Interview with Ade Thomas, the Managing Director of Green.tv | The environmental Internet TV station

4 min read

Green TV Logo

What better use of the new internet TV medium than using it to promote environmental issues. Green.tv is doing just that by bringing a variety of environmental videos onto the internet through its unique website and video player. The video player is able to automatically detect the best plug-in you have and will play in Flash, WMP or Quicktime

Green TV was launched back in March and has already experienced good press coverage for such a niche internet TV channel. I recently interviewed Ade Thomas, the Managing Director of green.tv and I am personally very excited and impressed by what green.tv is doing now and in the future.

Ade Thomas – Green.tv Interview

Are you a non-profit organization?

green.tv is a non-profit organisation applying for UK registered charity status.

Sum up the aim/mission of green.tv.

green.tv aims to communicate environmental ideas in as engaging a way of possible to a worldwide broadband audience. We try to do this by uniting the emotive power of TV with the engagement potential of the internet.

What’s left to do to launch green.tv fully (i.e get out of beta).

We have only really built TV on the internet. We don’t have the community tools and the user generated content functionality that will see the site achieve its objectives.

Other than the internet do you foresee any other media outlets for green.tv (e g traditional TV, TiVo).

We’re hoping to be part of the BT Vision package and also Apple’s new iTV rollout. Apple has given us a front page banner on iTunes for three months this year.

We’re hoping to be part of the BT Vision package and also Apple’s new iTV rollout

According to Alexa (which I know can be inaccurate) your site is not hugely busy (despite reasonable press coverage). Does this concern you?

Yes it does. We have around 40,000 unique users a month and over 1/2 million hits but we want more. We’ve just had prominent links put in place on the Greenpeace International site and the United Nations Environment Programme homepage, those have increased our traffic.

What do most of your viewers come from (e. g. iTunes, Google) and how many viewers do you have?

Having spent three months on iTunes, we get a lot of repeat business from that podcast. We’ve been written about on the BBC News website and get other great PR (we we’re mentioned as one of the Observer newspaper’s favorite websites) and also on the Register. This all gives our traffic a boost. When we launch our User Generated Content (UGC) and community tools, we’re hoping this will boost our audience.

Where do you get most of your video content from?

Most of our content comes from non-governmental organizations, public sector bodies and sympathetic companies. Our two biggest content providers are Greenpeace International and the United Nations Environment Programme. We recently signed a deal with Greenpeace to show all their films on green.tv. We currently have over 35 of their films on green.tv in a dedicated channel.

Green.tv Player

What are your biggest challenges in getting video content?

We don’t have a problem aggregating content. We know all the main environmental organizations and they know us.

Why did you choose to work with LargeBlue and Espians rather than a more popular video delivery service such as Narrowstep or Brightcove?

green.tv was built in-house by largeblue, which is my video and digital media company and by ESP who we know prior to building green.tv. We wanted to build our technology in-house because we have some exciting ideas about where we want to take broadband TV.

Many web TV sites that feature TV shows and video clips allow their video to be embedded on other websites for increased exposure. Why have you not chosen to do this?

All of our content is available to other users. We have an RSS feed. We recently signed a contract to formalize this with public.tv – the new broadband TV channel for the public sector set up by Nigel Dacre who used to oversee ITN.

Do you have any competitors?

Treehugger in the States is our main competitor. They just launched Treehugger TV. As the environmental area is not exactly rich pickings, it’s not an area that is being particularly targeted by new entrants.

What is your favorite environmental film on green.tv and why?

Store Wars – the organic parody of Star Wars. This was the most watched Flash movie on the internet during 2005. I also really like the latest Greenpeace 4×4 film. It starts off quite subtlely and then becomes much less so.

What do you consider the biggest threat to the environment?

Climate change. We are frying the planet and no one seems to care. I’m personally shiting myself!

How do you intend to reach people who are not concerned about the environment? How do you see the internet helping?

We’re trying to use humor wherever possible. If we can draw an audience in using classic viral video techniques then we’re able to reach a wider audience. A good example is a film largeblue produced for the Environment Agency which was written by and starred the impressionist Alistair McGowan – See it here.

We’re thinking of a series which will feature green bikini babes teaching people what they can do to help the environment.

We’re about to launch a music channel showing videos with an environmental message. This should reach a wider audience. There’s a great video going up on launch which is a remix of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall by Eric Prydz. We’re constantly trying to think of ways of reaching a more mainstream audience. We’re thinking of a series in partnership with either the Sun or the Mirror which will feature green bikini babes teaching people what they can do to help the environment.

What has been the single most exciting moment while launching green.tv?

Launching in March was the best moment. We have the best URL for the job, a great team of people, a really important message and great project partners. The next best thing will be the launch of our world-beating community tools. We’re hoping to really make our audience a central part of the channel and to see lots of great user generated content.


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