AoDL Meetup - Arts Video Online #3
Friday 6 June 2014, 6.30pm-8.30pm
The Photographers’ Gallery
After a year-long break Art of Digital London (AoDL) is back with a new set of events for 2014/15. We hope you will join us once again at The Photographers’ Gallery on Friday 6 June 2014, 6.30pm-8.30pm.
To mark the occasion we have put together a small site aodl.org.uk that will host all the information about our events. We are going to stick with a similar format to before; each event will be centred around a current topic in arts digital strategy. On the night, we invite a panel of experts and practitioners to present their projects, thoughts and ideas. This is followed by a Q&A and group discussion over a few beers.
• Elly Garrod, Channel Flip
• Caroline Heron, Video in Common
• Jennifer Higgie, Frieze Video
• Adam King, Diagonal View
• Bianca Stoppani, VideoClub (Kaleidoscope) - remotely
TV is no longer TV. The prevalence of connected devices are producing a complex shift in consumptive patterns in moving image. We are watching (and producing) more moving image than ever before, accessing our favourite channels via laptops, smartphones, smart TVs and tablets. We choose what we want, when we want and where we’ll view it. Snacking on music videos or devouring entire seasons of feature length material - who hasn’t accidentally watched 7 episodes of [insert favourite HBO series] in one sitting?
UK broadcasters have long been mindful of advances in connected technology, committing substantial resources to developing their internet television services or on-demand players - 4oD, BBC iPlayer and ITV Player launched in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Through these interfaces a rolling programme of content is made available to view for up to 28 days after initial live broadcast. Such services have proved very successful and more recently we can see on-demand beginning to take precedence over live broadcast. The tipping point came in March 2014 when the BBC announced a programme of exclusive content for the iPlayer, heralding the iplayer as ‘the new front door’ for the corporation’s output. Early examples of the exclusive content would be the ‘Post-War Architecture Collection: Building Sights’ content from the BBC archive released alongside Jonathan Meades’ ‘Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness’. Also newly commissioned works launched in April 2014, starting with ‘Matisse: Goldie’s Private View’. Crucially, this content is as good as its broadcast counterparts.
Major contenders for our time, attention and money are the born-digital internet broadcasters such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video (once LoveFilm), BlinkBox and NowTV. These services rival mainstream entertainment broadcasters and operate for a wide audience base across devices providing instant access to vast swathes of popular TV programmes and blockbuster movies. However, audiences also want access to platforms that provide selected material around their particular interests - technology, science, cooking, sport or arts - that they can sit back and watch at their convenience. In independent cinema, distributors such as the BFI (Player) and Curzon (on-demand) have developed online services to enable a remote cinema experience to compliment their venues in London. Also a new independent film online distributor and community, MUBI, offers access to a curated selection of 30 titles (a new one every day) from across cinema history.
So what opportunity does this shift provide arts and cultural organisations and how are we choosing to respond? Organisations are coming to view ‘the digital’ as the expanded discursive space of the venue. They are establishing parallel online destination points, spaces of authority, through which to engage their communities. In relation to video this means publishing or presenting works online that are artworks in their own right, ie: artists moving image, or that are longer-form documentary and informational pieces specially commissioned around public programmes taking place in the physical space.
Large Arts organisations (with bigger capacities and therefore more ambitious strategies) are seeing the opportunity in the convergent space of online video and broadcast, channeling significant resources into commissioning, producing and distributing new ‘crossover’ content. NTLive and Digital Theatre (representing ROH, RSC, Young Vic, The Globe, etc.) have been transmitting live performances to cinemas across the UK since 2009. Art21 in America have a PBS series and online platform. In 2012 Tate produced their first BMW Live series, recording live performances followed by artist/curator interviews. Finally, MOCA.tv produce a strange but interesting mix of content for online audiences, ranging from documentaries (The Art of Punk, West Coast View Art) to comedy shows (Ambeyonce).
Smaller organisations are developing more manageable ie: smaller and more distinct, digital video publishing or exhibition arms. Vdrome is the online extended arm of Mousse magazine in partnership with LUX, and the recently launched (distant relative - Kaleidoscope’s founder worked with Mousse until 2008) Videoclub is the extended arm of Kaleidoscope magazine. Although different in their approach, both essentially present artist moving image online for limited amounts of time and therefore treat these arms like cinema spaces or exhibitions. Since 2012 Frieze have also been working on their Frieze Video arm. They continue to produce videos that sit alongside articles in the print magazine and short documentaries but now they are producing content like Our Glasgow, a 30min short film on the Glasgow art scene, supported by the Art Screen Festival.
Finally, how are funders responding to opportunities in online video? One event we would like to draw attention to here is that ACE are commissioning of an arts specific Multi Channel Network (MCN) under their Creative Media strand to be rolled out over 2014-18. An MCN is a third-party service that aggregates and manages a number of YouTube channels around a particular strand; sport, food, beauty, music etc. Their aim is to:
• Deepen audience engagement - create more contained environments within YouTube to retain viewers interest for longer.
• Manage partnerships - working with sponsors ie: advertisers, matching them to appropriate channels
• Commission new content - providing Channel owners with funds, equipment and studio space to create quality content.
• Gather and analyse data - with access to the analytical data of a host of channels, MCNs get a privileged big data overview of activity that can be used to develop content strategies, tighten the flow of the network and bring in sponsors.
• Monetisation - To generate more traffic/clicks and through that ad revenue.
To find out more about the project you can read ACE’s guidance for applicants. This details the context of the commission, the issues of arts video content consumption online and the role the MCN would play in strengthening viewing experiences and generating revenue. The deadline for applications has recently closed therefore the announcement of who the exact MCN provider will be will come later in 2014. For now, the commission throws up many interesting points about new developments in online services and consumption that we hope to bring to your attention and discuss a little at the event.
So, bring a friend, grab a beer and join the discussion
We look forward to seeing you there!
The AoDL Team