The folks at NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) have experimented with the use of multi-platform technology to understand how they can make their programming more accessible. They used one their most popular series as content for the experiment. Smart guys. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I have just had my first taste of the user experience and it is really fascinating.
So whats the big deal? Well, there are many aspects to this experiment, you need to visit their sandbox NRKBeta and hang around to understand what I’m getting at. Just 3 points and then I’ll leave you to experience NRKBeta.
- (a) the sandbox is social networking in practice — the site does not make a big point of it, it is too busy using the technology as a tool to drive the main agenda i.e. experimentation with media and media technologies. Very refreshing in these days of Social Networking hype (don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of SN, its just that the focus is on technology and not on its application
- (b) foresight and planning – the folks at NRK have evidently shaped the contract for the programme and removed legal issues that would have prevented them to experiment with this technology. Issues that copyrighting and sponsorship clauses bring along. Now, that must be at least 2 years before this experiment.
- (c) use of BitTorrent – a technology that has been associated with questionable practices like file-sharing of copyrighted material etc. The point NRK are making is that, as with all technology, there is a difference between the application of the technology and the technology itself. Actually, I don’t think they are not making a point of it, they are too focused on experimenting with the use of multi-platform media distribution.
I can see my TV license fees being put good use! NRK is doing a good job — and Eirik is excellent at communicating in an easy-to-understand language and a steady stream of articles and presentations.
I’m looking for an application of this technology in the field of education. Education in urban regions, rural areas, in developing countries, where access to good content is not cheap and bandwidths are not broad enough. NRKBeta is definitely a “testbed” for media services for an open digital society.