The Flemish public broadcast OP12 will kick off its interactive, cross-media project ‘Carte Blanche’ in January. The initiative encourages youngsters to experiment with television and explore links between television and social media
After the launch in September 2013, 6 youngsters will experiment with the possibilities of television. They‘ll get support from some experienced television producers. "The idea is to empower young people to reinvent television in their own way", says Kathy Lindekens, youth advisor the public broadcast. "We want to involve young people in making television, which is also an objective in the agreement between the VRT and the Flemish Government."
The project’s name – ‘Carte Blanche’ – is no coincidence. Bjorn Dhaenens, editor for the project, explains: "For 12 weeks, the 6 young participants will have complete freedom to experiment with television. This should result in to some concrete television programs, but it goes far beyond that. For each episode, we will be use a social platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to reach an as wide audience as possible and to encourage audience interaction. The contribution of all young people will be important."
Some have voiced reservations that the initiative’s emphasis on social media comes too late in the social media game. Social media has been a permanent fixture in the lives of young people for years. It seems as if the public broadcast company is rather late with its cross-media television experiment.
Nonetheless, this is not the first time public broadcasters have reached out to young people. In 2008, the show ‘De Overname’ (the Takeover) challenged 25 young people to make their own radio and television programs for public networks. Several of the young people who participated in that program went on to careers in the media.