HitRECord on TV – Where it all comes together

I suppose Hitrecord on TV is the natural conclusion to the themes covered in this topic and my own course, television. Hitrecord is collaborative project headed by Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt that broadcasts community made content onto TV. The genius behind the show is that by concentrating so much on its unique selling point – that being most of the features, topics and themes are community generated – it is able to give audiences the feeling they are truly involved in the production of the show. The longevity and success of the show is purely in the communities hand and as such means there is a reason for audiences to want to continue watching and producing themselves. Not to mention the clever incentive to reward featured collaborators with cash compensation.

To me Hitrecord is a shining example of how convergence is a potential route for the future of broadcast television. It shows the sum of a successful attempt to collect short-form features based on a single topic in the style of internet content (vlogs, poetic sequences, real experiences) and reveal many different personal and real stories from various audience demographics. This kind of user generated content appears to be very attractive to audiences and provides a nice contrast to the exaggeration and spectacle of the rest of broadcast television

Kevin MacLeod – Over 2700 IMDB credits

 

Kevin MacLeod is one of the internet’s most famous providers of royalty free music. His archive of soundtracks are available on incompetech.com – home to thousands of tracks that are given away for free to be used under a creative commons license. His only request with each song is that the original work is appropriately credited however, artists have to permission to edit, cut, remix and tamper with the music in any way they want for use in their work.

Having this music available for use for free means that many low budget media producers have access to a wide variety of material they can use without having to worry about the legal ramifications if they want their work to be commercialised. While this appears to be a rather lenient copyright restriction – there is still a strong protection for MacLeod to fairly produce his work and monitor it so it doesn’t get exploited. Interestingly, the site states that if the track can’t be credited properly (such as in a radio or TV ad) then a fixed price must be paid to license the track showing how there is a strict control over the music even though in most situations it can be used for free (with attribution).

If MacLeod decided to tighten the copyright on his music there would be many content creators that would have to remove his music from their work and avoid using it in the future. Many producers would have to search elsewhere for creative commons music which is available but is often of a low quality. MacLeod would be drastically limiting the scope of his music and the audience he could be reaching out to however he would be able to charge individually for the use of his music. This would deter most of the current user base he has away but would open him up to more profitable situations – if he was to stay as popular as he currently is.

Online Visibility

I tend to take a rather active approach to monitoring my online profiles and how much of what I contribute to the internet is visible to anyone. Usually, I will follow certain rules I have set myself when I create profiles; for example, my surname is only linked to my biggest online platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter) otherwise my surname is “F” (as it is in my username for this site). Generally, on sites that allow the use of a username I have a common pseudonym that I use for online profiles, this includes services like Steam, Xbox Live and Reddit where I want less of a personal connection to my profile.

I choose to be this active in restraining from providing all my information as it makes me believe I have a better chance of not being caught out by information an employer could present to me about myself. It’s scary to think what uploads I have made to social media and have completely forgotten about that anyone with a nosy attitude could track down. For this reason, I once triggered the privacy settings on Twitter for a period of time when I felt uncomfortable having my tweets visible to any profile. The settings meant my tweets could not be retweeted and you had to request permission (that I had to accept) in order to follow me. However, I have since taken this off my account after removing various tweets I didn’t want other profiles to see.

Yahoo Answers!

Have you ever needed to know the answer to that grating question you just can’t think of the answer to? Well, you’re probably very familiar with Yahoo answers then! The user directed site host thousands of questions that other users aim to answer and the ‘best answers’ are moderated by the community to rise to the top. The greater the amount of genuine moderators, the more useful the answers become which leads to an array of topics that can be discussed: anything from computer software inquiries to trivia questions about the Olympics.

A key challenge users face in the community is a mix of people who upload joke questions and spam with troll answers. Some serious health questions can receive answers that could potentially have harmful consequences. To combat this, any answer can be marked as inappropriate however this does require having to sign into an account to submit a request. Also, the ability to mark a ‘best answer’ means the most suitable answers are seen first.

