It’s one thing to write something and publish it online. Even I can do that. Sharing news and information in the form of video is way harder, and I am in awe of people who try. I’d like to bring your attention to three local efforts to do TV on the Internet, and do a little compare-and-contrast on what they offer.
– Tha Format is the product of a community project to shine a light on Edmonton’s youth arts culture. The first episode covers such topics as Hip Hop in the Park, slam poetry, breakdancing and graffiti art. The show is full of energy, and it looks like a great learning experience for all involved. It brought me stories from fellow Edmontonians I might not otherwise have encountered, given how old, white and square I am. I love having a window into this world. Another episode is in the works.
– Walter Schwabe’s Sherwood Park-based operation, fusedlogicTV, offers a growing number of shows based on such topics as health and wellness, marketing, real estate, driving, current affairs and open government. It debuted a new show last week called Mommy Talk, which caught my attention because host Narissa Singh interviewed Tanis Miller, the woman behind the phenomenal Attack of the Redneck Mommy blog. Like many fusedlogicTV shows, Mommy Talk is kind of like an infomercial in that the host pays for the opportunity to promote her business, but the content is not solely focused on the product. Walter also gives the Edmonton Humane Society a monthly “pawdcast,” hosted by society spokeswoman and former CTV broadcaster Shawna Randolph.
– And then there’s the edmontonian presents, the six-episode series available not only online but also on good old-fashioned cable TV. I have written before about the efforts of Sally Poulsen and Jeff Samsonow to tell Edmonton stories in a new way, so I’ll try not to repeat myself. (Full disclosure: I’m a friend and a fan.) The final episode, on history, was the strongest of a strong bunch. I applaud their ability to create a show that asks you to pay attention to it. Much of the narration is written (and clever), so you miss too much if you try to multitask. In a way, it shows their respect for the medium.
It’s possible to place these three shows on a spectrum of commercial interest. At one end is Tha Format, with no advertising or apparent intention to make money; at the other is fusedlogicTV, whose shows don’t exist, for the most part, unless someone is willing to pay to reach an audience. In the middle is “the edmontonian presents,” which sells ads but doesn’t make editorial decisions based on who advertises, which is pretty much the same arrangement as at most mainstream media outlets.
I find it interesting that it’s “the edmontonian presents” that has the highest product values. Much of this may be because Jeff and Sally have training and experience in broadcast journalism, but I wonder if the show’s position on that commercial spectrum – neither non-profit nor only-for-profit – helps create the optimal conditions for high quality. It’s a theory I’m kicking around, anyway.
Feel free to disagree or elaborate in the comments below. You can also find me on Twitter. For more media news, check out Mack Male’s Media Monday.