes courtesy of C21 Media
C4 lines up ‘social media first’
MIPCUBE: UK broadcaster Channel 4′s first primetime show drawn entirely from digital airs this summer, allowing viewers to play along on social media and receive bonus content.
Was It Something I Said?, initially an eight-part Friday night panel show, will be presented by comedian David Mitchell and produced by Maverick TV and That Mitchell & Webb Co.
Adam Gee, Channel 4’s multi-platform commissioning editor, told C21 here in Cannes: “We’ve been trying to do this for a long time. For the last two years I’ve been looking for ‘the North West Passage’ from digital media to TV. This started life as an arts digital commission and now it’s yielded primetime television.”
Gee, responsible for commissioning campaigning multi-platform properties The Great British Property Scandal and Hugh’s Fish Fight, claimed the new show would be a social media first.
“What’s particularly interesting about it is that the playalong will be fully integrated into social media, so you won’t have to go somewhere else to join in,” he said.
The show pits two teams against each other in wordplay, based on things people have said, tweets, media, and TV and film dialogue. Viewers will be able to play along with the show on Twitter, and receive bonus content.
Picking up on the last post I’m glad to see my thoughts on YouTube-type video…
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.
…broadly confirmed from the front line. Hank, one of the fellas behind Crash Course and SciShow, summarises the Lessons Learned from YouTube’s $300M Hole (its first tranche of ’Original Channel’ investment) thus:
- Spending more money to produce the same number of minutes of content does not increase viewership. Online video isn’t about how good it looks, it’s about how good it is.
- People who make online video are much better at making online video than people who make TV shows. This probably seems obvious to you (it certainly is to me) but it apparently was not obvious to the people originally distributing this money.
- When advertising agencies tell you they want something (higher quality content, long-form content, specific demographics, lean-back content, stuff that looks like tv) it’s not our job to attempt to deliver those things. In a world where the user really does get to choose, the content created to satisfy the needs and wants of viewers (not advertisers) will always reign supreme (thankfully.)
He concludes “Of the 114 channels that YouTube funded as part of this initiative, my educated guess is that exactly one earned back its advance…”
No real surprise there gauging by the UK channels which are broadly made as cheap TV which looks …cheap – but not cheerful. Cheerful is the energy referred to above, in a world where there is no such thing as a jump cut and individual personality is what communicates the joie de vivre.
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 Alex Farber
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
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
There was a useful article in this week’s Broadcast about Channel 4′s Multiplatform commissioning and its direction of travel, based on an interview with the Multiplatform Lead, Louise Brown. Here are a few extracts [with a few annotations from me]:
C4’s multiplatform commissioning lead has been charged with finding innovative ways to get viewers involved in its campaigns [it's not limited to campaigns] through apps and online projects.
Multiplatform and convergence have been two key messages coming out of Channel 4 over the past 18 months, and Louise Brown is heading the team charged with innovation [including me whose focus is features and factual entertainment].
As multiplatform commissioning lead, Brown works with five commissioning editors tasked with working on two-screen projects that create meaningful dialogue.
George Clarke’s The Great British Property Scandal is the latest campaign to be getting the full 360-degree treatment, with a season of programmes supported by a range of multiplatform activity including an iPhone app and an online tool for members of the public to identify where there are empty homes, via mapping technology. The key activity is an online petition.
“It’s calling for a change in the law around long-term empty homes being made available for ordinary people to use, as well as setting up a low-interest loan fund,” Brown explains.
The information will be used by democracy project My Society [MySociety made the tools and app, they don't use the information, the tools pass it on securely] and passed on to the local authorities. Taking lessons from last January’s Hugh’s Fish Fight, which harnessed the mass-TV audience to make a tangible change to policy, Brown is hoping to get more than 10,000 signatures on the petition.
“In multiplatform overall, we are constantly learning; the team’s remit is really to innovate,” she says.
Adam Gee, multiplatform features and fact ent commissioner, has worked on campaigns for both Hugh’s Fish Fight and The Great British Property Scandal. Brown believes his experience can lead to more powerful campaigns in future.
“C4 prides itself on having really impactful programmes. When you have been stirred by a programme, you need to do something with that. That is what is so exciting about having multiplatform at the heart of things now,” she says.
One of the key lessons from the campaigns is that people need to have a variety of access points to do something that is achievable, she says.
Campaigns are not the only area in which C4 is looking to invest. All of its programmes have a web presence, but the level of interactivity will vary, says Brown. “In terms of resources, I would rather have the focus on a few standout, compelling experiences around really appropriate subject matter than try to make everything a little bit multiplatform,” she says.
