Sunday, 21 December 2008

Second Life TV: coming to a library near you?

Last night at a party I met StarrSonic in first life. StarrSonic is the Executive Producer of SLCN: Second Life Cable Network. As the name says, this is cable TV produced in second life and distributed via second life and the web.

"SLCN is a professional video network designed to expand the in-world audience as well as deliver virtual entertainment to the real-world. All the video clips found on [their] website are archives of live events as they happened in Second Life... Typically, the live video is seen on screens at various locations in Second Life as well as streamed to [the SLCN] website... SLCN offers special interest channels for community, lifestyle in addition to sports. If you would like to add the SLCN stream to your land please see Get SLCN. SLCN.TV programs are also available as video podcasts. See the SLNC Podcast page to subscribe with iTunes or other RSS manager software." In Second Life the SLCN Offices are located at Northpoint (125, 185, 33).

If you have not come across Second Life TV, you can get an idea of what a programme looks like by checking out the Cybergrrl interview with IBM. The interview takes place in IBMs new Second Life Green Data Centre.

While digital cameras, post production processing, and distribution have revolutionised the film and television industries, Second Life TV has the potential to take things one step further. For example, Second Life TV is significantly cheaper to produce. See the following table which I sourced from StarrSonic's blog.

Currently the Second Life 'production values' are not as good as mainstream TV, however developments in gaming interfaces and film animation, together with ever increasing broadband, may see this gap reduce over time.

Second Life TV therefore has the potential to democratise and open television production. So this is an area worth keeping an eye on. As mainstream TV is very heavily regulated, it will also be interesting to see how issues such as media cross ownership, censorship, and copyright are addressed in Second Life TV.

For school, public, academic (and who knows may be even business) libraries there may be an opportunity to work with clients to create second life TV content and then wrap this content into the libraries existing Web 2.0 online offerings. 14 years ago VICNET was about empowering community groups by hosting static web content. Does Second Life TV give libraries a role in helping patrons build and present virtual multimedia content? Could libraries then allow clients to embed this TV content into other online resources such as online local history collections, group assignments, or school projects? Is there a synergy between potential content building in public and school libraries and community based web TV? I suspect anything is possible, it just needs imagination.

So congratulations to SLCN: Second Life Cable Network for building and developing what looks like an interesting and sustainable business model for web broadcasting.

Oh, and by the way, it was great to see the role women are playing in Second Life TV. If you want to see more on my views about the role of women in IT go to Is there enough Girrrl Power in Library IT.

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