Tip of the hat to the Innovation in College Media blog for pointing out this fun presentation by UNC Daily Tar Heel’s Sara Gregory.
This morning, I was reading the New York Times story on why location-based services might be a hard sell for mainstream users. This echoes some of my own thoughts, which I wrote about recently here: Telling the world you’re here, there and everywhere. And here: Location services show the way to the next great Internet bubble.
I was curious what kind of reaction their story was getting from readers. But I couldn’t find the comment section. So I’m wondering: Is that standard? It seems there are comments on some stories, but not others. Does anyone know the Times’ policy? I couldn’t even find a place to post a comment.
The other thing that surprised me: I wanted to tweet the article out. But there’s no Twitter button. That seems like such a standard feature, I find it odd that it’s not there. There’s a Facebook button right on the article. And when I click “share” I get a choice of six social media buttons, but not Twitter.
Does anyone else find that to be a strange omission?
“Forget bite-sized clips created by anonymous viewers; the new Current will consist of full-length series from the usual suspects in unscripted production who are getting the word that Current is open for business.”
Gore started the channel five years ago in an attempt to democratize television. The idea was to create a channel driven by user-generated contributions. The channel started about the same time as YouTube and looked to catch the growing wave of citizen video making. But that model proved troubled for several reasons.
First, the channel vetted contributions for the highest quality. They wanted documentary level short movies, and not just someone’s cat playing the piano. Makes sense, but it turns out that there simply wasn’t enough content at that level, even with the widespread adoption of digital video, to fill 24 hours of programming.
And next, the channel originally started off by running those short segments one right after the other. But that wasn’t appealing to viewers, who liked having things broken into clearly defined programs that ran at set times (Yes, even in this era of time-shifting television).
So Current began moving to a hybrid model a couple of years ago, while continuing to experiment with new ways to include the community. It started a co-branded program with Digg where users submitted and voted on questions to ask prominent guests. And back in 2008, Current worked with Twitter to stream tweets on the screen during one of the presidential debates.
Unfortunately, none of this seems to have translated into a robust business, the Reuters says Current is profitable. That likely comes from the fact that it has a baseline income from its agreements with cable channels that is up for renewal. And so, the company has apparently been shopping for a buyer while also moving away from its user-generated content routes to full on programming:
“Now the focus has shifted to fixing Current, perhaps with an eye toward a sale down the road. Last July, Hyatt was replaced as CEO by Mark Rosenthal, the former MTV Networks COO who is rebuilding the channel in the traditional mold Gore avowed to avoid, only to suffer the consequences.”
I’ve had a chance to visit Current, which is based in San Francisco, a few times, and met a lot of thoughtful folks who really believed in turning the broadcast model on its head. I hope the channel retains that spirit no matter which way it goes in the next few months. But that’s looking less and less likely.
I wonder then, if such a revolution is even possible when the station is tied to cable or the airwaves? Or whether such an effort would have more luck if it was Web based? Is there a better way for broadcast or cable stations to include the community in its work?
The American Press Institute is hosting an invite-only Newsmedia Economic Action Plan Conference today. Only about 50 or so folks are attending. However, they did allow live blogging of one session. That liveblog can be found here.
In additon, folks are tweeting. The hashtag is #apinewsmedia.
And you can follow the tweets above.