There are precious few free Internet video ‘channels’ that offer anything outside lolcats and porn. TED is one that springs to mind as breaking the mould of user-generated rubbish and actually offers something worthwhile. I understand the value of breaking down the barriers of content creation and with YouTube being an outlet available to everyone, great things have indeed happened. The images still making their way from Iran are a case in point.
But sometimes I really feel the need to escape the noise of ‘related’ content, context-sensitive advertising and lolcats and instead watch something a little more… confined. SlowTV is a channel I came across when reading The Monthly. In fact, it’s a spin-off of the magazine itself and pretty much follows the same premise: politics, society and culture, mostly delivered by academics. It sounds dry, but often isn’t. Just like TED, the videos are sometimes surprisingly entertaining and inspiring. And also like The Monthly, I find that the selection of speakers is quite good.
It’s great to see that the Internet is allowing the presentation of current affairs, without an editorial, but still retaining a level of direction and research. SlowTV certainly isn’t alone in doing this, but just the latest site I’ve added to the list.
I’m also interested to know how projects like SlowTV are funded and what The Monthly gains by providing the service. I don’t doubt that there is potentially a viable model of quality current affairs issues being presented in this way. Maybe some of the old guard members, like John Hartigan need to rethink their view of how a population will be willing to subscribe to their media and in fact, what is considered ‘newsworthy content’ by the increasingly tabloid media.
To avoid any complaints about a ‘serious’ post, here’s a lolcat…