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So You Want to be A Digital Producer?

Or you may be asking, ‘what exactly is a Digital Producer?’  Good question and we have a fabulous digital producer to tell us the answer!

No television programme these days is without at the very least a dedicated web site and at best a fully interactive digital element that enhances the viewers’ experience of the television show.  The internet has changed television for ever. Television executives has spent many years, much research and money trying to understand and incorporate the internet revolution into programme-making. Mostly they are still scratching their heads.  But while that revolution carries on apace every TV producer must make a real effort to make the most of the on-line element of their show. Too many – especially those of us who haven’t grown up in the digital age – see our show’s accompanying website as an extra element they don’t need to know about, another job, an irritation. Let the ‘web people’ sort that bit out!

Indeed, let them. but ask what they are doing, offer ideas and make the ‘web people’ an integral part of the team – because they are, and they should be and if you’re not careful they’ll soon be taking over your job by programme-making on the web!

So all this week we hear from Digital Producer par excellence, Athena Witter.  I learnt a lot working with Athena on Sky One’s ‘Angela and Friends’. Her professionalism and dedication was a real asset on a brand new, fast-moving show. Despite our ignorance of what she and her team really did the interactive element of that show really worked with the studio element. She bought both parts of the interactive show together with style and grace!

Over to Athena:

What is your job title and what does your job entail?

“Senior Project Manager/producer – Digital – very long title ,but in short , I manage anything from project conception, the budget through to project development, execution and analysis of international digital advertising campaigns and projects.

I’m currently working with a international client that requires content distribution across 22 locales –  that’s covering 17 language versions across the globe.

In this role I’m responsible for client relations, managing  deliverables to time and on budget, the  editorial team and third party suppliers such as the design and build creative agencies , who deliver anything from banner creation, websites, dynamic competition tools,  video content to working with social media agencies who work across the PR, Marketing and advertising of the brand this also includes supporting our social media strategies across sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Kai Xian, social media bookmarking like Tumblr : The Goal ; increase audience brand awareness and  recognition from key industry bloggers, and PR titles like I-D magazine.

I also work with various industry contributors who work with us and produce guest editor blogs to inspiring vignettes  – Essentially I‘m responsible for 360 campaigns which see on air content merge with digital platforms.

Psst watch out for some cool stuff this year around the EMA’s. – http://www.swatchmtvplayground.com/gb

What do you think is the most important part of your job in terms of what happens on the TV screen? 

The most important part of my role is to ensure the digital aspect of any programming on-air translates well, and it engages the audience – digital should enhance not interfere with a show format. – producing it well is key. Digital can be very difficult to implement which also involves ensuring all parts of user participation is compliant, legal and has a process in place to ensure it works.

Failure is out of the question as your work is in the hands of the public and their participation, if something went wrong its all across the web for the world to see.

What is the most challenging, difficult or irritating part of your work?

The most challenging part of my role is trying to educate none digital savvy colleagues who don’t really understand what digital is all about. It can be difficult as digital is still growing and therefore there are also unknowns when creating something new and innovative.

The most irritating part of my roles at times can be how long the digital production can take  – the assumption is that it quick and easy, but technology is always developing which means your often have to learn and work with new systems and these are not always easy to use.”

Thanks, Athena – and that’s just the beginning! In our next post Athena explains how she got into the business and how production teams can benefit from making an effort to understand the digital team. And if you have any questions, please do leave them in the comments section. Sure Athena would be happy to answer them.

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