Brown points to the range demonstrated by The Million Pound Drop Live playalong game, Comedy Blaps, Hippo: Wild Feast Live and forthcoming gameshow Bank Job.
In the ambitious Hippo: Wild Feast Live, a dead hippo was placed on a river and C4 attempted to let the audience watch almost every stage of the animal’s body being consumed as its energy was passed down the food chain. “It came together quite quickly,” she reflects. “Natural history is another area where I really hope we are going to see some more events or experiences. If we get the right subject matter and the right approach, it makes it a uniquely C4 experience. Not everything worked, but if everything is going right, we are not pushing hard enough.”
Despite some technical glitches, the project attracted an audience that was willing to spend time on the website – one of the factors Brown considers when looking at a project’s success.
The starting point when assessing how well a project has done is the number of visits to the site, followed by the number of minutes people spend on the site, and then the number of return visits. On the Hippo project, viewers spent an average of 19 minutes watching a live stream, which culminated in 6,500 hours of live-action views.
Those are the overall markers of success. But each genre should be approached differently as each has its own potential for multiplatform. In scripted content such as drama and comedy, the key thing is talent, says Brown.
C4 has just ordered 14 developments from 200 pitches submitted after its first ever online briefing. The plan now is to increase the frequency of briefings and the number of commissions. “The total focus of my team is finding new talented companies. Sometimes they are content companies and sometimes they are technology companies,” she explains.
“At next year’s briefings, I would like to see more TV companies interested in multiplatform commissioning. We have some of the best digital companies, who come along with really brilliant thinkers, and I would like some of those TV thinkers to come along and meet with them.”
C4’s strategy of two-screen commissioning revolves around the TV, but over the coming year, we can expect to see a more fluid use of ideas. “I would be gobsmacked if an online idea doesn’t migrate onto TV next year. There are ideas we are considering already. There is already a case where it is has gone into a strand for a show. It is absolutely what we think and know will happen,” she says.
Ultimately, C4’s aim of pushing the boundaries in convergence and two-screen has led to a change in the way it commissions and the type of content it is working with, and a deeper understanding of audience behaviour. The next year will only see it building on that foundation.
How to pitch
• Know why your idea is perfect for Channel 4
• Come to our briefings
• Keep up with our current Multiplatform commissions – what you can learn, where you might overlap
• Overthink it – commissioners want to input/help
• Assume the involvement of existing C4 talent
• Pitch comedy or drama without a writer
Channel 4 multiplatform:
A broad development slate
Channel 4 multiplatform commissioners have ordered 14 developments since the online summer briefing.
There’s a non-linear narrative drama and factual-based projects looking at topics such as international finance and food waste, while an entertainment format looks at the depth of friendships online.
Adam Gee has ordered a development looking at international finance. The project, from Cardiff ’s Cube Interactive and Twofour, aims to offer an experience of how international finance works and promises the unusual spectacle of a City trader, a bookie, a housewife and a monkey pitted against each other.
The idea is seen as having potential to translate to TV and could potentially be stripped over a number of days. Ten Alps’ Wasted, another Adam Gee order, focuses on a new chef who promotes how to avoid wasting food. The format will show people how to use their food by the end of the week rather than throw it away.
Intimate Exchanges uses Alan Ayckbourn’s 1982 play to explore the concept of non-linear drama. Multiplatform drama commissioner Hilary Perkins ordered the project from Tern in Glasgow.
A number of potential interactive treatments are being developed based on the themes of the original play. The idea is based on examining how decisions can be made both in a local environment, such as the living room, and how that might compare with regional and national decisions.
An in-depth knowledge of digital culture is the basis for The Network, which is being worked on by Nerd TV. The development, an entertainment format commissioned by Jody Smith, looks at how well people’s online friends really know them, and is another development earmarked as a possible TV transfer.
Ever tried looking for a quotation online (of the literary as opposed to the insurance variety)? Wasn’t much fun was it? Not that easy to find what you want. And just how accurate was it? And why does it look like the site was made by a geek with no design skills in his stinky bedroom?
But you love great quotes don’t you? On your Facebook profile. In that presentation. You know, those ones you keep in that file – the one on your old computer. They’re everywhere – on the tube, in that advert, on that building, in that caff.
So why don’t we get the quotation sites we deserve and desire? Although there are several in the Alexa top 5000 most are labours of love, evolutions, accretions of amateur solutions stuck one on top of another like the proverbial sticking plaster. Or take Wikiquote – I search for “cars” and I get a Disney property, not a hint of shiny metallic vehicle in sight…
And how pug ugly is that homepage?
And don’t get me started on the functionality which makes no real distinction between an encyclopedia article and a quotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wikipedia as much as the next man, woman or child but Wikiquote ain’t no fun.
