Dawning of 'green' TV

18th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - As global concern over climate warming mounts, a new generation of "green TV" programmes touching on environmental issues and green living is capturing prime-time viewing slots around the world.

CANNES, France, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - As global concern over climate warming mounts, a new generation of "green TV" programmes touching on environmental issues and green living is capturing prime-time viewing slots around the world.

The dawning of the "green" era and talk about how the TV, video and Internet industries can keep environmental issues in the public eye was at the forefront at this year's five-day broadcasting and audiovisual trade show, MIPTV/MILIA, one of the world's largest such events.

"Green TV is prime-time TV now. There has been a huge increase in green programmes and not just in documentaries," Jo Fox, head of media for Britain's government body The Environment Agency, told AFP.

After Al Gore's Oscar-winning "The Inconvenient Truth," British TV documentary "Climate Change: Britain Under Threat" drew 4.8 million viewers when it aired in January, Fox said.

But TV needs to move beyond documentaries to produce more entertaining shows that keep green issues in the public eye, a panel of experts meeting in this Riviera city said. Such programmes are already in the making.

The influential US Sundance Channel, co-founded by actor and director Robert Redford, this week launched a new three-hour weekly prime-time series on ecology and "green" living called "The Green" which it hopes will eventually travel beyond the United States.

"'The Green' series aims to take a lively approach to many of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today," Sundance's Lynne Kirby told AFP. "The danger is that green TV could feel like "good for you TV."

"We are trying to keep it as aspirational and solution-based as possible," Kirby added.

The need to make such programmes as entertaining as possible was also emphasized by experts attending the trade show.

"We need to think about formats that can say something about green issues without being preachy and without losing their entertainment value," said Johan Tuyaerts, who heads up Belgium's Sultan Sushi production company.

Tuyaerts has already launched a reality format entitled "High Tension" where a normal family have to live for a week using only half the electricity they normally consume. That becomes all the more challenging when they face hosting a fashion show and other events.

Fox believes these formats are the right way to reach a mass audience.

Green issues are also being worked into children's programmes, DIC Entertainment's Robby London said.

And aside from traditional TV, the Internet and broadband TV are also playing their part in airing environmental concerns.

A new broadband TV channel, green.tv, developed with the United Nations Environmental Programme and Greenpeace, is already gaining in popularity, founder Ade Thomas said here this week.

Thomas pointed out that green.tv's video climate-change podcast is among the most popular podcasts in its category on iTunes.

The channel's user-generated focus encourages users to view and even post environmental videos of their own, thus aiming to engage people to act, Thomas said.

Among the slew of green-themed programmes and documentaries on offer to TV and digital buyers in town for this week's trade show are the big budget "Earth From Above" documentary series on the world's most pressing environmental challenges, inspired by French photographer and hot-air balloonist Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Other new documentaries to hit TV screens in the coming months include "Ocean," a four-part multi-media project exploring the role of oceans in people's lives as well as a mini-fiction series, "Flood," about storms and high seas in the Thames that threaten to drown out London.

But whether environmental issues will remain high on the agenda over time is another question, said the BBC's Phil Dolling.

"I've seen fickleness in audiences a lot in the past," he cautioned. "Look what happened with AIDS. It's difficult to get prime-time programming on that now."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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