Creating More using Public Content @ Picnic

6 januari 2010

And so PICNIC begins! Knowledgeland will report to you with live blogs. Today we will kick off with the session Creating More using Public Content, centred around the largest Dutch digitization project Images For the Future which started early July 2007.

Vincent Everts (PC-Zapper) hosts the session. He also live twitters the event to his network. So also take al look at Main question. What to do with public content and their business models? It’s all about running after money, content and rights. Hans Westerhof, who wrote the business plan for Images for the Future and got (almost half the money from a similar project of the Library of Congress) a huge amount of subsidy. Vincent characterizes Hans as: first everybodies enemy, now everybodies friend.

Hans Westerhof (Institute for Image and Sound) explains the basics of the project Images for the Future. The necessity to act now was partly the decaying of the collection. In 2005 the Ministry of education brought the partners together. Funding comes from the Fund of Economic Structure. To convince the economics of the Netherlands, he had to prove that by using this material the general public, which is the Dutch audience, would profit more than it costs. Westerhof got the following deal: costs are 173 million Euro. Images for the Future gets 154 million Euro. And: 19 million has to be earned. This means, services have to generate a serious amount of money.

Right now their is a start with digitizing the material itself. He gives an overlook of how things will look like in the near future. Public digital daily ingestion of content from all public broadcasters, analogue content which will be digitizes, and a lot of possible outlets for all content.

In the Medialounge of the Institute of Sound and Image the material which has already been digitized, is now available. Video clips are available in Teleblik, a scholary service. Images for the future will have an new service for education. Therefore, there are agreements on the use of the content with copy right owners. It is not upscaled now, but will be.

Hans puts forward that if we want to earn money, we can only do this when the copy righters allows this. This is a win win situation. There is content analogue now closed up in volts. For now, they work with a system only for professionals. What happens if you unlock this?

A recent experiment is the branded channel on YouTube Sound and Image created with a lot of old Polygoon material. This is material they have never thought to be popular, but what happened? Making this material avalaible shows that there are already 10.000 of downloads of the Beatles clips. You have to combine the world of the public, the richness of the archives , the world of the right owners and use the potential of services. Release the value. Not fight each other, but work together.

See for an update on activities and research and snippets of the collection.

Peter Kaufman (Intelligent Television) addresses 5 developments:

  1. We are all producers of screen based media. Everything has it’s own market.
  2. We are all involved in peer production.
  3. The cult of the amateur is a great benefit to us all.
  4. 20% of all US internet users watch or download a video per day. There is a growing demand on video content in education. Education and music are the most popular themes. Take a look at new launched platform
  5. This is a great moment to work with archives. In Culpeper, Virginia, the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center will open and be full running in 2009. Access will be made possible to all cultural heritage. On the brand new campus, their are 45 acres created to house flim, video, audio in 124 vaults.

What has to be done? Publishers and media professionals of the last decade were right. Collaborative working is the key. Soviet constructivists (like Dziga Vertov) in the 1920’s were agnostic in what media could be. They already talked about open content. This is what the Center aims at: to establish a creative laboratory, collaborting with different partners: educators, commercial and public organizations etc. It runs now for only 4 weeks altogether. They all work to create more av-material for education. Nice consideration: The Library of Congress project is co-funded by the Hewlett Packerd foundation for 250 million Dollar.

See also Peter Kaufman’s article about the changing role of archives:

Paul Gerhardt (BBC Creative Archive). Gerhardt shows us some examples about how public content is used. It illustrates BBC vision on public content. As an experiment they gave an artist direct access to the BBC Archive, he could do whatever he wanted. He put together material from his home town, White Chappel, and made a documentary which he showed at the local library. In the archive he found a film from the 1970’s which starred 4 boys. In the documentary he interviewed the boys, now adult men. This is a work which addresess the debate and discussion on the nature of making film. How can we have a say in how we are filmed? It’s about exploring identity.
This brings Gerhardt to the core of what the BBC is trying to do. How can content play a role in communication? The written word is central. Gerhardt takes us along the history of media playing a role in communicating thoughts and ideas. According to Gerhardt, moving images had to develop beyond the traditional 1-1 and one to many communications. Issues which have to be addressed are:

  • access
  • technology
  • copyright

How to go beyond this? This question brings him to the next. How to access the archives? BBC’s New Charter was the beginning of a new direction of the BBC, one which aimed to be a more open BBC. Funding through license fee. How to convince a 10 year old to pay for the fee?
The BBC pilot Creative Archive was based on the Creative Archive License. Members who pay for the fee, would be able to download, modify, create and share in a non commercial environment. 500.000 downloads, 100.000 registered users. Rights holders and commercial parties were eventually very interested in the model.

Ambition is to combine public value and commercial value, a business model that allows people to upload their own content and make something new of it. Low res material will be for free, for high res you have te pay. A lot of companies are interested and partner in the project. For example: major commercial archive, MLA considers it as a window for their own business. Ambition is not be competitors .. but to create a new competitive sector with a single interface for users to use the content. According to Paul, eventually most fear of rights owners will evaporate once they see that it has a social and public function.


Brian Gruber (Fora TV). Parallel to the detoriation of collections, Gruber signals a degradation of public discourse in the US. Perhaps there is a way to bring a new forum on an global scale which will facilitate public discourse? Gruber had the idea to take the best forums in the world and create Here you can have access to all possible public forums, university events, book clubs etc. Everything which is available on this, Fora TV wants. He signed contracts with venues providing this content. The content is copyright protected. What is in there for the content venues?

  • It can bring your content to a much larger audience.
  • All content is free to use. But you can distribute your business and you have a rather small but very solid community of users.

In some cases you don’t want to be on YouTube but you do want to be in a more trustworthy environment. The issue is to come create an online community for those who have been under served until now.
What can you do on Fora TV? It aggregates all top public forums in the US and international countries and major cities. 7/8 programmes per day. Anyone can upload content en make their own channels. Whatever issue (science, education, parenting etc.) can be seen. Watch a clip and watch the whole programme. Fora TV chapters all content, you can send it to 1000 people, you can search on words and then the clips will play that selection. Deep information on speakers (bios etc.) is available, you can add links.

Long term idea according to Gruber: video is the beginning of the conversation. Download the content to whatever you want (eg Playstation). Virally distribute widgets to your blogs etc. Premise is simpel: unlock the value of the content by a network of physical people.

Background on the session

In the project Images for the Future over 137.000 hours of video, 22.510 hours of film, 123.900 hours of audio and 2.9 million photos will be digitized in the next seven years. Most content is copyright protected, but parts of the collection are being offered under open licenses. Third-party developers can use this content to create their own services. What lessons can be drawn from other projects and how can external developers be encouraged to create using this public content? Three excellent international speakers will share their vision about one of the greatest challenges in the next years for archives, museums, libraries and broadcasters: how to develop new services and stimulate use of their digitized collections. Peter Kaufman (Intelligent Television) advises the Library of Congress about digitization, Paul Gerhardt was director of the BBC Creative Archive and Brian Gruber has a solid streaming business model with Hans Westerhof (Sound and Vision) will present the project Images for the Future. The session will end with a panel discussion lead by moderator Vincent Everts.

Deze tekst heeft een Creative Commons Naamsvermelding-licentie (CC BY) en is gekopieerd van de Kennisland-website. Ga voor de volledige versie met afbeeldingen, streamers en noten naar

This text has a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) and has been copied from the Kennisland website. For a full version with images, streamers and notes go to