Suffer no more, fellow lovers of wit and wordcraft – may I introduce you to Quotables (www.quotabl.es) my latest baby, a Beta finding its feet at this stage, but already I hope lovelier and with your help, advice, input, love potentially a solution to the online quotes joylessness.
Quotables is designed to work in four dimensions:
- as a Utility – an accessible place to save the quotes you love, the Delicious of quotations
- as a Reference Resource – growing into a comprehensive and contemporary repository of accurate, properly sourced quotes
- as a Reflector of Buzz – capturing what’s most on people’s minds at a given time, indicating the trends and zeitgeist
- as a Community of quote and language lovers – drawing together people who want to take on what was controlled by an editorial elite in the dead-tree era.
Quotables encourages contributors to draw on non-traditional sources such as bons mots heard live at public events, snappy one-liners from TV shows, tweets, a rich mix from high literature to popular culture. It also encourages short, concise selections (up to 75 words max) – that’s a “Quotable”. And it’s keen to promote the behaviour of saving our favourite quotes as we do our links on the likes of Delicious – to abandon those lost and abandoned files and notebooks and get Quotables to help that transition from old computer to new, to help circumvent that fruitless search for a scribbled upon bit of dead-tree not seen for a dog’s age.
The Beta is offered in the spirit of this quote which not so long ago defined its era:
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
We know some stuff we have yet to implement or roll-out – much of the mobile dimension of Quotables, some more of the integration into social networks, one click mark-and-publish from the browser, a long list programmed for release over the next year. But for the Unknown Unknowns we rely on you, dear reader, to tell us about via Laura Grace, our producer at email@example.com – observations, suggestions, gripes, words of wisdom, all much appreciated to help us shape this baby for the greater good.
Quotables has been lovingly made by Mint Digital and co-funded by Channel 4 and Arts Council England.
That master of wit and badinage Donald Rumsfeld who blessed us with the unknowable above also produced this little gem…
Oh, Lord, I didn’t mean to say anything quotable.
Well tough titty, Donald – we’re coming after everyone from you via Donald Duck to Donald Trump, from Jonathan Franzen to Franz Beckenbauer, from Martin Amis to Amy Winehouse, from Father Ted to Ted Hughes, not forgetting my favourite contribution of my own to date – a non-traditional source (police video), the verbal pyrotechnics of Mad Mel:
What are you looking at, sugar tits?
We’d love to revel in your own favourite(s) so without further ado please do head over to Quotables, have a poke around, and share some sugar, love and inspiration…
Channel 4 has commissioned a cross-platform religion and ethics project, 4thought.tv, based around a series of short films, in which a single speaker will reflect on religious and ethical issues or aspects of their spiritual lives.
The films will air after Channel 4 News every day, 7 nights a week, 365 days a year. The strand will also have a strong online presence on the forthcoming 4thought.tv website, overseen by Cross Platform Commissioning Editor Adam Gee. Every film will be made available to view on this site (and on 4OD), as well as providing a rich mix of extra video content.
The project requires a person who combines the roles of Web Producer, Production Co-ordinator and liaison person, interfacing between the TV indie (Waddell Media) and the two digital agencies involved – Johnston North and Atto, all based in Northern Ireland. The job is based in Holywood, County Down for an initial period of a year.
For information on how to apply visit www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk
And online it’s been an incredible 24 hours…
- We had over 198,000 visits in the first day
- 38,000 viewers came online in just one minute! (in response to the autism item)
- There were over 637,000 pageviews within two hours of broadcast – over 1.21M for the day
- We trended #2 on Twitter (UK)
The stampede online was to try out Professor Simon Baron-Cohen‘s Autism-Spectrum Quotient or AQ Test. We’d had over 50,000 results reported back by the time I left the orifice this evening. Simon told me EB was “very original” – sounds like that could be euphemistic. He was a Big Boy when I was at school and I hung out with his younger brother Ash, now a guerilla/out-there film-maker in LA.
Yesterday I met another Big Boy from school days – Pete Bradshaw, now the film critic of The Guardian. We were judging the Single Drama award at the RTS (Royal Telly Society). My abiding memory of him is playing (very well) Thomas Becket in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. After watching 30 hours of TV drama over the last couple of days I reckon my AQ should be soaring right now…
Another Big Boy back in the day was Mark Kermode (back then Mark Fairey), co-star of the always amusing Radio 5 weekly film review show and a regular on Film4. He’s doing a gig next week (Friday 12th at 7.45) at the Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley (where we’re still trying to raise the last bit of cash to pay for our centenary restoration this year) talking about his life in cinema which should be a good way to kick off your weekend. He was the one who got kicked out of Cannes for heckling in bad schoolboy French.