BeebCamp: Co-creating content with BBC stuff

Session in reaction to the collaboration session earlier which was focused on UGC as something people give to the BBC, and to look at how the BBC can give more content, not just data, back to the audience.

BBC Backstage are trying to do this, creating a new blog that’s creating original content and releasing it all, everything in raw form, out on, wherever. Probably be under an CC-attribution licence. Video, put as much metadata as much as possible, so will release scripts. Will be available in a big bundle that people can download if they want, and be released in different cut versions that people can remix as well.

Radio 1 put together a cinema advert, and plan is to get the assets online and let people mash it up, even take the piss out of it then.

What happened to the Creative Archive? [Much laughter.]

Rather than it just being a big central archive, things are being released in different places.

But the rights issue was never solved. For a 3 minute news package, content came from lots of different rights owners, so assessing the rights for an archive is functionality almost impossible. One problem with the Beethoven release as that they discovered at the last moment that there was a freelance conductor and they weren’t sure about the rights.

Creative Archive is looking backwards. The Radio 1 ad is taking marketing assets and releasing it. Backstage is releasing data. But is anyone commissioning an entertainment programme and then releasing it?

It has been tried. one project tried to create a library of material from a variety of sources, but the uptake was small because there was no focus, there was no clear call to action. Made it so open that people didn’t know what to do with it, didn’t think that there was mush point.

Why try to anticipate what people want? Why not see what communities exist and give them the chance to do something. Why are we chasing down Dr Who knitters? That’s disturbing.

JK Rowling doesn’t mind people doing fanfic, so long as it’s not commercial. And so could do that with a lot of things with the BBC, how do you enable that?

Is anyone setting out to do that?

Why are we doing this? Is that the best public value? Talent management – they are unhappy about people saying nasty things about them on BBC sites. Content producers don’t like fans to do stuff with their content. If only one small part of the audience gets something out of it, and the producers dont’ like it, why are we doing it?

Most people here would give most things away, why not? But that’s not the broader mindset, because they don’t see the value of it.

Have to start somewhere, and people aren’t willing to try to start anywhere. Don’t know why no one has tried it, doing a story and letting people just run with it. People’s natural inclination is to subvert it.

It’s a leap of faith. One project was a story for kids, wanted to leave it open to see how they would engage with it, and it’s been great to see what they come up with. The second thing is that, for kids, you have to provide the tools as well. It’s fine to leave assets around, but not everyone has the tech available to them.

Why do we think that more is better? Wouldn’t it be great if it was democratic and let it go, but it does make sense to editorialise in a certain way.

One place that is doing that is Teachers’ TV, and the teacher’s are pushed to take it and use it.

Is the idea that content will naturally be subverted true? Will people really do that as a de facto response? And even if they do, is that a bad thing? In the right context that’s fine.

Dynamic of the culture is challenging. On the one hand you’ve people who want to give things away, and on the other hand you have people who want to control.

Do the lawyers ever talk to marketing before they get on the case of someone who’s doing something, because a lot of this UGC is great publicity.

Big Weekend, mixing up people’s own photos and the professional photos, in a programme, create something completely unique ad that’s small but popular.

Fear that people are going to be horrible if we let something out. So long as the product is good, and it does need to be good, brands are surprised by how positive it can be. Brand managers don’t realise that often people talk positively and will defend the brand, if the brand is good.

Great fear of being criticised in public. Ignoring it doesn’t stop it happening, if there is negative stuff, you have to engage with it.

Letting the audience take the piss a bit endears the brand to the audience.

None of this does not apply to the Middle East, where the state broadcaster is the voice of the state. If they took the BBC’s content then it might seem like endorsement from the BBC. Perception that by putting things online, it’s encouraging people to use it, and that would be seen as the official voice of the UK. [I’m having problems following the logic of this argument.]

What if the BNP uses the footage? Backstage has a “no political usage” clause in its licence.

But need to treat different types of content differently, so children’s content is treated differently to news footage. But we shouldn’t let concerns about certain types of content stop the development of uses of other types.

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