Culture is future » Innovation and digital

12.03.2012

Audiovisual heritage and digital generations - Interview of Mathieu Gallet, President of INA

How do you pass on the audiovisual heritage to the generations of the digital age?

It is a real challenge for Ina to address these audiences. For older Web users, our footage of course refers to an audiovisual culture they have experienced, and to TV memories which elicit amusement, a sense of nostalgia or curiosity. For the youngest Web users, the aim is to build a new relationship, based primarily on discovery.

The first prerequisite is of course to offer as many videos as possible on line, on all types of screen, and wherever possible in forms which are free of charge. This is what we are doing on our website Ina.fr, which is now available on mobile phones, tablets and connected TVs. Since 2006, we have furthermore developed a real policy of everyday editorialisation, which means that our archives are in resonance with the news. But we came to realise that this was not enough to get through to the youngest Web users on a massive scale. To achieve this aim, we have thus aimed our efforts in two main directions.

Firstly, we have taken up positions at the key junctions for Web users, in the places where content can enjoy the greatest visibility. Since 2010, we have signed agreements with Dailymotion and YouTube: on each of these platforms, we now have our own video channels, incorporating a business model based on sharing advertising revenue.

Secondly, it was essential to take on board the new modes of sharing and recommendation specifically used by these generations, by accentuating our social dimension. At the last F8 conference of Facebook, held in San Francisco in 2011, Ina was one of the very few French companies to have its logo appear on the screen, just behind Mark Zuckerberg! Since it became possible to incorporate our exportable player directly into the page of network users, our audience has been considerably boosted.

 

Doesn’t winning this audience over also involve the development of new formats?

This is indeed an important issue, and we have recently carried out several experiments in this area. With the event-based platform “Dites-le avec l’Ina” (“Say it with Ina”), the idea we have developed is to offer brief video “miniclips”, lasting only a few seconds, which are ideal for insertion into social conversations. During the last French presidential campaign, we selected “video bites” from famous politicians, which Web users can use to spice up their exchanges on Tweeter or Facebook, for example in the form of commentaries. The platform has attracted hundreds of thousands of users, and we are now going to use the same concept for other themes and personalities, such as Salvador Dalí (an exhibition of his works is to be held shortly at the Pompidou Centre in Paris).

More recently, we have also presented our videos in a playful way, with Télé-Top-Chrono. This online game -combining TV knowledge, rapidity and deductive powers – is based on a simple and effective concept, which works particularly well with specifically targeted themes.

 

Can the heritage also be a source of creativity for the younger generations?

Of course. Nothing can be created out of nothing, and simply making the heritage available can be a source of inspiration for the young artists of today. When we watch the Shadoks nowadays, we realise that certain programmes made during the ORTF period were astonishingly modern, and even avant-garde!

But looking beyond inspiration, the audiovisual heritage can also provide the raw material for creation in the audiovisual era. In conjunction with talented young authors, we have channelled our efforts into the production of Web history documentaries. Some of them –Shalom Amigos, in particular –have won considerable numbers of awards. In a more mainstream genre, we also offer competitions in which Web users are invited to freely remix archive clips made available to them, to focus on themes linked to major cities, such as Paris, Berlin and Montreal. This is a way of building bridges between our heritage and our future, by showing that the heritage is not frozen in time, but constitutes a living and evolving material.

 

While we are speaking about the future, what changes of focus are you planning in your Web strategy?

The next major stage will be the launch in January 2013 of a new version of Ina.fr, with revised functions and ergonomic features to cater for newly emerging uses. The innovations will include the opening up of the site to amateur films of heritage interest, as part of the Mémoires partagées project we have launched in Aquitaine, a concept which will gradually be rolled out in other French regions. Through this initiative, a new conception of the heritage is beginning to make its presence felt. More open, more participative, and at the interface between the viewpoint of professionals and that of the general public.