Participant Media + TakePart: People's Insights Vol. 2 Issue 8


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This week, we distill insights around the Participant Media model of using powerful stories and social advocacy platform TakePart to inspire and energize people to take social action.

100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects on social data, crowdsourcing, storytelling and citizenship on the MSLGROUP Insights Network.

Every week, we pick up one project and do a deep dive into conversations around it -- on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself but also on the broader social web -- to distill insights and foresights. We share these insights and foresights with you on our People’s Insights blog and compile the best insights from the network and the blog in the iPad-friendly People’s Lab Quarterly Magazine, as a showcase of our capabilities.

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Participant Media + TakePart: People's Insights Vol. 2 Issue 8

  1. 1. crowdsourcing | storytelling | citizenship | social dataPeople’s Insights Volume 2, Issue 8Participant Media +TakePart
  2. 2. People’s Insights100+ thinkers and planners within MSL- In 2013, we continue to track inspiringGROUP share and discuss inspiring proj- projects at the intersection of social data,ects on social data, crowdsourcing, story- crowdsourcing and storytelling, with a fo-telling and citizenship on the MSLGROUP cus on projects that are shaping the FutureInsights Network. Every week, we pick up of project and curate the conversations Do subscribe to receive our weekly insightsaround it — on the MSLGROUP Insights reports, quarterly magazines, and annualNetwork itself but also on the broader reports, and do share your tips and com-social web — into a weekly insights report. ments with us at @PeoplesLab on Twitter.Every quarter, we compile these insights,along with original research and insightsfrom the MSLGROUP global network, intothe People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine.We have synthesized the insights from ouryear-long endeavor throughout 2012 toprovide foresights for business leaders andchangemakers — in the ten-part People’sInsights Annual Report titled Now & Next:Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engage-ment. People’s Insights People’s Insights People’s Insights weekly report quarterly magazines Annual Report Volume 2, Issue 8, Future of Participant Media + January - March, 2013 Citizenship TakePart
  3. 3. What is Participant Media?Founded by former eBay president Jeff Skoll, “When you hear a story, or when you connect withParticipant Media is a production house that something, you’re perspective can really change.uses powerful stories to inspire and energize You’re allowed to see the world through their eyes,people to take social action. The company has and that really builds empathy and understandingproduced documentaries and films including which is critical in confronting a lot of the issues weAn Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., A Place at the see in the world today.”Table and Waiting for Superman which tacklemeaningful causes including global warming, Participant Media typically partners with non-quality of food and state of education in the profit organizations that share the same passionU.S.After attracting viewers, Participant Media for each film’s cause. These organizationsmobilizes them to act through social action support the promotion efforts of the film, andcampaigns, which live on the studio’s digital Participant Media encourages viewers to supportplatform TakePart. the organizations’ blogger Bekah Wright noted: Huffington Post blogger Dr. Lloyd Sederer noted:“A film can have the power to spur conversation “Each Participant film is accompanied by a socialand spark an audience’s empathy, passion, and action campaign to propagate the film’s messagecuriosity. For Los Angeles-based Participant by enabling viewers to become involved. EachMedia, the visual storytelling power of movies is an film has a small group of selected social sectorinvaluable tool to create meaningful impact… organizations whose values and activities resonate with the film and who themselves are making“Continuously gaining momentum, Participant change happen. Courage needs fellow travelers,focuses on three elements for each of its film and Participant Media picks theirs carefully.”projects: quality, well-told stories, commercialpotential, and social relevance.” Fast Co.CREATE’s Ari Karpel noted: “Participant’s social action campaigns begin months in advance of a movie’s release, with screenings for people who are the experts. That helps to build word-of-mouth within the industries affected; often those groups will bring their stakeholders to theaters on opening night and Participant will sponsor conversations and invite the media.” TakePart makes it easy for viewers and first time activists to get involved, by offering a ladder of actions – from simple online pledges to offline actions such as volunteering or contacting local authorities. These social advocacy actions are curated and promoted on TakePart.Source: As is mentioned on the Race2BHuman blog:Film critic Joseph Jon Lanthier pointed out: “TakePart not only moves these discussions forward through the social activism propagated by“Unique to Participant’s model is its devotion to the films they promote, but also provides directioncontent that entertains first and compels social on what you can do for almost any aspect of yourchange second, a prioritization that speaks less life to live healthier, more aware, and more a part ofto the commercial nature of the company than to positive change in our country.”the order in which audiences are inspired to getinvolved.”Michael Reynolds, Executive Director of theCenter for Digital Storytelling in Canada, explainswhy storytelling is an effective tool in inspiringaction: 3
  4. 4. TakePart – social advocacyplatformTakePart provides a stream of original Most blog posts are accompanied with a “Takecontent – blog posts and videos – on issues Action” button:aroundenvironment and wildlife, health and “Just think: Every day, millions of people readfood, culture and social justice. The platform also stories around the web that make them wishcurates content around the same topics. they could do something about the issue they just learned about. That’s where the TakePart Take Action button comes in. It matches inspiring content to relevant and credible actions you can take to make a difference. We’ve partnered with the leading organizations across dozens of fields to deliver trustworthy actions intended for real good.” As an example, here are the actions linked to a blog post on captivity and mistreatment of marine wildlife – also the subject of the Participant Media production The Cove:Source: takepart.comSource: takepart.comTakePart pledges are structurally similar to crowdfunding campaigns, displaying amount of time left toraise support and progress made towards the goal. The “Take Action” section of the website provides anoverview of all ongoing pledges and petition. Volume 2, Issue 8, Future of Participant Media + January - March, 2013 Citizenship TakePart
