Posted by Matt
The City Gates Dossier is a series of posts in which we open our files and show off cool stuff that happens on websites powered by City Gates. These are the things that make us proud to be serving your churches and ministries.
Today: International Arts Movement's use of live broadcasting.. IAM is an arts organization in NYC, but they host live events and share them with the world via their City Gates website. They've hosted live music performances (by CG favorite Welcome Wagon), poetry readings, lectures, and performance art. In this interview, IAM's Technology Director Kevin Gosa talks with us about how and why they choose to broadcast via the web.
What's the impetus behind live broadcasting on the web? Why do it?
KG: IAM is what our name describes, an International Arts Movement. We wanted to find a way to keep all those in the movement connected to the heart of IAM in NYC throughout the year and not just at our Encounter (conference) annually. We thought the best way was to take advantage of the global to local connection that live broadcasting can facilitate. Now, we are able to steward the conversation about art, faith, and humanity in a way that asks people to meet us in time (though not in space) to wrestle with deep questions and enjoy beautiful art.
What kind of events have you broadcast?
KG: We've produced live lectures, concerts, poetry readings, and performance art all via out live broadcasting system set up in our gallery/office space in New York.
You're putting on high-quality events: concerts, poetry readings, and other things you could charge admission for. Why are you giving them away for free online?
KG: Technically we could charge admission, yes. But there are two main reasons we do not. 1) Because the goal of our movement to is "create the world that ought to be" and we see these webcasts as a way to draw more creative catalysts into the discussion and into the IAM community, a way to bring you in, not keep you out. 2) Monetizing anything on the web that isn't a store item requires more administration that it's worth most of the time. Much like podcasts, we hope that we might see individuals and organizations become sponsors that share our vision and want to keep the broadcasts happening. We feel that is a more worthwhile allocation of capacity and resources than putting up barriers to content we feel is important for anyone to run across.
The audio and video quality has been outstanding! What's your tech setup like?
KG: We have two mounted HD cams in the space that are connected to a video broadcasting station that allows us to see both cameras, use logos and other slides, and push whatever shot we choose for that moment to the web. We are also able to record the event so that if we did want to create a premium of artifact of HD quality and make that available on the IAM store we can.
Have you had reactions from web viewers? Do you track web traffic?
KG: All reaction has been positive as far as we can tell. People are very excited to be a part of something that matters to them, and to others all over the world who are also watching. We often have viewers from 10 or 12 countries tune in. We also try to help people organize viewing parties so there is a physical and spatial element to event, which really boosts one's experience. Especially since those individuals are able to discuss what was just watched right after the broadcast has concluded.
Web traffic is usually quite good. In fact, when add live and time delayed viewership together, our broadcasts yield as much participation as our annual Encounter.
We've seen a lot of twitter traffic about your events. How has that response been?
KG: It is really fascinating to see people engage in a digital event and interact with that event via social networking. We hope that we will continue to be able to connect people in a virtual way that would then manifest in a some kind of physical participation with the movement. People have been really enthusiastic over twitter about engaging and encouraging us the presenters, asking questions and "friending" new people, but we've found that as good of an experience as these webcasts are, leaving people energized and inspired, they almost always stir people to find a local community where the ideas and values of International Arts Movement can be discussed and practiced to see a locality change because of the presence of a few individuals connected to the global movement via these web tools.
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