Thursday, January 17, 2008

Current TV - Great Independent Television

For those of you that have yet to discover Current TV you are missing out. Current TV is an independent channel available on most cable outlets. The channel features "pods", or short programs, of which a portion are created by viewers and users. Users (called VC2 Producers) contribute three-to-seven-minute "pods", which are usually documentary in nature. The content covers anything from pollution in China to living conditions in Africa. There is alot of environmental and green content which I especially enjoy. Bottom line it is a very "uncorporate" outlet where you will find very interesting topics which are rarely covered in mainstream media.

Here is a brief interview with Joel Hyatt the chief executive of Current TV. This will help give more clarity as to what Current TV is.

Q: It's been said that Current TV is a difficult thing to define. Maybe you can tell us just what it is.

A: I wouldn't say that it's difficult to define. I would say that it's different. It is a television concept premised on viewer-created content. We have unleashed the creativity of a young adult audience and empowered them to help contribute to the creation of the television they watch. They can do that by producing content and submitting it to us. They can come into our online studio and review the content submissions of others and voting for those that they like. That's the core innovation. We're trying to democratize -- small "d" -- the television platform, which until Current's attempt to do so has been a one-way platform. The only choice a viewer has is to pick up the remote control and go from one network that you're not finding interesting to another. You have no way to influence what it is that's coming in that direction. My partner and colleague Al Gore just gave a speech a couple of weeks ago in which he said that when television replaced the printed word as the medium through which the American public receives its information, there has been a significant deterioration in the conversation of democracy because people don't have access to the printing press equivalent of the television production infrastructure. We're trying to provide that access, so we can recreate a marketplace of ideas ... on what is the dominant medium of our time.

Q: What is it that people are doing on the channel?

A: We named ourselves Current because we are about what's going on in the lives of young adults in their voice from their perspective. It's about their careers, their relationships, their culture. What you see on Current, you will not see elsewhere. When the tragedy of Katrina unfolded, we didn't send a reporter to Louisiana to show up and stand there and say, "Hey, it's flooding." We're much more about citizen journalists who are actually living in it and experiencing it, submitting their story to us. It's 100 percent authentic. If you had tuned into Current during the height of the problems in Katrina, you would have seen a young man in his early 20s taking his flat-bottom boat out onto what used to be the streets of New Orleans, rescuing people. He went right over the house he lived in two years ago when he was a college student in New Orleans. You would have seen a story by a young man, also in his 20s, who, several days after the impact of Katrina, took his car to go find his grandmother, to see whether she was alive. Along with that, we produced a five-minute piece about the hurricane. We presented that story in a way you won't find anywhere on television. There's music underneath it. It's in their voice. It's in a compelling way for our target demographic to receive information.

No comments: