Archive for the ‘broadcast’ Tag

TV and Social Media

I spent an enjoyable morning courtesy of Broadcast the other week chewing the fat about the role of Social Media in relation to TV (and vice versa). They used the roundtable discussion as the basis of a feature which you can read here. Also involved, among others, were Deborah Rayner (Managing Editor, CNN, EMEA), Maz Nadjm (Head of Social Media, Ogilvy Group UK), Dan Patton (Director of Digital Media, MTV UK & Ireland) and Allan Blair (Director of Social at ad agency DDB), plus a few of my old muckers, namely James Kirkham (MD of Holler, who I worked with on Big Art Mob and Seven Days), Uktu Can (Creative Strategist at Mint Digital who’s helped recently with Quotables) and Rich Payne of Maverick TV (who I last toiled with on Embarrassing Bodies: Live). All fluently chaired by Lisa Campbell the Editor of Broadcast and observed by Conor Dignam (Group Editor, Broadcast). Here’s how the discussion was framed, followed by the stuff that flowed out of my gob on the subject…

Social media is now an essential tool for attracting and retaining an audience, according to the industry experts at Broadcast’s roundtable. Suzy Bashford reports on how the new technology is being used.

Social media is the buzzword of the moment. It has even overtaken porn as the most popular activity on the web, and the term is being bandied about as a catch-all phrase to sum up everything broadcasters do online. But what is it? Is it anything that allows the viewer to leave a comment on a website? Is it a marketing tool, as in Holler’s work around Skins? Or an entertainment in its own right, such as Bebo’s Kate Modern? A complementary addition to a TV show, as in Living’s Four Weddings? Or, as WPP boss Martin Sorrell said recently, is social media simply “advanced letter writing”?

AG: Social media has got different modes: the talking mode, the listening mode, the talking and listening mode, the collaboration mode. That means it’s difficult to co-ordinate in an organisation.

For the people listening to conversations in Channel 4’s Research & Insight department, social media is fantastic, free audience research of the best kind, because it’s unprompted and spontaneous. We’ve got other people using social media for customer service and showing that we’re listening and improving because of what our customers are telling us. Then we’ve got people using social media in talking mode, for promotion and marketing.

For me, social media is about collaboration, participation and storytelling. What is most exciting about social media in our industry is that it now enables a two-way conversation.

How well are organisations integrating these different modes?

AG: It feels chaotic for plenty of organisations because they haven’t really sat down and analysed who is doing what and why. We’re conscious of the different ways we are using social media and we’re thinking about different strategies for co-ordinating it, so we don’t dampen the energy but ensure we’re all moving in the same direction.

What have you learned from experience about leveraging social media?

AG: As a broadcaster you’ve got to constantly ask: ‘What am I bringing to the party?’ People will have these conversations in their own spaces, in their own ways. So what we’ve been doing with a lot of commissioning is thinking how social media can impact the editorial. Take Surgery Live – people could ask a question via social media to the surgeon who’s working live on TV, and within 90 seconds they could hear their question being put by the presenter to the surgeon. Only the broadcaster can bring that to the party. With Embarrassing Bodies Online, we gave up editorial control entirely to the users.

With Seven Days, working with Holler, we brought another relationship into play, giving viewers the ability to influence documentary contributors in real life. We created a site that became the focus of where the characters actually interact. Viewers can influence contributors’ thinking by going to the site. We’ve ended up creating strange new interactions between media and real life. Again, that’s the joy of being a broadcaster – you can bring something special to the party and really add value.

What happens to your social media strategy around a programme when you’re not on air?

AG: That’s one of the great functions of social media, it helps you deal with the troughs between broadcast periods, particularly when you’ve got something popular and returning such as Skins.

What pitfalls should you watch out for in social media?

AG: I was in a cab during one of the election live TV debates and was following it on Twitter. What struck me was how incredibly sheepish the behaviour was. The same was evident in the recent immigration discussion online on The X Factor. You see people piling into a Facebook group that then does nothing. So you have to bear in mind that social media can at times be amazingly superficial and sometimes, ultimately, meaningless.

Quotables in Broadcast

WEB WATCH
Broadcast 1 Oct 2010

Channel 4 and Arts Council England have launched a user-generated quotes website designed to plug into the broadcaster’s shows as well as act as a standalone resource.

The Mint Digital-produced site directs visitors to upload famous quotes which can then be viewed and amended by other visitors.

It’s designed to act as a reference tool, quotes utility, barometer of recent public opinion and to create a community of quotes-lovers.

Adam Gee, new media commissioner of factual for C4 said: “We noticed that quotes were very badly served online and thought we could do a better job. It’s designed to be a useful online adjunct for us as a broadcaster to use.”

Gee added that for example it could quickly be plugged into the Film4 website if they were running a particular season to feature quotes from relevant directors and film-makers.

URL: http://www.quotabl.es
Production: Mint Digital

{reproduced courtesy of Broadcast}

Seven Days ChatNav in Broadcast

Here’s the Leader in this week’s Broadcast by Lisa Campbell

A new vision of reality TV | 7 October, 2010 | By Lisa Campbell

Seven Days isn’t rating, but its interactivity makes compelling viewing.

“People never know what is wrong with them and other people see it right away.” Just one of the many poignant lines in the current series of BBC4’s Mad Men, but one which could so easily have been written for Seven Days, which launched that same evening on Channel 4.

It sums up just what’s so compelling about the new reality show – the fact that participants see themselves through the eyes of others and are forced to challenge perceptions of the self.

So far, so Big Brother, you might say, but unlike BB, the outside world is allowed in, with members of the public giving direct feedback on actions and behaviour. What’s interesting is the immediate and discernible impact this has on the subsequent behaviour of those involved. As far as social experimentation goes, it makes Big Brother look more like Watch With Mother.

Yes, the first episode was dull, but it was about establishing the characters. The second episode was when the genius emerged. From the bizarre walk-on-part of a member of the public in the opening café scene (initially, it felt like a set-up, but anyone hanging around Notting Hill can be captured by the cameras) to the public as puppet-master, it’s a concept that messes with the mind.

The ‘chatnav’ social media element of the project makes for a fascinating, often surreal watch. So, for example, you’re on a laptop reading comments while watching the show, watching a character on the show on their laptop responding to those comments (still with me?).

It’s intriguing to see how the contestants respond to the scrutiny; how bizarre it is, for instance, to watch an obviously ‘smug’ character relay her shock at being described as such. Or how amusing to watch those facing criticism suddenly trot out the sob stories – an echo of the cynical ploys adopted by real-life celebrities.

C4 is bound to be disappointed with the ratings after marketing the hell out of the show, and while it’s far from perfect (a location outside London might have been nice), it should be applauded for having the guts to experiment, to learn lessons from it and to continue trying to push the boundaries of cross-platform content.

Lisa Campbell is editor of Broadcast

{courtesy of Broadcast}

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]

Radio Radio

Neil Pearson

An article by Robin Parker in Broadcast this week about my The Radio Play’s The Thing commission, a project I’ve been working on for two years now and which is just concluding its production phase.

I conceived it as an experiment in what I called (back in 2006) ‘User Commissioned Content’, which was sloppy short-hand for ‘User-Generated Content where you give the User a few quid to help realise their vision’ (for some studio time, a special actor, whatever). As it turned out I was applying a TV/video paradigm to the Radio medium where the gap between writer and producer/director is much wider so I adapted the project on the fly, eventually bringing in professional directors from other disciplines (TV, experimental theatre, etc.) to produce the radio dramas professionally but with the freshness of never having worked in the Radio medium.

4Radio sounds off with dramas ahead of launch

  • Published: 07 May 2008 11:45
  • Author: Robin Parker

The first fiction commissions for Channel 4’s fledgling 4Radio venture are to debut online later this month when the broadcaster unveils four audio dramas.

The plays are all by new writers and will be directed by TV and theatre directors making their radio debuts. Neil Pearson and Hollyoaks actors Gerard McCarthy and Jennifer Biddall are among the cast.

The scripts were chosen from more than 1,000 submitted to an online competition launched last year off the back of C4 theatre talent search The Play’s the Thing.

They were originally intended to be shared with OneWord before C4 pulled its funding from the station in December.

C4 now plans to use the web to launch the plays ahead of 4Radio‘s planned start at the end of this year and will also make them available as podcasts.

The 15-minute plays tackle heavyweight themes. Hospital doctor Andy Prendergast’s To the Broad Shore explores euthanasia; DA McIllroy’s The Interpreter features a confrontation between a Belfast police officer and a Chinese illegal immigrant; Stephen Todd’s Proud Songster looks at the impact of genocide in Rwanda; and Caroline Gilfillan’s The Colonel reflects on Chilean torture that took place in the 1970s.

All four are produced by Maud Hand of Maud Hand Productions and John Dryden of Goldhawk Productions. Hand has developed the project since January 2006. Dryden was invited latterly to come on board and is an experienced radio producer who has specialised in recording plays on location, most notably Radio 4’s The Cairo Trilogy, starring Omar Sharif.

The 4Radio plays are also made out of the studio in locations around London.

Directors lined up include Noreen Kershaw, the Life on Mars actress who has turned to directing Coronation Street and Shameless, and Andrew Foster, the New Zealand theatre director who developed cult comedy Flight of the Conchords for HBO and directed the feature film Eagle vs Shark.

C4 new media commissioner Adam Gee has championed the plays at C4, developing the project in his earlier role as head of 4Talent.

Also involved have been writer Annie Caulfield, Radio Academy director Trevor Dann and Shameless creator Paul Abbott.

“Having created some content for 4Radio, much of it linked to established C4 shows, this is our first experiment in making radio drama sound different,” said Gee.

Article reproduced courtesy of Robin Parker and Broadcast

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 149 other followers

%d bloggers like this: