ChewTV is a brand new internet television channel that aims to be an outlet for young aspiring video producers and even helps fund and support youth video production projects.
I recently caught up with Greg Davies who manages ChewTV on a day to day basis and gave him my 15 Questions.
Before I jump in with the interview here are some interesting facts about ChewTV:
- ChewTV aims to create a more familiar TV environment by having its TV station change its content throughout the day, for example having kids videos in the morning.
- All the TV content on ChewTV is produced by youngsters.
- ChewTV helps fund and support youth based video productions.
- Chew TV is from the UK but is open to receiving and supporting projects on a larger scale.
- Chew TV launched in November in 2006.
And here’s the interview with Greg Davies from ChewTV.com
1. Sum up the goal of ChewTV
Chew TV’s ambitions stretch way beyond simply hosting content. We aim to create an interface between young people and the powers that be, making their opinions count, getting their voices heard, generating critical thinking and debate and helping them to be involved in making change within and beyond the media world.
2. Where did you come up with the name ChewTV?
Chew TV is youth led. In one of the first meetings about it in a school in Cornwall one of the pupils suggested the name ‘Choo’. This was misheard as ‘Chew’. We liked it as it suggests that we are providing something to ‘chew over’ and that we would like young people to ‘chew over’ what they receive from the mainstream media.
3. Are you a non-profit company – if you aren’t how do you intend to make
Yes we are non-profit. Although we do intend to make the Channel sustainable through advertising.
4. Chew TV will be commissioning 10 projects to create video for the web
channel. Can you tell us more about this and what’s the interest been like
We are providing bursaries for film projects to create content for Chew TV. We are looking for original ideas that will spark debate, create reactions and challenge what people see in the mainstream media. We’ve had loads of interest so far with some really strong proposals coming through. We’ve had a fair few innovative and amazing ideas. I wish we could fund them all.
5. Other than supporting youngsters with cash and equipment to produce
videos and the ChewTV website to showcase their work, how else do you
intend to help youngsters into the video production industry?
Well its not just video production that we’re concentrating on. Its the media industry as a whole especially New Media, Film/TV, Animation and journalism. We have young people working on all aspects of Chew TV giving them experience in all sorts of things from marketing to web design and of course anything to do with production/broadcast. We aim to create networking opportunities for young people to get in touch with not only practitioners, artists and potential employers/commissioners but with other young people so that they can learn from each other. We will also be providing mentors and aim to act as a hub for communicating new ideas. We will also be holding numerous screening and networking events to provide cultural activities and support/improve local art scenes.
6. Chew TV receives very little traffic, does this concern you and what are your ideas for further promotion?
Very little traffic compared to Google or You Tube! But not compared to other youth led sites. Some examples of community/youth led broadband TV have little to no traffic and create content that is very weak. Its early days and we haven’t fully launched yet. We will start promoting more heavily when we full launch the site in Feb/March this year. As for promotion ideas – that would be telling! Wait until you see what I’ve got up my sleeve!
7. I’ve noticed your site lacks some important promotional aspects, for example its completely written in flash so the search engines are unable to index written text on your website, and there is not way to directly link to and share individual videos? Was this intentional or something you plan to fix?
As I mentioned earlier we haven’t fully launched yet. We wanted to give people a feel for the content and look of the site at this stage. We are concentrating on functionality and interactivity in Phase 2.
8. Tell me a little more about the sister site you have planned for even
It will be much the same as Chew TV except targeted at a younger audience. Working more on projects with schools and taking a more light hearted approach. But until then all ages are welcome at Chew TV.
9. Do you receive full rights to the videos submitted to you? If not would you encourage youngsters to submit their video elsewhere to places such as YouTube for more exposure?
The filmmakers will retain the rights to their films. For the reason that we don’t want to limit how they use the material, the more exposure they get, the better. We don’t want to compete with other video sites, we embrace them.
10. You’ve told me that Creative Parnerships, South West Screen, TwoFour, Arts Council England and Cornwall Film are your sponsors, but does your relationship with these organizations go any further?
Don’t forget Hi8us! And they’re not our sponsors they are partners so they’re all involved on every level of Chew TV.
11. What’s your favorite video on ChewTV.com?
It has to be ‘Little Dog Turple’. This is a beautifully crafted animation with a charming, if dark storyline and an enchanting aesthetic.
12. What’s your history in Web TV and video production?
My history in Web TV starts here. However I have crewed on various feature documentaries including the ’14 days’ series by Mad Brit Films. I have worked in TV/video production in the South West of England. My work has also appeared in the ‘D&AD New Blood’ show and ‘Welsh Artist of the Year 2006’. And all this before I graduated with First Class Honours in Media Arts at the University Of Plymouth. This is my first job since graduating. It fits in with the Chew TV ethos to give a chance to someone young like me. This isn’t really important though as Chew TV is not about me.
13. I don’t know if you’re aware but a lot of cool products have been coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and MacWorld this week over in the states. Are there any interesting new video related products that have caught your eye?
I was very impressed by the $100 draw string powered laptop. Could help spread Chew TV to the 3rd World! Exciting stuff.
14. Do you watch TV and video online? If so where?
Actually before I got the Chew TV job I didn’t have a telly so online TV was my only option. YouTube and Google video of course but for news the BBC website and Reuters TV. Also 3Btv and mix and match stuff from various channels usually using sites like wwitv.com as a starting point.
15. What direction do you think the TV industry is going and what role do you think the internet will play in this?
Well there’s a lot you can say about that. I think that as time goes by the boundaries between Television and the internet will blur. The way that people, especially young people consume media is changing. This is reflected in ITV’s decision to pull the plug on their children’s shows. More commercial stations will follow especially since the ban on junk food advertising. Young people use the internet more and more to not only receive media but to create content themselves. This will change the face of broadcasting.
Channel 4 and Trouble are already producing shows that use UGC from the internet attempting to mimic the success of You Tube and such. Big developments have taken place with what MTV are doing and mobile technology has made big improvements recently. This is a very exciting time and will hopefully give more power to the viewer/user. Reaching large audiences doesn’t solely rely on huge budgets and celebrities as much as it used to.
Big Thanks to Greg for the interview!