Television & Creative Content: The Ballerina Era

“Not every little girl gets to do what they want. The world could not support that many ballerinas.”

This brillant quote is from one of my favourite shows, Mad Men. This quote also is perfectly suited for the 1960’s, 1970’s, or even the 80’s. But not for today.

’Cause i’m thinking: nowadays anyone can be a ballerina. Even a 53 year old guy can be a ballerina. The mediums to expose your talents or your non-talents are infinite. And this is all thanks to you internet, technology or smartphones out there. Thanks to you, I get the chance to show off the content I create: my stories, articles, thoughts or my breakdance moves to the world, even if I’m not good at them. I just need to upload whatever I want to share.

Let’s leave this thought off the table for a second and focus on television. Working on TV or producing TV has always been like an aristocracy. Aspirational, unreachable to the mass, and only for a few lucky ones. And we, the commoners, were only watching what executives from networks decided was best for us. But… This traditional form of consumption is changing. As we all know, we can stream, download and binge-watch. It’s a revolution! We can watch whatever, wherever and however we want to.
So, TV has to adapt to us now and we as audiences demand for full experiences if we are to seat for an hour in front of the TV.

Let’s get back to the ballerinas. People realized they could be the star of their own show or programming director just by creating a youtube chanel. If we consider this, and the notion of empowerment audiences have, it was only natural that people wanted to be a part of what they saw on TV. But how can traditional tv get away with this and make the public happy? With Real Time TV. There are different ways approach this concept.

  1. Television has to merge with the online world to improve the viewing experience.
    Community managers and on air departments must be ready to tweet, post, snapchat and be live on periscope to talk to us. We want to share our feelings and sensations towards what we are seeing. Make me vote, make me talk, it doesn’t matter how. I just want to see my tweet on the screen.
    2. Another way to cope with this new narcissistic public is to innovate with content. Give the audience something they never had on TV. The best example for me is what’s known as “Slow TV”. Slow TV is a genre used by Norwegians. It’s a live television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. For expample, one of the television programs transmitted live and non stop a 134-hour voyage on a ship. They let people know where the broadcast was going to be so they could be a part of the show too.

Producer Thomas Hellum described on a TED Talk: “We also could take pictures of people waving at us, people along the route, thousands of them, and they all had a phone in their hand. And when you take a picture of them, and they get the message, “Now we are on TV, dad,” they start waving back. This was waving TV for five and a half days, and people get so extremely happy when they can send a warm message to their loved ones (…) We asked our viewers out there, what do you want to see? What do you want us to film? How do you want this to look? And we got some answers from you out there, and it helped us a very lot to build the program…”
And amazingly the ratings exploded!

If audiences don’t have control of what/how they watch, they still wanna be a part of it: If I can’t decide when to watch the morning shows, at least they should read my tweet. The public expects to be heard and taken into account, if not they will turn off their TVs and go online to satisfy their needs whatever they may be. We all want to get what we want.

Beware Marie, we are living in the Ballerina Era.

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