Current.tv, the TV network founded by Al Gore, is the first 24-hour TV network to put user generated videos on TV Channels. These videos, which Current.tv calls VC2 (Viewer-Created Content), are short programs of 3 to 7 minutes called “pods”. About 30% of Current.tv are VC2 pods. Here’s how it works: users upload pods to Current’s website and everyone in the Current web community helps decide what should be on TV through a process called “greenlighting”. Users can also create Ad Messages called V-CAMs and promos for Current TV or for the general topic of VC2. Current gets exclusive rights over user submitted pods, but the user gets copyright ownership.
This week Current announced a deal to promote Current on the social network Bebo: users will be asked to upload a video to Bebo for the chance to visit Current’s London studios. Current will supply content for Bebo’s video section. Bebo users will then be able to add Current videos to their own profile pages.
Is Current.tv sustainable? with YouTube on AppleTV and on mobiles (iPhone, LG Phones), and Internet TV providers like Joost and Babelgum likely be on TVs soon, Current is in a crowded arena. The biggest hurdle will be inspiring budding video producers to create quality videos. So far Current.tv’s strategy has been promotions, V-CAMs that pay $1000 per piece on TV (can make $50,000 but that is a very long shot), and simply appealing to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become half-famous via VC2.
Without a big name or Word of Mouth publicity, Current.tv will be limping. The agreement with Bebo is a good example of creating demand for video. But this isn’t enough. At this rate, Current.tv will soon fade into oblivion.