Al Gore Wants To Democratize Television, Leaks 'Crowdsourced TV'
"Soon we will unveil a new, related concept that we call Crowdsourced TV," Gore disclosed during a speech that focused largely on the concept of a "sustainable advertising" marketplace, and what advertisers, agencies and the media could to do to help make it a reality. The industry needs to, Gore asserted, because, "the consumer is way ahead of us on this."
Gore was alluding to the fact that consumers have already embraced social media platforms and new, inexpensive, professional quality technologies that have made them as much a part of the conversation as any marketer or media conglomerate, and that the best option for the media industry is to embrace it.
"I want to keep the anticipation, but we're very excited about it," Gore said about Crowdsourced TV. While he declined to elaborate, he implied that it would be a new iteration of what Current Media already does with its online community and its cable and satellite delivered television network, Current TV, which reaches 60 million U.S. households, and also operates in a number of major markets around the world.
In fact, Gore said he was leaving the Outfront conference to travel to Johannesburg, where he was going to open a Current TV network in South Africa today.
Gore, a former Vice President of the United States, said he and his partner Joel Hyatt originally launched Current to "democratize" the business of media, giving consumers more of a say, and direct involvement, in the creation and distribution of content. And in some ways, Current was ahead of its time, paving the way for a user-generated revolution that was ultimately seized by YouTube, and fueled by legions of social network platforms that promote and distribute it.
Gore, who is a senior advisor to YouTube owner Google, did not imply whether it might play a role in Crowdsourced TV, and he did not give a specific time frame for unveiling details of the plans. But Mark Rosenthal, the savvy, long-time MTV Networks president who was brought in last year as CEO of Current Media, has quietly been retooling the network and its Web site to leverage the best of both its fervent user/creator base, as well as his personal ties to Hollywood and professional TV and film producers.
During his speech, Gore implied that the next iteration of Current TV would expand on its users' ability to create information and entertainment content, as well as advertising on behalf of marketers and brands. Current was one of the first networks to utilize consumer-generated advertising campaigns on behalf of marketers, and showed campaigns that were recently developed by its users to help introduce a new, biodegradable package design for Frito-Lay's Sun Chips.
"What if we let them create content and the advertising," Gore told a roomful of top advertisers, agency and TV industry executives attending the Outfront conference. "We're pretty excited about this."