I have been asked to write a post for The Daily Rind in light of the news that BalconyTV has joined forces with The Orchard.
But as I say this, I can already hear some of you asking “What? Who? Why? Where?”
So with that, here’s a CliffsNotes guide to the story of BalconyTV. Hopefully I can keep it even more concise than CliffsNotes. A small pamphlet, perhaps.
Without further ado…
BalconyTV was started in June 2006 by myself and two friends in our Dublin apartment. It was an idea that came from a hangover. Stepping out onto my apartment balcony to get some fresh air, I suddenly realized what a great view we had of Dublin city. Pointing this out to my friends, I suggested that we really should take more advantage of this amazing appendage to our apartment. And with that the idea of BalconyTV was born.
Our initial thought was to film a very simple daily show from our apartment balcony and post it online. It was to be short and sweet and take a minimum amount of work. One day we would film some local wildlife, and another day we might film the changing weather. I thought it might be a kind of artsy view into everyday Dublin.
Then we had the idea to invite some local bands up to play songs. The format would be simple: one camera, one song, and preferably one take. I would hold the camera, plug in a microphone, and my flatmates would be presenters. The less thinking involved the better. It was all about keeping it real. (Or not thinking too much basically.)
The simplicity of this caught on, and before you know it we began getting contacted by bands from all over that wanted a slot on BalconyTV. To them it was fun and colorful, and let’s face it… we were giving artists that classic Beatles rooftop moment that they all wanted.
Most of the artists we filmed were relatively low profile local artists. Unlike some other web shows, we felt that if an artist was OK, we would give them the chance to perform. This M.O. is what made it possible for us to film some major talent before they were famous, like The Script, Mumford and Sons, Una Healy to name a few. What followed was some nice press coverage and award recognition, and we realized our simple and fun concept clearly had more to it. Quantifying that “more” was the tricky part.
It got most interesting when we began getting requests from viewers around the world who felt that BalconyTV was such a great way of showcasing local talent that they wanted to do the same thing in their city. So with that, and still with no grand plan, we launched BalconyTV in Hamburg, London and Poznan (Poland). Suddenly, BalconyTV was being presented and produced by new voices and personalities, and we were dipping into sounds and cultures that we otherwise would never have heard.
With the production of this now internationally formatted web series, the question began to be asked….
“But wait, how do you make any money out of this?”
Ugh. I do hate that question. Our gut answer? “We do it for the love of it. We do it for the Rock n’Roll. We do it for fun.” As it turned out, that was only half baloney. The fact is, BalconyTV had always been fun to produce and when managed well, does not have to be too time consuming. But finding a viable business model for BalconyTV was inevitable, and with online video evolving constantly, it was hard to understand what BalconyTV meant in this changing landscape.
That’s where The Orchard comes in. Teaming up means the future is bright for BalconyTV. We are optimistic that it will allow us to continue building the incredible network of producers we already have, while putting a few more building blocks in place that will give that crazy initial idea increased sustenance.
Today, BalconyTV is produced in 50 locations around the world. Just last week, we launched BalconyTV in Budapest. We even produce BalconyTV in Crimea (currently in the cockpit of world events). We have produced over 10,000 shows that have been viewed over 50,000,000 times. And the artists. Well there have been too many great ones to list them all, but to recommend just ten more, try Kimbra, Edward Sharpe, Jessie J, Tommy Cash (Johnny’s bro), Kodaline, Little Green Cars, Matt Corby, Ed Sheeran, Victor Wooten and Sara Pi. Seriously, that list showcases the level of talent we work with daily.
If this is all new to you… we hope you like it.