MMG Arts & Sciences Initiative
In September 2012, WNET and the Major Market Group (MMG) stations unveiled an Arts and Culture Content Management Sharing System that facilitates sharing of video and Web content produced by the participating MMG stations and some non-MMG stations, resulting in a rich cultural exchange. In September 2014, WNET launched an expansion of the service to include a new content strand focused on technology, science and innovation as well as a fully-packaged, nationally-branded weekly program titled SciTech Now, hosted by PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan.
This innovative system allows for great versatility in that participating stations are able to use all or part of the material offered on the air and online, customizing each component to serve their own community's needs, or using the material intact. Each station can contribute whatever it wants and can download and broadcast what it pleases.
The initiative comprises of two platform components:
Broadcast: A broadcast platform: stations contribute their segments to a library, which is curated by WNET. Then, each week, WNET distributes a "broadcast feed" of a half-hour show using the segments from the library. The feed includes a line-up, script, video segments, a credit roll, and music and graphics package, sent three weeks prior to air, so stations will have time to edit their own shows. The line-up of proposed stories and scripts will comprise a half-hour program. Stations can have local anchors read the provided script and build the show as is or modify the show line-up, adding original content and local talent so that each market's show is distinctive. Alternatively, stations can insert any of the provided segments into their existing local shows rather than build an entire new show.
For the MMG Arts Initiative, stories cover myriad aspects of the performing and visual arts and feature interviews with various artists, writers, composers and performers. Stories are also geographically diverse and artistically broad, allowing local arts and culture institutions and local funders to get their stories out to a national audience.
In addition to all these deliverables, members of the MMG Tech Initiative also receive a fully-produced half hour show with anchor Hari Sreenivasan, but still have the flexibility to localize the program using the piecemeal elements provided in the weekly feeds. SciTech Now is delivered at least 42 times per season as a fully-produced, closed captioned, half-hour show.
Online: WNET maintains a Web-based portal for Member Stations to access video content, feeds and interactive features. The Web Portal contains templates and graphic assets that Member Stations may use to create their own, localized sites. Currently, WNET plans to roll-out additional features to the portal, including chat rooms and message boards, where stations can pose questions to other members and collaborate in this space.
For the Tech Initiative, WNET also maintains a dedicated website (www.scitechnow.org) that features full episodes, segments, blog posts, and other exclusive web content. The website is also designed to enable stations to create their own local station page within the site, and brand that with their own content, logos and local ‘donate’ buttons. In addition, WNET maintains several social media accounts promoting SciTech Now and its content, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram.
MMG ARTS EXAMPLES
To see examples of how the participating stations have utilized this service, please check out some of our member station’s programs:
- WPBT’s Art Loft
- KETC’s Arts America
- NMPBS’s ¡Colores!
- KCPT’s Arts Upload
MMG TECH/SCITECH NOW
You can view full episodes of SciTech Now along with individual segments at: www.scitechnow.org
EXPECTATIONS FOR PARTICIPATING STATIONS
As a part of the initiative, stations who participate contribute short segments to the library. For the Arts and Culture Initiative, for example, the segments feature all forms of performing and visual arts, as well as interviews with all kinds of artists, writers, composers, performers, etc. The segments must be cleared for national broadcast and web streaming, preferably in perpetuity. Stations are responsible for obtaining their own clearances. They also must be sent to WNET without any pre-existing text or graphics, so that as stations composite their own shows, they can use either the graphics package that has been provided by WNET or their own graphics.
Segments are submitted to the MMG Initiative library over a high-speed file transfer application called Aspera. Along with the high-res media files, stations also submit a metadata form which provides the relevant production credits, lower thirds cues, and segment descriptions that are then distributed to all the participating stations.
TERMS AND COST
The MMG Initiatives seasons run from September-August. Stations may join at any point during the year, and WNET will pro-rate the membership fee, and access to the content will begin at the mutually- agreed upon start date. Season Five of the MMG Arts Initiative and Season Three of the MMG Tech Initiative will begin on September 1st, 2016. The full year costs for the Initiatives this past year were as follows:
- Arts only: $14,000
- Tech only: $15,000
- Arts and Tech bundle: $26,000