Current TV Moves From Social Video To Social Networking

When Al Gore-backed progressive, creative TV channel Current launched in 2005, the idea was to run on-air the best user-submitted videos from online. Any fans like me of the channel, which started in the UK a year later, will, over the years, have noticed Current slipping more toward a conventional commission relationship with small indie production houses. Why?

Current’s director of content Emily Renshaw-Smith told me during C21’s Social Media Forum at Bafta on Monday: “The video content that gets uploaded is quite random and hard to programme on a TV network…”

“In the UK, we started working with content creators to commission their content to make programmes our viewers would want to watch and to nurture those content creators. The numbers of videos that were getting uploaded were quite small. We realised we’ve got to create other ways to engage so we started creating opportunities for users to get involved.”

So Current has moved from running continuous hours of unrelated videos to more thematically programmed hours, shows and a preoccupation with social networks. Recent additions have been two Monday-night shows – WebMash and Upstream – running the best of the day’s videos, as shared (if not created) by viewers. The network has also been featuring Twitter heavily and has run a Twitter-vs-Facebook contest. “We found that our following has increased as a social platform,” Renshaw-Smith added.