Low-cost Documentary Shorts Are a Revolutionary New Tool in U.S. Democratic Party Campaigns

The wave of upsets by outsider candidates in this year’s Democratic Party pre-selection battles is being fuelled by a new format: the online documentary short. These mini-documentaries tell gripping, emotional stories about the candidate’s struggles and values. The cost can be as low as $20,000: a fraction of the budget for a typical TV spot. …

“Death of a Nation” and the Rightwing Documentary Ecosystem

I have been tracking the rightwing documentary economy and its leading personalities for several years. I saw it as a lucrative sub-niche that had the potential to disrupt the largely “progressive” character of the American documentary community. Then, several of the key characters, notably Stephen K Bannon and David Bossie, emerged as significant players in …


Attend the SMASH Science Media Awards & Summit, Boston, September 25-27. Save $50!

In just two weeks, the Science Media Awards & Summit (in the) Hub (SMASH!) is slated to open. The session and speaker lineup promises a spectacular event. This three-day, biannual conference is co-produced by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and WGBH. SMASH convenes more than 250 scientists and media makers to celebrate exceptional science media, …

Trends in How Americans View, Measure and Value Programs. A Podcast with Byron Media’s Dr John Morse

Dr John Morse heads the consumer research firm Byron Media. He is a highly-respected industry veteran with a deep specialization in viewing behavior. He describes how, until recently, we relied on well-established processes and research firms like Nielsen, COMSCORE and BARB to accurately calculate how many viewers watch a particular program, and what type of …

THE CAT REPORT: A Weekly Wildlife Soap Opera Now Available from WildEarth, the Producers of safariLIVE

THE CAT REPORT is a weekly, half-hour, presenter-led program of 13 episodes per series. It follows the lives of lions, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards of the Maasai Mara and Kruger National Park. The Beasts of the Bush have names and personalities. Their everyday, intimate encounters draw audiences into close and lasting relationships with each of them. Click …

Anthony Bourdain: A leader in online engagement across the documentary genre. Latest research

Anthony Bourdain measured up as #2 in the entire online video universe. He was eclipsed only by the BBC’s massive Planet Earth / Blue Planet franchise. That’s the key finding from Parrot Analytics‘ latest measure of global online engagement in documentary programs and series. Parrot is a cutting-edge research firm that sweeps up millions and …

Facebook Unscripted Strategy: From “Video First” to “Video Fumble”

Facebook is fumbling its video strategy. I have argued here that unlike traditional media players like Disney and Discovery, Facebook enjoys the financial scale and margins to throw endless buckets of mud against the wall of its video / social media strategy to see what sticks. That’s despite the hammering that Facebook’s reputation and enterprise value …

How to Measure and Value Audiences for Unscripted Programs. A Podcast with Parrot Analytics’ Courtney Williams

Parrot Analytics is an industry leader in tracking audience demand for television content in the new age of online video. Until recently, our industry relied on a well-established solution to rate and value the audience for a specific program or channel. Nielsen, BARB and others record program viewing decisions in a panel of homes. The panelists …