Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Comedy: Current TV - Super News - Gates Vs. Jobs

Current TV is a national cable TV network that was founded by Al Gore. It is targeting the intelligent wing of the MTV base and it is the strongest advocate I have seen yet for the new media generation. One of the primary features of Current is that about 1/3 of it's content is created by independent producers who upload their work to the website. The website has an interface similar to YouTube in some ways but with specific requirements for the kinds of content they will accept.

They want ordinary people to create short 2-8 minute documentaries or satirical shorts, which they call "Pods" and post them on the website. There, both the web community and the Current programming staff review the submissions. If the programming staff like something, they will pay the producers to broadcast it. If the staff don't choose your work, there is still a chance for it because everyone who is a member of the website can cast a vote for any Pod they think should be on TV.

There is a ranking list that puts the pods in the order of their popularity and the number one choices are automatically picked for broadcast twice a week. Along with pods, Current also offers opportunities for people to submit raw footage, homemade commercials for their sponsors and promo spots for the cable network. The upside of all this is that it is a great place for talented people to get their work in front of a national cable TV audience. The down side is that once you are paid for your work, Current has the exclusive right to that particular version of it forever.

I and my fellow contributors have all been very prolific on Current TV and we have each been through this selection process several times now both by the community and by the staff. I must admit that I have had strong disagreements with Current on some of the new directions they have taken since they began. However, I still think Current is the best idea that has come around in the media for a while. It is very fertile ground for grass roots producers and amateurs who want to showcase their work, give and get constructive criticism and share stories and ideas that aren't being found on TV.

Current is also a great place for people who want to find web videos that are trying to be productive rather than just getting attention. We will be sharing many of them here in the future. This time, though, I thought it would be fun to share a funny spot that was done as one of their in house productions: Super News

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