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Crowdsourcing | The greatest TV technology

Crowdsourcing | The greatest TV technology

The term “crowdsourcing” is a portmanteau of “crowd” and “outsourcing,” first coined by Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”. It refers to the practice of using technology to tap the collective wisdom of communities.

Back in 2000 our company President Kevin Fox gave a keynote address about convergence – the union between broadcast and broadband. In it he predicted that the pundits of the day were wrong and that streaming media on the internet wasn’t going to try to replicate the traditional TV experience, rather internet companies were going to find new ways to connect and interact with viewers. As he said, this engagement would be very ‘social’. Ok it’s not like he beat Mark Zuckerberg to Facebook but he was prescient and this changed our model; our viewers were now no longer just an audience instead we considered them to be part of a community. And this was a major mindshift for a media company.

Fast forward just over a decade and our focus has been refined. For each new media property we launch we now go through a rigorous due diligence process to evaluate the market niche, the strength and loyalty of the audience and the community we can forge online and on television. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube & Vimeo matter. In fact they matter a lot. So much so that we now consider all of our projects to be media properties where the TV show component is but one part of a larger whole. We like driving, informing and interacting with communities, so both our broadband and broadcast identities become tools to help engage our audiences. Our discipline is to ensure that all of our new media properties will build online and real world communities.

And we use these communities to their fullest. Wine Portfolio has an online store, Let’s Shop has a robust interior design blog hosted by Cheryll Gillespie and Karma Trekkers has excelled at getting viewers from around the world to share their stories of life changing travel experiences. In all of these cases we’ve increased our television numbers, built a vibrant online experience and forged a loyal real world community. But this is just the start. Up next for us is real-time crowdsourcing and global audience interaction.

When we’re on the road with our various series we always update fans on our Twitter, Facebook and blogs. We often crowdsource (ask our community for suggestions on where to go, what to see and do) and usually post pictures, stories and anecdotes from along the way. However we’re now moving into a phase where we can also provide daily video journals, extra behind the scenes clips and extended interviews from the set. When we produced The White Continent in Antarctica we pioneered a workflow that allowed us to shoot, edit, and broadcast HD video clips from our ship in the Antarctic Ocean and this has opened up a world of opportunities.

So stay tuned and connect with us because the next media property we launch may well be an all crowdsourced, real-time TV series, shot, edited and delivered entirely with our community’s feedback and support. As in the year 2000 we can’t say exactly where the convergence of technology and ideas is headed but we do know we’ll be at the forefront and as always we’re open to wherever it takes us.

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