Current TV
Current TV is a media channel that broadcasts various forms of entertainment from news and investigative journalism, to movie reviews and humor pieces. What makes Current so unique is the reliance on viewer content. Current not only asks for feedback about its programming from viewers, it encourages them to submit their own. In fact more than one-third of the content for Current TV comes from its viewers.
Current was founded in September of 2002 by former Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt, and went on the air on August 1, 2005 in the United States, March 12, 2007 in the United Kingdom, and February 8, 2008 in Italy. At this time, these are the only countries Current TV airs (2). There are also limited networks that have Current TV as a channel. Dish Network has Current listed as channel 196 (3), DIRECTV has it on channel 358 (4), and other cable networks like Suddenlink and Comcast did not even have Current listed.
Young adults are the target audience for the channel, shown by programs like SuperNews and infoMania. SuperNews, an animated program, takes an unapologetic and satirical look at political and pop-culture news and issues. infoMania pokes fun at the occasional absurdity of modern mass media with segments like “How to Make a Viral Video” and “Target Women”. While much of Current TV’s content is made up of shows in the traditional 30 minute format, and is generated by the editors and staff at Current, much of the programming you see at any given time on Current is sent in by the viewers who created it. Viewers who send in content are paid $250 for the first segment, $500 for the second and third, $750 for the fourth and fifth, and $1,000 for any segments beyond that (5). Many segments are made by everyday people with inexpensive camera equipment and simple editing software. Some, however, are made by professional documentary makers who take the time to make short segments and send them in for the exposure. One that I viewed was actually a 30 minute documentary made as a project for film school that was just broken into seven minute segments and played back to back.
Viewers can go online at current.com to vote on programming, comment on programming and issues (comments may be in the form of text, photos, videos, or other forms of media (6).), and also submit “pods”,which are three to seven minute presentations on various subjects. Another contribution that Current’s viewers make is the VCAM, or Viewer Created Ad Message. Viewers make a commercial, essentially, for a product that sponsors Current TV, like Axe products.


(1) http://current.com/s/about.htm
(2) http://current.com/s/management.htm
(3) http://www.dishnetwork.com/packages/channel.aspx?channel=52180
(4) https://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/new_customer/base_packages.jsp?language=ENGLISH&_requestid=2139701
(5) http://www.wired.com/print/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/09/68824
(6) http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/al_gore_current_re-defining_television.php