The Creative Dividend for TV Programme Production

I listened to a speech by the BBC's Mark Harrison (Head of the Multi-platform, Innovation & Development Studio) today and was impressed that someone has been thinking about the collision of the Internet and broadcast technologies in a similar way to me!

Mark pointed that all the substantial and popular web sites in the world today are platforms for content, e.g. Facebook and Youtube. None of the big sites are content providers. Yet, these platforms, particularly something like YouTube or VLogs, do not produce content of the quality that the BBC does. The BBC has significant expertise in producing quality TV programmes. Youtube and other sites hosting content do not host any content that matches the quality of the BBC's output. Mark stipulates that the big challenge in the coming years is producing a site or technology that successfully marries the Platform and the substantial content quality that is possible through BBC expertise in content production. If and when this becomes a reality, a 'creative dividend' will be realised that truely redefines what is possible and takes TV programme production to the next level.

My personal opinion is that YouTube makes it easy for people to upload and share their videos. However, to produce a quality programme requires many different skillsets, such as script writing, acting, directing and post-production to name a few. Very few people or groups of people have all these necessary skills to produce quality content. Instead, on Youtube we get clips that feature a few of these skills in isolation: perhaps a 3 minute video that features a great comic script or another video with inspiring photography. I expect that in the next ten years technology will emerge that will make it easier for different people with different skills to collaborate online to produce a quality programme. In the same way that software like Firefox is produced in an 'open source' environment, ways of producing 'open source' TV programmes will develop. In the same way that open source software like Firefox includes contributions from developers working for commercial companies, 'open source' TV progammes may feature skilled people from the BBC and commercial companies helping in the production.

If and when such a technology that allows for colloboration and creation of quality content emerges, this will truly reshape the way TV programmes are produced. If this method of production becomes widespread enough, it may even become a 'Youtube killer'.