Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Current TV

Last July I wrote about Current TV, the new cable station aimed at 18-34 that Al Gore is somehow involved with. In that article I took Current to task for trying a little too hard.

That was before I had spent time with Current. Now I get it.

Current is television for Generation Y. It’s a station with segments of roughly five minutes on a wide variety of topics. It also includes some viewer created content that is first uploaded to the website and then voted on by viewers. Each pod, as they call it, includes a status bar that shows how far along in the segment the viewer is: a clear nod to the iPod. Design is clearly one of the strong suits of the station, everything looks good.

So what?

Current is trying to be the station millions of Myspacers have on in the background. They are a television station created for a multitasking world. Short segments allow viewers to tune in and out. Beautiful design makes the station feel like a good thing to leave on as background art. Viewer created content bridges the gap between the web and the television and encourages people to spend time on the site. In essence, Current has thrown out the old ideas of television and actually embraced some of the changes the internet forces.

On top of that, they’re trying to rethink advertising. Instead of running regular commercials they already allow advertisers like Sony, who’s video cameras would be appealing to content creators, to sponsor segments. They’re now taking the idea a step further by allowing viewers to create the ads. According to Multichannel News, Current is asking viewers to create ads for companies including Sony, Toyota, and L’Oreal. If a viewers ad airs they will be paid $1,000, which is damn cheap for a commercial. If the spot goes beyond Current the producer will ear from $5,000-$50,000 depending on distribution.

Anyway, give it a watch and see what you think. I expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

FYI, here are some of the more popular cable carriers and the corresponding channel Current can be found: DirectTV (366), Time Warner NY (103), Time Warner LA (116), Comcast SF (125).

March 2, 2006