LESS IS MORE
As promised I am going to release a few smaller blog posts about each section of L4LTV Programme 3. Why? Because not only do I have to research, contact, interview, gain permissions, film, light, record, post produce, transcode, upload and advertise the programme – I also have to monitor how people are watching it to see their viewing habits and to repurpose, disseminate and archive it in appropriate ways.
PAYING ATTENTION AT THE BACK
I am able to see how many minutes people have watched of the programme by each anonymous viewer and, unfortunately, the “attention” only often goes as far as a few minutes in on the first feature.
As you can see from the snapshot of some of the viewers’ attention below, people look at the programme in different ways – some watch all the way through; some skip over content; some scrub back and forth until they find an item they want to see; some jump in scan around and come out – not interested. That is all to be expected and is different for different programmes. However, almost inevitably, the last feature is never or rarely seen by a large percentage of viewers.
How to counter this? People are busy – perhaps the programme is too long? It’s jockeying for attention with lots of other media/ people’s (teachers’) valuable time.
WHAT TO DO?
I could go about this in one of several ways.
1. Make a shorter programme more often.
2. Randomise the features people come to first.
3. Disaggregate the features into smaller units and release them again, on their own, and remind people the main programme is still up there if they want to see the rest.
Part of this has been addressed by the fact I release a “Programme Notes” document every time a show comes out now. I don’t necessarily put the notes in the order they will be seen and this has resulted in more hunt and peck on the part of viewers.
OCEAN-GOING LINER OR TUGBOAT
But from this week I will be choosing option 3 and disaggregating the individual features into smaller “edited” units with more links to resources mentioned and pointing viewers back to the original programme – I’ll include a “teaser” and a how many minutes in for people to jump to the longer film.
I have noticed that the “Today” programme on Radio 4 is now including snippets on AudioBoo in much the same way as a strategy to mop up viewers after the longer programme has passed by. Little tugs of asynchronous info after the ocean liner has sailed.
I’ll be gathering stats again after this to see what people are flocking around in terms of content.
It’s certainly something I’ve neglected doing up until now but part of the process of putting out content is being able to publicise it and to gather data around usage. And also repurposing and archiving it!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you are a viewer, and on twitter, please do favourite it to watch later but also please do retweet when it comes out as that helps enormously.
I don’t resort to putting links to other blogs on this blog to bump up the stats using interlinked meshes of people reblogging links on each others’ blogs – I like to keep the data fairly clean. So please do retweet or publicise if you think it worth it. If not – don’t.
Be prepared for a few smaller scale features coming out fairly soon around the programme as well as lots of live streaming.
You can read the programme notes for the latest episode here and watch the programme by clicking on the Web TV in the blog menu.
MORE VARIED CONTENT
The TV Programme is by teachers for teachers and, at the moment, seems to have a slant around CPD in the arts and computing. If you want your voice heard then submit a proposal. If you can’t film yourself then maybe I could film you or your idea – this depends on my budget at any one time, petrol money and personal commitments – I certainly cannot pay anyone as this is a loss making venture even when I do get paid for the odd gig over the year. But if, after all that, you’d like a viewpoint expressed – get in touch http://www.l4l.co.uk/?page_id=1777
THE REALITIES OF FILM
Lots of people like the idea of making media but it is far, far easier to sit down and write a blog or series of blogs than it is to make a film. The realities of pulling media together, the production values to make such a project, require a steep and constant learning curve as well as lots of money – I have put my money where my mouth is and sunk my truncated pension (due to caring for my father) into this project. Few people rise to such a challenge but for those that have, I am very grateful to them for their continued involvement and support.
The equipment to do this is also becoming smaller and faster and that is why I am involved with partners that can “amplify” social reach in this way and so a big thank you must go to Helen Caldwell at the University of Northampton to enable me to help train people in the use of making media.
