Proving just how ‘living on the ledge’ can deliver its just rewards, an enterprising web TV programme created by three Dubliners, filmed from a Temple Bar balcony and broadcast on YouTube, has been nominated for a prestigious Webby Award, the internet’s version of the Oscars.
Created by three Dublin flatmates, Pauline Freeman, Stephen O’Regan and Tom Millett, BalconyTV.com is a daily internet music show broadcasting live music and variety from a tiny balcony high above Dublin’s Dame Street.
Producer Stephen O’Regan told siliconrepublic.com that in November the show achieved over one million downloads and that in the next three weeks he anticipates two million video downloads.
A month ago, Balcony TV was told it had been shortlisted for the Webby Awards, which take place in June. Last night, O’Regan, Freeman and Millett got official word that Balcony TV has been nominated for the viral video category of the Webbys.
Running since 1994, the Webby Awards are the internet industry’s equivalent to the Oscars and include over 100 judged categories, as well as the accompanying People’s Choice Awards for which Balcony TV has also been nominated.
“We basically started off a year and a half ago. We had the idea one day to do a daily five-minute show and tried to get use of a balcony and set up a website www.balconytv.com, O’Regan recalled.
“It was easy to do at the time. YouTube.com was coming just coming to the fore and we decided to host a different band every day on the Balcony.”
Many of the acts featuring on Balcony TV are indie music acts but due to rising popularity the site has also attracted many mainstream acts, including Paddy Casey, Paul Brady, Dustin the Turkey and Eleanor McEvoy.
Balcony TV has also expanded to include a sister site in Hamburg and O’Regan said the plan is to eventually license the model out to other cities in Europe and North America.
“We’re very much keeping the whole thing together despite receiving no funding from anyone.”
He said the company has been working with web developers in London to develop the model for further export.
“There’s an appetite for a cool music outlet online and we’re looking at licensing it to like-minded companies to help development in cities like Toronto, New York, Moscow and Sydney.”
A year ago, Balcony TV was very nearly scuppered when YouTube mistakenly ordered it to remove 220 videos from its site saying the video (all originals) allegedly infringed copyright.
“Luckily enough, it got a lot of publicity at the time and we managed to get solicitors on side and got our back catalogue back. When it happened, it was very dramatic for us. It was basically a mistake on YouTube’s part. Viacom was engaged in a massive argument with YouTube, which had taken down 150 million videos and ours got caught up mistakenly.”
Going forward, O’Regan said the plan is to generate revenues from advertising and he is working on an arrangement to split ad revenues with artists who perform on Balcony TV.
“We have no funding and don’t have any advertising, but this will happen in due course. The potential is huge, absolutely huge, but our issue right now is finding the right company to help us develop it. We haven’t come across too many open-minded companies in Dublin, but we have been working with London website development companies to develop Balcony TV further.
“We would very much like to see it take off virally in New York,” O’Regan added and said that Balcony TV is booked out due to demand amongst bands to perform on the show.
“Videos made on Balcony TV have already appeared on TV in Germany. The technology we use is straightforward – a simple camera that is capable of TV-quality films.
While the viral video category which Balcony TV has been nominated in the Webby Awards will be judged by a panel, anyone who wants to give the guys a vote for the People’s Choice Awards can do so by going to www.Pv.webbyawards.com.
By John Kennedy
Pictured L-R: The three co-founders of Balcony TV, Pauline Freeman, Stephen O’Regan and Tom Millett