TED Conversations

Daniel Ravner

Head of Digital,

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TV by the people - Can the audience come up with a better show than TV professionals?

Yesterday I've started an experiment from within the TV industry. It's about creating and developing a TV show through crowd wisdom. "Audience Wisdom" if you will, and it's the first time such an idea is actually tested.

I'm relying not only on the collective brain power of hundreds; I'm also assuming crowds are semi-professional TV people, considering the dominance TV has in popular culture.

This project is linked to Ted not only in the spirit of practical innovation but also in the form of Lior Zoref - a crowd wisdom researcher who recently gave a TED talk on the subject.

Would love your thoughts on the subjects, how feasible do you think the concept is, what kind of shows you think is relevant to a collective process or any other insight.

If you have ideas for a TV show or would like to join the group please visit www.tvbythepeople.com


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    Apr 2 2013: Good luck with your project, it should come up with some great ideas. Can I offer a few thoughts.

    The concept of having lots of people come up with ideas, of which a few are developed and some produced seems fairly similar to the idea behind the BBC Community Programmme Unit, where professionals developed and produced the chosen idea. This idea morphed, over thirty years, into the Video Nation. It would be worth checking out experiences from there.

    I have to declare a vested interest I wrote a book called 'Anyone can make TV', when I was working as a TV professional. The reason I wrote the book was because I believe people stories are important. But when they are excluded from TV, which is still mainly the dominant medium for storytelling, peoples can come to see their beliefs and values as somewhat less important.

    Too many professionals who come to crowd-sourcing, or community involvement to use a more dated term, think first of political stories, of viewpoints which challenge official and establishment voices. That need not be the case. There are I am sure many subjects, with great stories to be told, which have so far not made it through to TV screens.

    From my experience, most people can be semi-professional TV makers in that much of the technical skill can be handled by technology.

    Where they need help is in how to tell their stories on TV: How they will need a range of shots, how they will need to edit them into a coherent statement. How TV can be much more effective when it touches people emotions. People who do not work in the industry also need to understand the etiquette of how to use other peoples work, and what they can and can not control. It is also worth explaining to people in simple terms why you cannot say or show anything you like on TV, there have to be limits.

    While for TV you have to work within the framework of slots and strands the web offers the possibility of adding colour and depth to whats broadcast.
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      Apr 2 2013: Thanks Seamus.

      In this particular project, while were interested in hearing everyone’s stories and ideas, we will probably end up developing an entertainment format (Reality or Game show or the likes, only hopefully better and different approaches to those genres)
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        Apr 3 2013: What a pity. That sounds so much like whats out there already.

        The best bit of crowd sourcing is engaging with lots of new minds, some of whom will have fresh ideas.

        There have already been TV shows which have crowd sourced clips for entertainment, similar to Mark's example, and I have seen example of game shows using viewers clips. The web has had quite a few web cam reality shows which have been used for source footage for TV shows.
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          Apr 3 2013: I agree, but that's not what were aiming for. Were not asking for clips. We are creating a show, from scratch and we will build it stage by stage with the group. The Reality and Game show genres have a huge spectrom and I hope we can offer something new in that area. Im very open to other genres, the only thing is that drama feels less optimal for this process.

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