i>Player and How to make a TV programme #1

iplayer_goes_wrong

Had a session entitled ‘Play’ yesterday headed by Tony Ageh and centred on the future of the i>Player. it was interesting in that a lot of the group thought tagging was going to be one of the best things about the project, but as Matt Locke pointed out, Flickr and de.licio.us don’t really care if you tag stuff.. we do. The other thing about the i>Player is that people believe it’s a bleeding edge technical project, it’s not really. It’s a series of products and services from other companies cleverly put together to achieve an objective. What it is I think is a (and I hate this phrase) ‘hearts and minds’ exercise convincing people, particularly BBC Execs and programme makers, that this is a good thing.

I’ve had some meetings with telly people recently (see below) and blimey the 30 or 60 minute programme format and 8pm slot is hard coded into their DNA. A lot of them just do not get the internet, and those that do just see it as another ‘channel’ to broadcast on or somewhere to host character biogs. They believe in broadcasting in the classical sense, they work in a highly top down ‘this is my vision’ way, they are extremely professional and driven. Qualities that were needed to get things made right? And they probably still are, but not all the time. I wonder who’s going to be the first cross genre multi-skilled Producer to make something 42:78 long that only goes out on the player, while TV gets say a 30min version. Think directors cuts or multiple endings. The leap from black & white to colour TV was obvious, programme makers and the public could literally see the benefit. I want to see the i>Player actually affect how programmes are made and structured, and that perhaps takes a new approach to content…

Which leads us on to this from the big boss at the end of one of his recent mailshots..
We need to preserve the level playing-field between BBC and independent producers, and to find ways to stimulate cross-media thinking across both production and commissioning to make sure that we keep pace with what our audiences expect of us. New Media and Technology will clearly also be vital to helping us do that.

I reckon that could have said ‘New Media PEOPLE will clearly be vital…’ Sounds like a challenge, so I’ve taken it up. Yup, you heard it here first, (unless you work near me) I’ve been working on a pitch for the past 6 months and am in the process of talking to commissioners about getting it made. Can’t say what it is exactly yet. But if it gets the go ahead it’s gonna be ace….

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