Saturday, February 11, 2006

Al Gore created a TV network?

Al Gore, the father of the Internet, has made another foray in the mass media. About six months ago he established the San Francisco based television network, Current. In developing this network, it is Gore’s intention to make the youth TV news addicts. Rightfully so, Current is being billed as a “national cable and satellite channel dedicated to bringing your voice to television.”

As a network, Current sounds like a novel approach to get youth involved with the news. First, it eliminates the classic cable news format, no more extended torso view of some news anchor reciting the news. Instead, Current focuses it’s programming around “pods” consisting of segments ranging from thirty seconds to ten minutes. Next, the network operates around VC2, viewer-created content, which makes up about one third of the networks programming. This allows viewers who are tired of channel surfing and who want to be more involved to get out there and make their own programming. They then post it on the Current website, and hype it up to get people to vote for the segment. And if enough people vote, presto, they might just see their clip on TV.

Will this idea limit content to those fortunate to have the equipment and knowledge to produce programming as Current begins to use more viewer created content? Or will it cause a TV revolution? Such active participation has worked well in the past for many advertisers. For instance, Converse challenged its users to create short films, not advertisements, of their sneakers. The Internet also thrives on user created content. From blogs to podcasts to fan sites, Internet users spend countless hours creating content. So, why shouldn’t this formula be able to work for a television network, especially the youth oriented Current?

Current TV

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