Current TV has just been launched here in the UK and so I decided to have a look this afternoon.
The argument goes that the big media organisations monopolise our view of the world by filtering content. This filtering is often based on the need to gain advertising through attracting large audiences in the highest spending groups. Then, of course, there are well known political affiliations.
I have no doubt that we will get a distorted view of the world if we only ever rely on a narrow range of publishers for that view. In effect, Current is not one channel but many different voices and by relinquishing tight commissioning and editorial control the challenges now are of navigation, interpretation and authentication.
Transparency and availability of information is an interesting area. We may have access to huge volumes of content, but the question remains of how we can interpret what we are seeing and be sure of its quality – more fundamentaly, how we find it. The traditional way of interpreting content and judging its accuracy has been to build up a relationship of trust with the content provider. The BBC offers itself not only as a content distributor but as an organisation that is able to help you make sense of what you are seeing by putting the media in context. But how far would you trust the BBC?
The democratisation of media is something Current is aiming to facilitate. The service is made up of a large amount of Viewer Created Content known as VC2. Some of the pods, (as the films are called), are promoted on the site as being available on sky 155 and Virgin Media – neither of which I have. You will also find a very interesting training section which has advice on production, story telling and journalism which is worth a look (if a little shallow). There is also an invitation for viewers to create the commercials which are shown on Current with the promise of a potential $50,000 for creative that gets adopted!
Creatively, Current is able to take you into the lives of people that the mainstream media often overlooks. This has to be a good thing.
As Current TV says in one of the tutorials, "Keep making mistakes. Who knows, your wrong way may be the next right way"