Directors' blog

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Archive for the ‘television’ tag

Channel M relaunch announcement provokes mixed reaction

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Looking at the various reactions to the news that Manchester’s local tv channel is set to relaunch next year, I stumbled across this from a commenter calling themsleves erm on HowDo ( for those unfamiliar with HowDo’s lively forums, critics nicknamed the station Channel Erm some years back);

This could be a lot more promising than the inevitable detractors will have you believe. The resource from the radio teams could provide the news infrastructure and content at minimal cost, while government support could make a longterm future viable.
All the mistakes from the first incarnation will surely provide some very valuable lessons.
No doubt this will be a more humble, low key Channel M, but the chances are it might just be a better business.”

What do you think? Thoughtful summing up of the new incarnation or lala land as some others have rather unkindly pitched in?

Written by sarahhartley

November 8th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Local TV still viable says former Channel M boss

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As posted on this blog earlier in the week, the former boss of the city television station has been speaking about his experiences at a London conference today.

And he’s still optimistic about the future for similar enterprises according to this Press Gazette report from the event;

“Just because Channel M failed it doesn’t mean city TV will fail. Within three years we will have a network of TV stations in Britain starting with eight city-based networks that will help more rural stations down the line.”

Read the full report form the conference here.

Written by sarahhartley

November 5th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Former Channel M boss to talk about experience

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Manchester media watchers will be interested to hear that former Channel M boss Mark Dodson will be talking about his experiences of local television at a major conference tomorrow.

City University London’s conference on Local Television has attracted big name speakers to discuss future provision now that the issue is in the spotlight again after culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposals for local or even, hyperlocal, channels across the UK. This itininery detailed at View Magazine describes a session called Local Television-the story so far;

“A conversation with conference attendees who’ve worked in local TV, past and present. These include Philip Graf (formerly Chief Executive of Trinity plc, operators of Channel One Liverpool, then CEO of Trinity Mirror, now Deputy Chair of Ofcom) David Dunkley Gyimah (ex-Channel One London) Mark Dodson (ex-Channel M Manchester), Helen Philpot (Channel 7 Lincolnshire), David Lowen (ex-Local Broadcasting Group), and Daniel Cass (SixTV).”

Dodson, who left MEN Media at the point of its sale to Trinity Mirror, was the mastermind of the Manchester-based channel which earned praise from Hunt when he was a shadow spokesman.

The London conference, which also includes appearances from Kelvin McKenzie and Stewart Purvis is Friday 5 November 5 2010 at The Performance Space, College Building, City University London, St John’s Street, EC1V 4PB.

Meanwhile today another event looking at the future of local tv is taking place in Norwich. The 1000Flowers event (so named after this famous Clay Shirky quote)  has also attracted some Greater Manchester interest with both Nigel Barlow from Insidethe M60 and John Eccles from Oldham College and SaddleworthNews attending.

But while the topic under discussion may be the same, organiser Rick Waghorn explains the entirely different approach.

“1000Flowers aims to bring together some of the brightest and the best thinkers and doers in this local space… to find inspiration amongst those who look at the world from the bottom up and not the top down.”

1000 Flowers is at 112-114 Magdalen Street NR3 1JD Norwich and can be followed using the hashtag #1000flowers on Twitter.

‘Mash this!’ whispers Aunty Beeb


Chances are, you won’t have heard of R&D TV. As the name suggests, this is an experimental new programming format from the BBC where footage is supplied with the intention that you and I won’t just consume, but we will take the opportunity to create too.

As it says on the site: “The clips are raw straight from our cameras and although this may be too much for most people, it makes great footage for those who want to remix and mashup our footage with there (sic) own or others.”

Trouble is, only one such mashup has so far taken place despite worldwide access and awareness of the initiative is very limited.

Is this just early days for something ahead of the curve , or is the mighty institution smothering its fledgling participatory offering before it can get out of the nursery?

The crowd at last night’s Social Media Cafe in Manchester were in no doubt it was the latter, provoking a lively debate with the BBC’s Ian Forrester (AKA @cubicgarden).

Why couldn’t the BBC promote the new programmes through established programmes such as Click? Why wasn’t it available in iPlayer? Will it ever be shown on BBC2 – or even 3?

(As a personal aside – just look at the URL, hard to think of anything less user friendly).

Ian was able to explain many of the issues around licensing which make it difficult for R&D TV – soundtracks with music under copyright to artists for example, couldn’t be just handed out for further publication and distribution.

Fair enough points but, as several members of the audience pointed out, surely there’s content which is wholly BBC produced which could be offered up – or even specifically commissioned – if a true collaboration is going to take place?

I was left thinking that probably the highest hurdle this  brave project faces is an organisational mindset one – let’s hope that doesn’t take too long or become too distracting and good luck to Ian in pushing this on.

There’s no doubt that, while those internal bickerings take place, creative mashups will continue without any regard to licensing issues, hurt egos or approval from Aunty Beeb.


* There’s an audioBoo of reaction to the talk here.

* A FriendFeed commentary I did during the session with Ian can be seen here.

Written by sarahhartley

June 3rd, 2009 at 8:25 am

#Futr09 Keynote: “We have wrenched ourselves away from the editors”

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Self-confessed “presentist” (as opposed to futurist) Stowe Boyd’s keynote speech looked at the cultural shifts being brought about by the move to a more participatory world wide web – including certain death for the current mass media.

Predicting an impact on society where the values of the post industrialised, more tribal world will return to be important. He said: “There’s a view that this democratisation of the media – we all have a chance to go on the web. It’s almost a pre-industrial ethic. I refer to it as being egalitarian but it’s not really a total levelling of everyone’s involvement. There’s still a lot of room for individual reputation authority.”

Spelling out the well-documented demise of newspapers across America during this morning’s keynote speech, Boyd predicted that the same fate awaited all other countries as the move away from traditional media models swept through.

“The collapse of traditional media is a direct consequence – it’s happening fast across America. It’s a cautionary tale.

“All those people in Boston are supposed to be good citizens, buying the Boston Globe, and they are not.

“The mass media never put it in these terms, they often put it like a faddish taste. It’s not that it’s a power shift. People are deciding for themselves what’s important. We have wrenched ourselves away from the editors and once they’ve done that they are never going to give it back. They can’t erect pay walls and expect to get that back.”

Using the success of Twitter as a prime example, Boyd predicted the emergence of much more social and participatory media where interactions are, by default, public.

“Social location tools, networks in general and future things like social television are coming into their own.”

I’m blogging more during the day here;

Written by sarahhartley

May 14th, 2009 at 11:48 am