Some more words of wisdom from Gary Carter CCO of Freemantle that should have been in a previous post. These are from the final q and a and even though the questions are a little shallow the answers offer a simple ‘manifesto’ for traditional producers looking down into the black hole of digital cross-media entertainment.

How do you change the way you do things?

“That will happen by itself. Really what I am trying to say to you is that there is a distinction to be made between the entertainment that is going to be experienced on other media apart from television. Sooner rather than later I do believe that forms of entertainment will emerge that have little to do with television and a lot to do with the medium that carries them. That’s the particular area that I am interested in. I don’t have any answers though.”

The threshold for tolerance for someone watching a smallish screen form of entertainment vs sitting on your couch with a plasma. Will it be that a 30 minute show will translate to your iPod or do you think audiences not have that kind of patience that we see with a two hour feature film ?

“I have my suspicions that they will only want to consume the 2 hour feature film in certain circumstances on a very small screen or at least versions of it on a very small screen. But that is simply to use all these new devices as a distribution medium for existing content which is perfectly valid but it is not what I am about. I would prefer to think ‘what type of content would make an audience sit and want to watch a small screen for two hours’ if it were possible. But I don’t think it is going to be content that is going to come from a different form.”

What are you trying to develop (paraphrase)?

“I am trying to develop entertainment properties which are in part application and in part content – to the extent I want them more content than application. I am not primarily going into the software business but I do understand that the development of any kind of entertainment, or entertainment form will have to include some kind of software development itself. I am very interested in exploring ways in which audiences can generate their own content and invent their own rules for what they do with material in a given set of circumstances.If you look at Flickr for example, a photographic database on the web, but in my opinion it represents a paradigm for new entertainment. That you may say is surprising. Flickr is a place where amateurs and professionals can store their digital photographs online. It is a huge database but it has two interesting features. First is you can tag your photographs with your memories…and other users can tag with their memories. People started to use it for different things. Firstly it became a community which requires a certain degree of participation in the content. Secondly they started to use it in ways that people hadn’t quite imagined it would be when they first put it up…something else has started to happen. The users themselves are starting to generate their own games out of the rules of flickr. They are starting competitions to tell the best story from photos in flickr. They are starting to elaborate competitions and content of their own by playing with the rules of flickr itself. That for me is the definition of modern entertainment in this environment. The makers of flickr have made a gesture towards the audience, the audience has picked that gesture up and they have started to explore the possibilities. So the people who run flickr rather than being producers of entertainment are more like curators in this kind of environment – and I think that’s very, very significant…

I am not trying to challenge television at its heartland. In fact I am really trying to specifically get away from the conversation about television and what kind of content will be distributed on other technological devices. I think we as people who work in the media industry have to rethink the nature of our engagement with the audience.”

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006