Let Your Audience Participate

Lesson Details

Subject: Business

Title: Let Your Audience Participate


TV used to be a passive activity. This is no longer the case. To be successful you must interact with your audience and keep them engaged.


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OK, now I want to take you into a place that we've never been to before called Three-Dimensional Television. 

This has never existed before, but this is the great opportunity that non-linear digital online affords. 

Up until now, television has been essentially two-dimensional. They make it, you watch it. That's been the model since television was invented, and it was a function of the technology, it was very expensive to make content, audiences had to be passive, and of course, there were those time slots that had to be filled at all times.

What we are creating here, as I said before, is a sphere -- it's an affinity group. It's a group of people online who have the same shared interest. Just to make passive content for them to look at would be a tragic waste of the potential of the technology.

You're going to attract a group of people who have the same interest that you do -- whether it's model trains, sailboats, Japanese food, it really doesn't make a difference, but they exist in these spheres of affinity. And they are communities, they are not just viewers, they're communities. And because they're communities, they can participate. 

The difference, the primary difference between the Internet and traditional broadcasting, or print, or journalism, or media, in general, is that the Internet goes both ways. That is that the viewer is also a participant -- not just a passive watcher. This holds true with things that are successful online businesses; like: Facebook, or Twitter, or eBay, or even Air BnB. People who use the service also participate in the service -- they contribute content to the service. 

When we move into the realm of online video affinity groups or these digital channels, it would be crazy not to take advantage of creating a community that is participatory. 

In some ways, of course, this participation can come in the realm of feedback, chat rooms, live streaming, which we're going to talk about in other places on TheVJ.com, but also in terms of contributing content. 

Your viewers can also contribute content into this growing mass of video content that resides on your channel or your sphere or your online affinity group. It's theirs as well as yours. Of course, this can start a kind of video dialogue in terms of going back and forth. 

In traditional broadcasting, whether it's cable, or television, or over the air, there was a time limit. You had half-hour slots, you had hour-long slots; in online, you can go anywhere from 30 seconds or a minute to 4 minutes to five minutes, twelve minutes, there is no limit to the amount of time that the pieces can go on -- except for people's attention spans. 

Therefore, it enters the realm of infinite. 

Infinite is very difficult for people who have spent their whole lives in a finite world to wrap their heads around. 

For the entire history of television, indeed for the entire history of media, we've lived in a world of finite shelf space. 

Therefore we had to say, is this good enough, will this attract enough viewers, and as a result, 99.999% of the stuff was cut out. By cutting sutff out, we crushed people's incentive to participate. 

With your online spheres, with your online channels, with your online affinity groups, you can open the door to participation. It's worked very well for Facebook, it should work very well for you. But it's a completely different way of thinking what a channel is. 

This is no longer just you making content for everyone else, that is a very 1952 model of what television or broadcasting should be. 

On the contrary, if you go on to create one of these affinity groups, around whatever topic or topics you decide upon, you can also open the door for everyone to participate. It makes a much richer environment, but, more than that, it binds the participants in your community to the group forever. And that's really important when it comes time for attracting advertisers.