The BlogTV Canada venture is backed by Alliance Atlantis and Toronto-based GS New Media, and is very much a Web 2.0 social networking experiment that has a wide open road in front of it. I have recently been invited to evaluate the service, and in the near term I plan to do some broadcasting of my own there, most likely in conjunction with my oldest son, Max. Stay tuned.
So, I'll just share my basic impressions, and then leave you with some photos. The event was well attended, and with lots of fun energy, and I'm sure loads of creative people. The venue had a bunch of notebooks all powered up for us to use and try out the service. It doesn't take long to figure out the basic features, but I certainly found it helpful to have someone from blogtv.ca sit by me and navigate some of the menus and options. It sure is fun, but to me, it's a lot like YouTube and even virtual spaces like Second Life. Once you go in, it's a whole new, real-time world, and if you have time on your hands - or not much self-control, you can spend hours there.
I chatted with a number of people from blogtv.ca, and got answers to some of my questions, but not all. Social networking is just so new, nobody really knows what to do with it - certainly in Canada - so you have to suspend belief about reality when looking at this. There doesn't seem to be a business model yet, or a clearly identified audience. I heard a lot about this being attractive for the creative community - artists, filmakers, video producers, musicians, etc. - which I totally agree with. These are the people who will really run with the technology and do cool and exciting things with it.
But will it become anything more than another paintbrush in their creative palette, or will a business model emerge? No clear answers on that one, but for now, I don't think they're too concerned. It's all about building community and letting things grow organically. From what I can tell, their main overhead is bandwidth, since everything else is pretty much user-generated. Oh, and to have a few people monitor and moderate what people are doing to make sure nothing really evil goes on. Gotta have that.
The thing I really struggle with is calling this "TV". That's such a 1.0 term, but hey, it's by far the most powerful medium out there, and I hate to say it, but it's the "TV" thing that draws people to it. I don't know why, but people will do ANYTHING to get on TV, and if this is the only way they can do it, then that's what they'll do. Actually, the "TV" part of blogtv.ca is the "channels". The idea is to develop content grouped by subject matter, so there are channels for all kinds of things - music, tech, sports, games, and yes - adult. Just like in the real world. So a big part of this launch was to attract the kind of people they hope will build and bring content, and give others a reason go there.
On the whole, I thought it was pretty neat, and it's great to see Canada being at the edge of the curve. And even better for me to be a part of it. So far, I haven't seen ANY coverage of this event, so I may be the lone voice spreading the word, at least in the IP world. In that case, you heard it here first, folks, and if things go well, I just may become new media guy myself.
Finally - kudos to the High Road Communications team for putting on a great event in a funky part of town - very 2.0.
As far as I can determine, blogtv.ca is the first foray for BlogTV outside their base in Israel. As with VoIP, Israel is a hotbed of innovation for video, and BlogTV seems like a typical example. I don't know how successful they have been with it, but it was explained last night that while BlogTV only does live video, the Canadian version does both live and stored video. To me, this is like how SightSpeed differs from Skype video - same difference. I think the stored portion opens up a whole new range of possibilities, and time will tell where the Canadian creative community takes it.
A quick sidebar about BlogTV. My Hebrew is very rudimentary, and when you go to the home site for BlogTV - which is in Hebrew - it doesn't take much to see that there's a lot happening there, and I'm sure they've pioneered all kinds of interesting uses. For anyone who knows Hebrew, you'll see very quickly that the Hebrew word for blog is....blog. As ancient as Hebrew is - it is still an evolving language, but when it comes to tech terms, it's much easier to go with the flow, and just call it what everyone else calls it. Omen.
And now, here's what you missed....
Is this grass roots, or what?
Tomorrow's TV stars? You never know...
Look at me, I'm on TV...but is anybody watching???
Sarah Ward and David Gollom of High Road... only in Canada, eh...
Technorati tags: blogtv.ca, BlogTV, Jon Arnold, Social Media, Web 2.0