This means the content is self moderated in order to cover the vast amount of questions and answers posted everyday. It would be physically impossible for a group of Yahoo employees to check each upload so giving tools to every user that allows them to make reports is a way to mark out and highlight questions/answers that may need removing.

A selection of questions

 

Eve Online simulates an actual economy?

Is it far fetched to believe that an online video game about spaceships trading supplies and being raided by bounty hunters where every person you see is a virtual avatar of a real person can simulate an actual working economy? Well according to the 500,000 current active players, there is an $18 million economy managed and manipulated by the game’s virtual inhabitants. The most fascinating thing about Eve is how it is a space where economists can monitor and experiment on a real working system and see how changes are affecting the community.

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This means Eve’s simulated universe can mimic and reflect our own economic situations and the active community members can trial new solutions. For example, after the 2008 economic crash, there has been a movement to change how currency is calculated to have value – one solution being the introduction of ‘cryptocurrency’ (Bitcoin). Eve provides a simulation of a monitored currency (named ISK) that is controlled by the central bank, this means the value of the currency changes depending on player trends – the supply is fixed and fixed to the creation of economic value. Interestingly, if a mining mineral becomes rare, its value will increase which suggests this presents an opportunity to simulate the future of oil prices in the real world.

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Audiences have also shaped the game’s economy, much like the real world, through war! The ‘Bloodbath of B-R5RB caused the destruction of 11 trillion ISK worth of spaceships, this hit the economy hard. Economists equated this to around $300,000 in real money that was consumed in battle! However the main difference in this situation was the fact that players would actively pay to play (and so inject more money into the economy) just to join in with the war.

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Podcasts

Podcasts have grown staggeringly in recent years, in America alone, listening figures have grown by double over the past 7 years. They are an example of the convergence of audio/radio, online and even video/television in some cases. Some of the earliest podcasts to gain mass British attention were archive recordings of radio shows – such as Chris Moyles’ Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 – which allowed listeners to listen to the entire show without the music, this put a focus on making the radio hosting much more entertaining and suitable for long form consumption.

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These days, looking at the current iTunes chart, audio versions of TV shows are starting to gain in popularity with shows like ‘Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled’ and TEDtalks sitting comfortably in the top 10. This is interesting as it shows audiences are prepared to sacrifice the visual element of programmes in order to still be able to listen to the substance of the show.

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Another ‘genre’ of podcast that often get overlooked are live streamed and video versions of shows. These can range from 4 friends who Skype each other and record their webcams to more traditional ‘panel-show’ setups that are visually more professional. In terms of audiences this implies that there is a market for these media formats that mesh together and it shows how various sectors of the media industry – whether they are independent or produced by organisations – are exploring every sub-genre of podcasts that they can as the medium and viewing figures grow.

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Quizlet

quizlet_logo_largeThis is a great resource that combines two of our favourite things: a search engine and a quiz app. What makes this site really useful though is how quizzes are user generated meaning you can search for specific topics to find tailored quizzes or study sets. Another great feature of the website is the ability to find either individual sets or a whole ‘class’ which combines multiple sets into one theme.

For example, when testing how relevant this site would be, I searched for ‘media convergence’ in connection with last week’s lecture. From this I was able to find 256 related sets which explored various convergence themes such as: new media, hardware, industry and corporations. These quizzes are a great way to explore and refresh (or even learn new) definitions that were featured in previous or upcoming lectures so by the time it comes to writing the essay or conducting a presentation on these themes, we can have a greater understanding of the meanings of certain theoretical elements

The biggest downside to this resource though is how quizzes are usually limited to testing definitions. It is possible to create and post your own quizzes that can test yourself on other areas however the way there can only be 1 correct answer based on a multiple choice selections means that there is really only one question type. That being said, as an easy refresher of knowledge or as a companion to the lectures, I think Quizlet is a useful resource to support students in this module.