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Friday, May 9, 2008

Current TV

This is a review I previously published on a different blog but it's no longer available so I'm re-publishing it here:

I'm sitting here with a political conundrum, I was browsing through the channel listing on my Dish Network PVR and ran across a new channel called Current TV. Turns out this is the TV project that Al Gore announced a while back. The channel is cool, really cool, but I have a problem endorsing anything that Al Gore is involved in but I'm going to make an exception for Current TV.

Current's programming is all user created, now when I hear that phrase I think ugly YouTube videos but that's not the case here. Current users vote on the content that makes it on-air which seems to keep the poorly produced stuff away. The basic unit of programming is a “Pod”, short (one to ten minute) documentary videos interspersed with user created commercials, short news pieces, music reviews and other stuff.

Current even pays for the content they use, Pods start at $500 while commercials pay $1000 or even more if the advertiser chooses to reuse the ad elsewhere. Recent commercial assignments included Toyota Camry, Mountain Dew and Pop Secret.

I found the programming to be compelling and well produced, graphically current is tastefully modern looking and the 'shaky camera MTV look' appears to be thankfully passe. The web site is pretty and easy to navigate and contains all the info you need to produce your own pods, including various release forms you'll need in order to get things on air. Current enforces the legalities involved in broadcasting vigorously including model releases and clearing music and other copyrighted material. They have partnered with Several companies to provide pre-cleared music clips for producers to use so all is not lost for those not of the composing bent.

The forums on the web site are a place where producers can discuss various aspects of production, meet up with potential collaborators and critique each other's work. The discussions are wide ranging, serious but friendly and newbies look to be treated with respect.

I'm pretty jazzed about Current TV this is a great outlet for the short subject producer where they can get their work seen and maybe even pick up a little cash. You should check it out, Current is available on major cable systems (Comcast channel 107), (AT&T U-verse channel 189) and both Direct TV (Channel 366) and Dish Network (Channel 196). And much of the content is available online if you can't get it otherwise.

Current TV

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