Royal Television Society Innovation award for UGC.

Apparently, two Mint projects for Channel 4 have been nominated for the Royal Television Society Innovation award for UGC.

Both projects combine TV audiences with web mass-participation. For the last four years, we have been convinced that this combination provides great opportunity. It is great to see these ideas come to fruition.

Where did these ideas come from?

Landshare was a cracking idea bought to us by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the team at Keo films. Mint were responsible for the implementation, but Keo should take credit for the great idea of a peer-to-peer allotment site.

Sexperience (a collaboration with Cheetah TV) is a different story.

Initially, the part of Sexperience that we were most excited by was the video encyclopaedia of sexual experiences. In developing the concept, we spoke to teens in a dozen or so schools. In general, they had lots of concerns about relationships and sex (in that order) but felt there was nowhere good online to turn to. That’s strange, we thought, there are a bunch of sites. Then we realised that however cool those sites look, they are hobbled because they come from an adult’s perspective. Teens inhabit a different world. Better than having adults telling teens what they should think, it is more enlightening to have adults recounting their own experience of, for instance, losing their virginity. The human brain is brilliant at hearing a bunch of people and figuring out who to listen to.

But, to our surprise, it is the Q&A section (the UGC part) that proved the real hit. Since the site was launched, 23,180 questions have been asked and 21,564 answered. The site has turned into a supportive non-judgemental place where young people can share their worries.

(Incidentally, this shows how key it is to use an agile methodology when building a mass-participation site. You never know how an online community will evolve.)

Update: Landshare is the winner! The judges said:

The judges felt that the award should go to a project that they feel reinvents the viewer/user/programme maker relationship and which is making a fundamental difference to the way key issues of the moment can be addressed. A project whose success demonstrates as one judge put it “how television can make a difference”.

Below is a visibly delighted Thomas Pomfret receiving the award.

The Winner!

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