  5. 5. Source: interesting aspect of the TakePart platform is the Impact Dashboard, which lets people keeptrack of their actions:“The Impact Dashboard is where you can trackthe progress of all the actions you take, discovernew actions, and find recent news and informationrelated to important causes.” Source: The Action Center for A Place at the Table shows the faces and stories of people who have benefitted from food assistance, mobilizes people to sign a petition, call their local congressman and offers resources for people in need of help. People can also stay up to date via email newsletter and SMS.Source: dashboard.takepart.comTakePart – action centersTakePart also creates a microsite or “actioncenter” for each film it promotes. For instance,the Action Center for The Cove providesbackground around the issue and lists the stepspeople can take to contribute to a solution. 5
  6. 6. Source: TakePart campaigns use elementsof transmedia storytelling to create a moreinteractive and social experience.’sKristina Duda describes the action center for thefilm Contagion:“If you visit Take Part’s website, you can find awealth of information about pandemics. Youwill see interactive maps about where diseaseoutbreaks are occurring in the world. You cantake a quiz to discover how much you know aboutpandemic diseases. You can learn about “VirusHunters” - the people who track the viruses thathave the potential to develop into pandemics andwork tirelessly to prevent that from happening. You Source: deadline.comcan even track Patient X through Facebook anddiscover a whole new meaning to the term “going Participant Media also recently announced theviral.” upcoming launch of Pivot – a TV channel aimed at millennials – in August 2013.Next steps - Reaching out to AdAge’s Maureen Maurrison noted:millennials “Media companies, too, are catering to millennials.In October 2012, Participant Media launched Participant Media, the company behind films likeYouTube channel TakePartTV to expand its “Lincoln” and “The Help,” is launching a cablesocial reach. The channel features original video network targeting the demographic this summercontent and shows such as daily news show Brain positioned as a vehicle for content that inspiresFood Daily, and American Savage featuring Dan social change. Participant believes the generationSavage (founder of It Gets Better). has the strong desire and capacity to help change the world.” Volume 2, Issue 8, Future of Participant Media + January - March, 2013 Citizenship TakePart
  7. 7. Not only does the company need to prove its impact on driving real change, it also needs to prove its model is financially sustainable. As Forbes’ Kerry Dolan noted: “The financial success of the Participant Network is far from guaranteed, particularly given the difficulties that Oprah Winfrey has had with OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Skoll has deep pockets, though, and is passionate about usingSource: What is Pivot? media to influence change.”While some thinkers are skeptical about After a conversation with Participant Media CEOParticipant Media’s foray into entertainment Jim Berk, NY Times journalist Michael Cieplyplatforms, others believe that disruptive video noted:will be a game-changer for brands in 2013. “In measuring its success, Participant’s David Lieberman wrote: resorts to an unusual standard: On losers, the company assesses whether Mr. Skoll could have“The mission is admirable. But after seeing Current exerted more impact simply by spending his moneyTV’s struggles, I wonder whether the socially philanthropically.”conscious film and TV production company canattract many young YouTube viewers to a channelthat focuses on weighty subjects includingthe elections, the environment, sexism andhomelessness.”Forbes contributor Kare Anderson speculated onopportunities for brands to partner with TakePartTV:“Your organization might co-sponsor acrowdsourcing campaign to spur action relatedto the movie’s message, or crowdfunding ofrelated project. Alternatively it could be co-hostingpremieres, or your products as prizes for those withproof of advance ticket purchase to bring a group oftheir friends to the movie, the first week it is out. Orco-host a part of the TakePart TV YouTube channelfor people to post their short videos of what theymost liked about the movie and the action they willtake as a consequence of seeing it.”Measuring successParticipant Media, like othersocial goodcampaigns, faces a challenge when it comes tomeasuring success.Participant Media’s EVP of social action andadvocacy Chad Boettcher commented:“We’re moving more towards measuring outcomes.Did the film actually move towards impact? Oneof the keywords we’re looking at now is ‘shift.’ Whatshifted from before the film to after? And canwe maintain that shift? It’s great if we can makechange in the short term, but how do we sustainit?” 7
  8. 8. People’s Lab:Crowdsourcing Innovation & InsightsPeople’s Lab is MSLGROUP’s proprietary comment on other people’s content andcrowdsourcing platform and approach that collaborate to find innovative solutions.helps organizations tap into people’s insights forinnovation, storytelling and change. The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach forms the core of our distinctiveThe People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform insights and foresight approach, which consistshelps organizations build and nurture public of four elements: organic conversation analysis,or private, web or mobile, hosted or white MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-label communities around four pre-configured specific insights communities, and ethnographicapplication areas: Expertise Request Network, deep dives into these communities. The People’sInnovation Challenge Network, Research & Insights Quarterly Magazines showcase ourInsights Network and Contest & Activation capability in crowdsourcing and analyzingNetwork. Our community and gaming features insights from conversations and communities.encourage people to share rich content, vote/ Learn more about us at: |
  9. 9. For People’s Lab solutions,