I'll need to start a new experiment to run along side the first.
Google hangouts provide an opportunity to improve the bidirectional aspect of my ongoing experiment.
The Three Experiments
The first 5 year experiment was to answer several questions, the first being the most important.
- Can small towns support a local TV station normally reserved for bigger towns.
- Since most people get their news sports weather from the net, rather than conventional media, can a TV station exist without the million dollar start-up cost of an antenna and FCC licencing.
- Can a business model be developed similar to old-school broadcasting? (local advertising)
- Can a local TV station be profitable and still provide small town businesses with a cost effective advertising option? (deliver enough viewers to keep cost per viewer ratios below other medias)
- Can the station be operated from 200 or more miles away, allowing several stations to be operated from a single control room?
- Will the station have any measurable effects on the town. A whole list of criteria was developed and various sub tests were conducted. Among the things measured was, increase attendance at school sporting events, increase contributions to school organizations, raise money for charities, get more people to attend town meetings, increase usage of social media, attract viewers on demand in the event of a local hazard or special event, improve web presence.... and so on.
- Can the station be self sustaining and locally operated with just local programming?
The answers to all those questions except the last one, is a resounding YES. As to the last one, it is a probable yes, but, because of the nature of the question, it may not be answered for several years.
This two year long experiment explored the effect of interaction on the growth of a web based TC channel.
I created 10 new channels just for HS sports. In them, some had an active moderated text chat that allowed viewers to participate. The channels with viewer interaction had a faster growth rate. I had noticed that shows in the first experiment that had a host who paid attention to the chat,t and interacted with the viewers had more viewers, ( and a loyal following), than shows where the host ignored the chat. Despite the popularity of HS sports, the sports Channels with no interaction not only grew slower but some of them eventually lost all their viewers. Channels with chat continued to grow over the entire two years. There was no correlation to the success of the teams, which one would think would be the controlling factor for viewership.
I concluded that the interaction between the show and it's viewers is probably more important than any other aspect of a web based TV station. It is the uni-directional nature of conventional TV and the bi-directional nature of Web based TV that may be the biggest reason why the local web based TV will be successful. It may also be the most important reason that the number of TV's per household in the US has actually decreased for the first time since the introduction of television and why the number of households with internet access continues to increase at a brisk rate.
This will be a year long experiment to see the effect of incorporating audio and video chat into the channel.
This will let the viewers communicate with the station and with each other in much the same way as the current text chat, but with audio and video. I'll initially use Google hangouts as the medium and will therefore change the TV tag in the name of the stations to GTV to indicate Group TV or Google TV.
We already know that a text based chat has a measurable impact on the TV station's viewership. We also know that allowing people to come into the studio and spread their story to the community has a big impact on the community.
What if we could increase the number of people that are featured on the channel ten fold and allow viewers to interact with each other 24 hours a day.
chat bi-directional nature of a web based TV station will dramaticly increase viewership viewers can interact with each other combined with