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Open invitation to Arte : Trying out, inventing, innovating - The Arte’s webproductions

Today, I have a double privilege: the one to express myself on the website of this great think tank and International meetings that is the Forum d’Avignon and also the one to present the great experimentation atelier of the digital hub of Arte France. To examine the “why” of works that we lead everyday with our authors and producers, and to deepen the “how” of the production of these works, programs and services that we want to be unique.

Our cultural practices change. Never before we had so many different ways to tell stories, to produce, to broadcast and to consume them. Every day more, the television loses sense as a passive media: we no longer watch it in an exclusive linear way, but rather catching-up on third videos platforms and VOD. The expanding of social TV leads us to interact from now on with stories that we tell on Twitter, Shazam or Get Glue.

This booming comes with the popularization of interactive formats, thought first for the web: during the last years, we have attended the birth of new genres such as the “webdocumentary”, which our program Alma represents in my opinion one of the most fully developed example. The series, emblematic cultural works of this early 21st century are not outdone with ten of “web-series” produced every year in Europe, North America but also in countries such as India, Nigeria or Brazil. Lastly, “transmedia” programs born. Ambitious and complex productions thought both for the web and the television, much as the fiction Intime conviction which will be diffused during the 2013-2014 winter on Arte.

In order to make these new kind of narratives possible, different ways to produce are necessary. In this sense, the most fitted answer for us lies on the mix of skills, in the “hybridization”. First hybridization means of production: today, the Department of Digital means of Radio France has a team which creates audiovisual documentaries for the web. At the same time, audiovisual producers such as the National Film Board of Canada, delve into the sound in their interactive works. On an industrial scale, the VOD distribution platform Netflix produces with House of Cards, its first original series. And the studio Ubisoft takes up alone in the film-making of its worldwide known videogame Assassin’s Creed.

When the boundaries between genres are disappearing like that, why don’t we imagine also a documentary in the form of a “newsgame” in real time and accessible to all the internet users from all over the world, such as Fort McMoney? Or a videogame which, at the same moment, is a pure work of artistic creation, like Type: rider?

However, in a time of offers abundance and massive but extremely fragmented web audience, we have to consider new “hybrids” forms to distribute those contents. A plurimedia broadcasting, which should benefit from the strengths of each media and plays on the complementarity between the web and the antenna. But which is also and above all on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, since for the major part of internet users, social networks are now the main filters in their consumption of contents. Lastly, the “appification” of the mobile web puts the question of the exclusive delivery of applications on distribution platforms of the big giants, starting obviously with the AppStore and GooglePlay.

This background reflection, which holds both on the content, its format and its broadcasting, must now be led with, firstly the program conception. Producers become distributors – and distributors become publishers – to interact more directly with the communities which are interested in their contents, to catch actively the audiences where they are.

Because, although our status changes, our part remains the same: as a media, our core business is to make our audience discovering new contents. In the specific case of Arte, this means to match with the existing uses while offering innovative and surprising contents. Some contents for new audiences, with their nearly permanent connection to social networks, their culture of sharing and of mixing and their personalized iPad magazines. Some realizations also for new devices: mobiles and touchscreens for moment, such as our offer all screens Cinemacity, cultural experience which allows to watch movies extracts in Paris, at the exact place where they were filmed. And which opens the way to future developments: with the arrival on the market of new and numerous gimmicks in 2014 (iWatch, Google Glass…), the “contextual computing” and the “wearable computing” will lead to a situation where screens will be always more numerous and always closer to our body.

All this may seem far from historical missions of a TV channel. But, in fact, we are only transposing the missions of Arte, European cultural channel, on the digital: to support the creation working hand in hand with authors, producers and agencies, which create more and more for new medias. To give an account of the culture in the large sense in documentaries, series and experiences anchored in their time. To defend a European and international approach, with subjects far beyond our borders.

And thus to embody a public service modern and resolutely oriented towards the future.


Alexander Knetig




ARTE is a public and culturel european chanel adressing to all the curios ound open-minded viewers in Europe, and specially in France and Germany.

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