I doubt that the cancellation of Who Do You Think You Are? is the end of genealogy television. This show, Henry Gates’ Faces of America and even History Dectectives show there is an interest in digging up history. Add that to the new opportunities for distributing programming and I thinks we could soon see even more family history programming.
Right now both Netflix and Amazon are building production components to promote independent programming. Yes, they are doing this to get around all the stupid restrictions the “old media” is forcing on them. It’s similar to what’s happening in the book world. Other enterprising souls have taken advantage of today’s online opportunities to build their own programming networks. One very good example is TWiT.TV. TWiT – This Week in Tech – is an online network of programs about consumer tech. Built out of the dust that was once the TechTV network, this is an amazing example of programming on a shoestring. There a number of shows, each producing weekly episodes. Programming can be viewed online, on your portable device (either via app or as a podcast) or on your tv using a Roku box (or a web-enabled tv). My tech hero, Leo Laporte, is one of the driving forces behind it.
Like Thomas MacEntee’s GeneaBloggers Radio, these programs are more personal and discuss people and topics closer to the viewers’ interests. It’s quite common to watch a video interview conducted using Skype or get tips – often very good tips – that were sent in from the audience. Because they are “netcasts” the live shows can include audience participation and, by using the same mobile technology most of us already carry around with us, they can even report from live events. With Pat, Thomas, Lisa, Megan and others, we already have several experienced broadcasters. It shouldn’t take that much for someone like Ancestry.com to build an online network that provides a central home for family history programming. It would give Ancestry.com a public venue to generate more interest in genealogy – and their products. It would inspire even more programming and help new broadcasters get started. And, it would give all of us even more opportunities to learn, share and spotlight the joys of genealogy.
I don’t know that Ancestry.com will be the company that builds this new media empire, but I do think it will happen. I just hope it starts soon. Leo, got any ideas?