When the cooperative local ethnic television station ICI launched last fall, its website wasn’t a primary consideration. I asked its manager about posting its original programming online, but he was more concerned about getting the transmitter up and getting that programming on the air first.
Four months later, ICI has started making its programs available online in the simplest and most effective manor: By posting them to YouTube. Over the past two weeks, 171 videos have been posted, representing almost all of its local original programming, which makes up almost all of its schedule (it has only a couple of non-original programs, the Portuguese soap opera Bem-Vindos a Beirais, the dated OMNI cooking show South Asian Veggie Table, and the religious show Il est écrit).
The episodes are posted in their entirety, and for the moment anyway are without any restrictions or (additional) ads.
Being a television station that produces its own programming (or, more accurately, works with producers who create programming and sell their own ads for it) means there’s a lot more freedom to get video out without being stuck with geoblocking or custom video platforms.
Posting to YouTube is easy, offloads bandwidth costs, and is versatile, employing all of YouTube’s features from automatic captions to website embedding.
The videos show that, for the most part, ICI is doing what it promised. Many of its shows have left the confines of the green-screen studio and gone out into the field. Those that are shot in studio have unrealistic virtual sets where even the tables aren’t real, but they’re still better than anything we saw on CJNT.
Most of the shows still consist of dry interviews that demonstrate how little experience many of the people involved, particularly in front of the camera, have with television. But they’re improving. The shows are becoming more watchable as each week goes by.
The big question will be how long they can keep this up.