This is not a news story; it’s a story with a news peg. On Thursday, GoPro announced that it had partnered with the stick-wielding media titans at Roku to create a streaming channel for brand content. The announcement made a few headlines and a lot of sense. So much of the Internet’s best content is being filmed on GoPro’s weather- and water- and idiot-proof cameras that the NorCal start up has created its own genre of first person action clips. There is – to put it mildly – enough GoPro content to justify a content stream.
And there’s more than enough to justify an actual TV channel, which feels like the next logical leap.
Sure, GoPro sitcoms might be a lens too far, but TV is losing its structure anyway. Look at Adult Swim, it’s an incredibly popular hodgepodge of half-baked ideas and fully-baked madness. Programs are irregular in length and conceit. On the other side of de-structured TV spectrum is CSPAN, which has irregular programming that is less compelling that drying paint, but still serves as proof of concept that television need not be chopped into specifically sized bits.
If you take all of the column inches that have been devoted to discussing how the new media is changing the old media, you could create a papier mache moon. But that change hasn’t always been for the better. In a bid to capture millennial eyes (a great name for a band by the way), programmers have all-too-often reached for abbreviated, flashy content. TV has cribbed from other mediums, notably Vine and YouTube, without stealing the better content. A GoPro station would give an enterprising executive a way to get great content onto the air. And that’s better –as far as most viewers are concerned - than a great concept.
A guy jumping off a cliff with a camera on his head may be low concept, but it isn’t lowbrow. It’s just fun. There’s nothing wrong with fun.
And here’s why we’re invested in this. So much energy (read: money) has been spent trying to make TV engaging. It’s a big ask to regularly program joy, but there’s plenty of great stuff out there. Just put it on the screen and let it go. We’d wager most viewers prefer the compelling to the coherent. We do.
There will always be shows, GoPro simply has the opportunity to supply the ultimate counterprogramming.