POV: Viewers steer this pilot

Where did the idea to have audiences weigh in come from?
January 1, 2007

Where did the idea to have audiences weigh in come from?
This effort has its origins in some new primary audience research that the CPB has been funding, and PBS and a number of our stations have been collaborators on. It began with this notion of bringing the audience into the room, and it was through that research we saw there was an appetite for more science programming. It was through that that we came up with the notion of doing a request for proposals for a new series, and I really felt that, in the spirit of its origins, let’s keep the audience in the room through the development process.

Who are you trying to attract with this programming?
The segments weren’t formed through demographics, but it’s fair to say they are slightly younger than the average audience in primetime, generally; not wildly younger – they’re probably a median age of 47. They tend to have children in the home, they tend to be technologically savvy, not necessarily early adopters, per se, but they do adopt technology that is proven and looks like it will make their busy lives better. So, they tend to have broadband access that indexes above the national average, and they tend to have DVR penetration higher than average.

What types of audience feedback methods will you be using?
We’re doing an active recruitment for online feedback through an Internet panel – a group of approximately 4,000 who have volunteered to provide us with feedback on various things… I really feel we’ve got a lot of feedback loops in place. We’ve never done this before, so we’re keeping our expectations open in terms of how it’s going to play out. I hope the main thing we learn is that we developed a really good science series that we can have on the air in the fall of ’07.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.