It doesn’t take a genius to work out the value of “Event TV”. Take last night’s Superbowl: people all over the world tuned in and felt compelled to take part in the chatter, bantering back-and-forth with friends, followers and random strangers.

In the age of the DVR1, VOD and online catch-up services2 more and more of us are watching our TV content time-shifted to suit ourselves. But if you want to be part of a conversation – if you want to experience the feedback as it happens – you need to be watching live.

The LOST finale is the obvious fictional TV reference3. Although it’s easily dismissed as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for fans of one particular show and thus something of an exception, it’s still worth noting that the LOST team had spent 6 years working up to this moment, carefully building their following and fanaticism to the point when it became not only “must-see TV” but “must-see-at-the-same-time-as-everyone-else TV”, the very definition of “event TV”.

Can we, as independent filmmakers and creators, produce the kind of content that is best experienced live and as it happens? Can we create “event” content?

The closest we have to it right now is probably The Production Office Live and Film Snobbery, shows that are available almost immediately after airing on the ‘net for anyone to view it at their leisure, but which the vast majority of the audience wants to see live so they can engage in the chat and discussion, whether on the website chat or via Twitter.  Even this, though, is factual content rather than fictional.

If they key to it is interaction and immediacy, is it possible – or even realistic – for us to create “event TV” in a fictional format? Or are we foolish to even aspire to such heights? Do the indie forms of distribution (VOD, digital download etc) inevitably mean it’s beyond our reach, or can we create content that will get people buzzing across platforms as they all watch our product together?

What do you think?

Some other posts you might like:

  1. be it TiVo, Sky+ or whatever the dominant service in your area is []
  2. like the BBC’s iPlayer []
  3. just check out the spike in Twitter traffic as recorded here by the NY Post []