27 September 2010

Next Avenue: Baby Boomers & PBS

Something’s simmering in the Twin Cities:

Public Broadcasters to Launch 'Next Avenue' Multimedia Initiative to Super-Serve and Engage Baby Boomers
imageNext Avenue, a new, national public television initiative that will offer comprehensive, multiplatform content designed to super-serve and engage baby boomers, help them navigate a new life stage and unleash their full potential…

So far, so good. 

But there’s more:

Adult Sesame Street to teach how to live
imagePBS … is collaborating on an adult Sesame Street, a new series that will teach baby boomers how to live. Called Next Avenue, the series — and corresponding web site — aims to help teach baby boomers how to handle their lives, now that they have reached middle age, just as the pre-school TV show teaches children their A-B-Cs.

Isn’t it a tad patronizing to assume that Baby Boomers need to be taught how to live and handle their lives?  Just reading that makes me itchy and queasy.

image There is a very intelligent series coming out of Twin Cities Public Television: Life Part 2.  I’ve blogged about it, and often use video chunks in my presentations. But I don’t think of Robert Lipsyte as Buffalo Bob hosting an adult Howdy Doody Show.

image Maybe this silly positioning will initially attract underwriters and PBS affiliates – but branding the project as a middle-aged pre-school when promoting it to the public…

Will they be resurrecting Mr. Do-Bee?

image One piece of advice: I wouldn’t get all agog over the concept of multiplatform content by making this project a truly interactive venture. Of course, have a web site (PBS usually produces good ones). Mobile apps? Fine. However, don’t be sidetracked.  Concentrate money and energy where the eyeballs are

Some ethical questions are considered in this New York Times piece:

Public TV Project Aims to Make Baby Boomers Its Own