Instead of television: Network Awesome curates YouTube videos
According to the latest media usage report conducted by the Nielsen market research institute (New York), the number of US households that have neither a cable television contract nor a terrestrial antenna (over-the-air TV) rose in 2013 to 5 million. These households belong to the so-called “Zero TV” group of “cord cutters”, i.e., TV viewers who are no longer willing to pay for classic television services. They instead use paid services such as Netflix, Hulu or iTunes, or increasingly also access free content on the internet. Streaming internet videos offers an interesting alternative particularly for film nerds – especially if they don’t have to select each video themselves.
This service is now provided by the internet platform Network Awesome. Network Awesome offers six new programmes every day, compiled exclusively from videos on YouTube. What’s special is that these programmes are curated, each of them tailored to specific topics, genres or areas of interest. They are based on personal recommendations made by an international team: people who handpick and compile suitable and interesting items from the world’s largest film archive. Amongst these curators are experts, fans and nerds who boast a great stock of knowledge but widely varying backgrounds – from museum curators to binmen, according to the platform. Just as interesting and informative are the accompanying texts in the platform’s magazine.
Some topics are covered in just one day’s programming, while others extend over a whole weekend: for example, the programmes “Women of Punk” and “The Films of Jean-Luc Godard”. The selection on offer runs the gamut from the utterly bizarre and outlandish to videos relevant to the history of film and television. A new grab bag every day! Currently, for example, viewers will find couched between “The Incredible Hulk” and the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest a 37-hour special on John Cage.
All of the daily programming subsequently becomes part of Network Awesome’s extensive archive, searchable by keyword – an incredible treasure trove for film buffs! As an extra bonus, each programme is introduced by a GIF animation (see picture above) created by Isaac Hicks and Monty Cantsin, all of which are also on view on Tumblr.
Network Awesome was founded in 2011 by the American electronic music producer Jason Forrest (aka DJ Donna Summer) and the Canadian programmer Greg Sadetsky. Both live and work in Berlin. The team also includes filmmaker Martin Sulzer and, as host of the Network Awesome Show, the music editor and DJ David Strauss. Some of the programmes, in particular music shows, are produced by Network Awesome itself. The network plans to produce more of its own programmes in the future.
As a model for their concept, the makers of Network Awesome cite the legendary Z Channel in Los Angeles – one of the first pay TV services in the USA (1974-1989) – which treated cinephiles to a peculiar mix of retro black-and-white television, B movies and independent art films that had been passed over by Hollywood.
See also video links for this report in the section Faits Divers.