As well as teaching for over 25 years I have always had a long history of production of small press publications and community networking right back to the 1970′s and this is merely an extension of that commitment to wanting to produce a platform for grass roots voices in the media. The technology to do this has now become available and I will exploit it to the hilt.
L4LTV will never have a large viewing population but I can try, with your help, to optimise dissemination of the features you do put out. The scope of such a niche channel is necessarily limited to the teaching community in the UK – and mostly those who own devices. I’d dearly love to amplify the viewing figures of the channel but the mainstream media will not advertise or support us for obvious reasons and, quite rightly, we have to prove the concept first. This doesn’t put me off or dishearten me in any way.
When I brought the mimeographed poetry listings magazine from the obscure and little known Poetry London Newsletter to the glossy wide circulation (for the Poetry World) Poetry London – it took between 5 and 7 years hard work behind the scenes to incrementally increase the production values and readership. This is no different. Sometimes I suspect I take on these challenges and swim against the tide precisely because they are undertaken at great odds but it has always proved worth it in the long run.
I do need funding to achieve the next stage of the roadmap and that is to create a ROKU Channel but unless I get funds fairly soon I’ll have to wait until I have saved enough to do that effectively. What this would achieve is inclusion on a larger platform beyond the scope of just the UK and devices – it would frogleap the programme into mainstream media via the long tail effect. I guess I’ll have to wait a while yet before this happens.
A niche TV station is not something that will be supported by grants or community pockets of cash either – the programme sits in that strange wilderness of lack of funding. That is why I do it, because the route to do this can’t be done with the usual support mechanisms and that is probably all to the good and guarantees independence but it also makes the enterprise vulnerable…
The most popular area of the broadcasts has been the live streaming. It always involves a fair bit of last minute risk – will it work on site? Will enough people be interested? A lot of the broadcasts are now hitting the 200+ mark yet I have to pay between £50 – £100 in costs to produce each broadcast. People making requests for me to film them have to bear that in mind as a lot of people (usually employed in full time jobs) seem to think there is a endless supply of “free” services that exist out there in media land. Unfortunately this is not the case. Where time and circumstance allow me to do it I usually do it for free but the times where firms and individuals give a donation makes life a lot easier in this respect.
In many ways the use of real time video streaming of media is a good match for the fast paced fickle ephemeral issues of the day – even in education – even if they do lead to policy change in the long run.
With this kind of medium, as in twitter and a lot of blogs, people flock around a current issue; there is much blogging and various wars of attrition of opinion and then silence before the next round of just as many ephemeral issues leading to more change, or not, as the case may be. For media makers who stream this activity it’s quite challenging. Bloggers tend to synthesise their thoughts and create books, which, in turn gets them more exposure in the mainstream media and that can lead to fruitful markets for everyone.
Live streaming merely captures the journeys people make on the way to that synthesis but it also helps frame the debate and can amplify ways in which people can participate and judge the tenure of what is happening – it also gives people access to physical events they cannot travel to due to lack of time or money. Where possible I will try to do more of this in future but I have to limit myself to events close to London or the petrol bills could bankrupt me.
If you feel inclined please do click the small paypal button at the bottom of the page.
THANKS TO SPONSORS
I am also really grateful to the few sponsors that have put money into projects and kit to enable people to file reports they are: Rising Stars, Igloo in Education, Computing at School and Iris Connect. Without their continuing involvement this project would never have got off the ground. If you are some beneficent philanthropist who would like to drop a few thousand pounds on the project to help it on its way please do get in touch otherwise we’ll keep chuntering on.
There is a very small donate button under this line – please help out if you enjoyed the show…
And if you don’t want to donate then maybe you want to share the existence of the resource – please use the “share this” widget below to spread the word.
Don’t forget I also do commercial work which subsidises the philanthropic aspects of what I do – sometimes it can be a very tight financial tightrope to walk but look at my list of clients here and see the companies I have worked with.
Bear me in mind if you need professional filming or streaming done as this does subsidise, indirectly, the filming I do for other events for free.