[LINK] OurTV Pilot meeting on Community TV for Canberra
link at todd.inoz.com
Sat Jun 19 10:32:19 EST 2004
At 16:45 18/06/2004 +1000, Tom Worthington wrote:
>Greetings from Canberra. These are some informal notes from the inaugural
>"OurTV Pilot" meeting, held this morning to see if there was enough
>interest to have a community TV trial on the Transact digital cable
I SAW THE INFAMOUS Tom Worthington Laptop in action! I also finally, after
such a LONG time, met the infamous Mr. Worthington!
>technical demonstration has been running on Transact for the last few
>weeks. Video content has been streamed from the ANU over AARnet (the
>university network) to Transact and set to home set-top-boxes. I was
>skeptical when this
I'm always skeptical, probably for the same reasons. But the technology,
if implemented intelligent is there to do this. The problem with have in
Australia is a Telco who is so greedy instead of supplying access to a
cabled network, they sell (as any good marketing company does) overlays and
you can never really fully realise the value and potential of the resources
the tax payer paid to have in existence. Australian Consumers pay, have
have paid over many years, for the infrastructure several times over.
Anyway, back to the topic. Transact have done a great job in deployment
and careful, minimal configuration. This kind of thing isn't about having
a zillion monitors and a NOC that has 600 staff in it. It's about
deployment of a carefully designed, highly knowledgeable team of people to
run a system that works. The more people you have, the less it works, the
more excuses that get passed around.
>The prepared agenda of the meeting had speakers from Transact, Grangenet
>and other organisations. This got interrupted with interesting questions
>from the audience from about the way content from independent film makers
>could be incorporated and the problems with community TV in Sydney and
>There were also some interesting issues raised, as regulations allow for a
>cable Community TV station, but none has ever been approved in Australia.
>In practice it is likely the regulators will require the station to
>operate as if it was using radio spectrum.
I suspect the Broadcasting Services Amendment Act that many Linkers fought
so hard against, can be used to resolve this. For every cloud there is a
silver lining :) I'll speak to the relevant people about this in the
>As with many technology based services, the meeting had most difficulty
>not with the technology, but the social and political issues. Community TV
>requires community input and difficult issues of standards and choice of
>content. Some of these issues might be avoided by cleverer technology, but
>it still requires difficult decisions.
I did indicate that the term "Community TV" might need to be
reassessed. I've felt, and it's been proven, that ego in the "community"
where TV is concerned is very powerful and very limiting. Hence the Social
and Political issues. The technology in this instance is not a
problem. In fact even a narrow cast Digital RF Broadcasting service isn't
costly to establish, the issue is mostly political.
>Emergency services use of the network was also discussed. This has some
>interesting crossover to work on web emergency services . As I noted in a
>talk Transact survived the Canberra bush-fires well
><http://www.tomw.net.au/2004/enetp.html>. Emergency services might
>distribute digital video on what to do in an emergency via the network.
I was going to heckle and ask if ACTEW supplied continuous electricity to
all Transact customers. Once the power is out, the Set Top Boxes don't
work to well and you won't know about the raging fire running down your
street. But then, I guess you know about it by then!
>Transact already has a commercial video on demand (VOD) service on it for
>pay-per-view movies. If a VoD service could be provided for community use
>it might remove many of the difficult management issues of community TV.
I tend to agree with this. However, the one really nasty catch about
running a totally consumer driven service where it's choice is based on
it's own demand is that new programs won't get exposure. Sure someone
might "try it" see it, like it and tell a neighbor, and so word and mouth
propagates the program, however giving such a relaxed structure might
reduce the quality of programs in a "structured" stream and program
creators might feel they are wasting their time because VoD is more popular
and gains higher viewers than Structured programming.
This is a Technosocial issue of streaming media where the consumer has the
choice. Something I think Producers (like myself) will have to come to
terms with and revolutionize the way in which programs are promoted.
>More sophisticated subscribers could select material from the community
>VOD to view directly when required. This would lessen the completion
>between different community groups for air time. The broadcast community
>TV channel would then be a "best of the VoD", for those people wanting a
>less interactive TV experience.
And hence the problem I describe above becomes a real serious factor. A
Producer who has a program at the start and gains "popularity" and a
"community following" is going to survive the broadcast life, where as
someone who comes online in five years isn't going to get any exposure and
will have to find other ways in which to let the community know they should
"Demand" their product.
This very much changes the way in which Broadcast works. How will
"advertisers" of product and programs actually reach the audience and tell
them what to think and do?
A technosocial problem I've been working on for several years. The
Internet is exactly this kind of medium. HOw do I tell 20 million people
in Australia to visit my web site?
Currently I could take our mass TV and radio advertising. Lets eliminate
radio to make the argument easier. Now if the only TV that is being
watched is "On Demand" how do I get my promotional material to the
consumer. Just like the Internet, how do I tell people to visit my web site?
Do I SPAM advertise to all the consumers? Do I purchase advertising time
around the VOD programs. Probably not. Does the broadcaster promote the
program? Probably not, they'd have to promote all programs. Is there a
"preview" styled channel? Are you going to watch that 24 hours a day just
to see if a program catches your attention?
Big issues for current broadcasters and the very reason I'm cautious and
concerned about the potential success of this project using this
medium. But I'm right behind it because there are so many positives and
they don't call me the Iconoclast for nothing!
>Tom Worthington FACS tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
>Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
>http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
>Visiting Fellow, Computer Science, Australian National University
>Publications Director, Australian Computer Society
>Link mailing list
>Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
More information about the Link