GreenHeroes

Contestant organization: 
CineFocus Canada
Venture partners: 

TVO (charitable organization responsible for GreenHeroes delivery), Conservation Ontario, Organics Council of Ontario, Green Living Enterprise, CAPE (Cdn Association of Physicians for the Environment), bitHeads/Bedlam games, and Thing Tank (University of Toronto).From the onset, TVO has been an enthusiastic contributor to the GreenHeroes overall campaign. They understood that our campaign was designed for the new social networks as well as for the traditional medium of television.  This means TVO supports our building dynamic connections to real world events and developing PR strategies and partnerships. TVO followed through on all commitments during Phase I and is now on board providing a broadcast license for 7 additional TV episodes, website funding for a portion of the cost of  21 additional webisodes and related campaigns, and are helping to fund the gamification of our web site to enhance the user experience.The other non-profit venture partners listed above are committed to increasing the impact, relevance and innovation of the GreenHeroes campaign by supplying in-kind media, PR and consultation support, access to their communities, events and social media channels, and are participating in the survey and focus group testing of our social media challenge.

Describe your venture: 

GreenHeroes shares great environmental stories on TV and on the web by celebrating people who heroically “ventured forth” and acted on an idea to help protect the planet. These “out-of-the-box” thinkers have created movements inside the mainstream that have led to emission reductions and more. The GreenHeroes’ “Take action” Campaign is designed to help transform audiences from mere “viewers” to involved “do-ers” by connecting them to real world events and offering ways to share their own experiences on-line. GreenHeroes launched last year as a series of 24 x 3 minute webisodes, a series of 6 x 30 minute TV episodes on TVO, and an integrated multi-platform campaign. GreenHeroes' second phase adds 21 additional heroes stories and related campaigns and seven more themed television episodes. New to this phase is a "call to action" social media game that takes advantage of our broadcaster and web channel’s ability to promote and reward activities that reduce energy consumption on a given day across the province of Ontario.At the heart of the GreenHeroes Campaign are well-produced stories told by great storytellers. These stories are delivered as short portable, webisodes distributed on multiple distribution channels. The GreenHeroes Campaign encourages the audience to “become” the story by nominating people they know through a contest and taking part in real world activities inspired by the webisodes, “take action” campaigns, a blog and now, a GreenHeroes game. We have successfully run our inaugural USG “nominate” a GreenHero contest and announced the winners at the GreenLiving show, Canada’s largest consumer event focused on the environment.The strategy that has worked best for our GreenHeroes Campaign is to maintain a strong connection between the content of the TV show, the bi-weekly campaigns on the website, and the efforts of volunteers and street teams. These combined elements resulted in increased views of the webisodes and gave us very high “dwell times” on the website and peaks that coincided with real world events. Since going live on August 24, 2010 the site has generated over 600,000 page views.Currently, TVO has licensed an additional 21 additional webisodes and 7 more television half hour shows. We have also held discussions with them to create a contest-based "call to action" to generate excitement about the campaign and take advantage of TVO’s ability to promote it.  As a result, TVO is now committing development funds to gamifying our existing site, hosting the video content on their servers, and licensing the website for another second season.With this broadcast support, we successfully applied for development funding from the Bell Fund and are now working with bitHeads/Bedlam to gamify our web presence and to create a province-wide “call to action” challenge- a social media game to garner similar citizen involvement.To test the feasibility of this next phase, and to gain province-wide awareness for it, we have secured relationships with several green-minded organizations and media partners for outreach, consultation and focus group testing. These groups include Conservation Ontario, Organics Council of Ontario, the Canadian Physicians for the Environment. GreenLiving Enterprises, Our GreenHome and the on-line radio channel Mediazoic. These partnerships have kept us informed and given us access to key events and stakeholders within the green community.

Emissions reduction potential: 

We are applying to Climate Spark specifically to help fund our "call to action" social media game that uses our broadcaster and web channel’s ability to promote and reward activities that reduce carbon emissions. Currently GreenHeroes reduces carbon emissions by creating inspiring stories and connecting users to “take action” campaigns on-line and to real world events.As an example, Boston Bruins defence man and GreenHero, Andrew Ference convinced the NHL Players Association to sign onto carbon offsets. This commitment by the players resulted in spin-off green activity at hockey arenas too. For example, concession stand owners sought out recyclable containers and arenas switched to CFL lightbulbs.This information is conveyed in the short on-line webisode. After watching Andrew tells this story on-line, viewers can then click on the “Pedal Power” campaign icon (inspired by Andrew’s further commitment to reducing his carbon footprint by cycling to hockey practice) to get involved in a number of carbon reducing activities like joining a bike co-op or getting information to share with friends about how biking contributes to reducing their carbon footprint. See: http://www.greenheroes.tv/greenhero/3193343-Pedal-PowerWhile difficult to measure the exact impact of this online activity, we do know the social media campaign helped to increase awareness and hopefully reduce emissions because: 1.    The webisode netted 1,000 views within a half hour of it being posted to the Boston Bruin’s blog reaching an audience who would not have seen this webisode elsewhere2.    The on-line "take action" campaign linked users to 14 activities and/or organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation and Bixi Bikes where they could connect directly to ways to become more involved.Phase II-Gamification and Social Media ChallengeWe are working with accomplished game developers bitHeads and our Green and Media partners to develop an activity around a quantifiable and achievable reduction in emissions. This crowd-sourced challenge will be promoted by TVO and our other partners to recognize and reward individual and team based activities that reduce energy use.To do this we will gamify our existing site and create new partnerships with pre-existing software developers and suitable producers of sustainable products and services. bitHeads will be integrating into the existing GreenHeroes website a metagame.  The game will be set up to work seamlessly with the current GreenHeroes site (www.greenheroes.tv) as well as on our other web presences including our blog and social media accounts.Gamification Feature Breakdown:The GreenHeroes "metagame" will have the following backend features that will interact with the website and drive long-lasting user engagement and a call to action. Challenges - Challenges will form the core of directed player activity.  For example, a challenge might be called “Hydro Conservation” and require players to form groups and track reductions in their historical hydro use over a four month period.  Because the monthly savings are aggregated for an entire group, this play mechanic encourages people to form larger groups and effectively spread the message of conservation.    Point System - The GreenHeroes metagame will use GHP (GreenHero Points – an “experience point” analog) to ascribe value to in-game activities ranging from simple, low GHP actions such as viewing a webisode or posting a blog to the more complex (and rewarding) social interactions and organization required to complete challenges.Player Reward/Badge System - Rewards in the GreenHeroes metagame will focus on public recognition of status (through badges, communication, etc.) and access to exclusive content (e.g. behind the scenes tours, access to GreenHeroes, participation in events, etc.)  Certain rewards will be made available as a function of earning GreenHero Points (GHP) and “leveling up” (e.g. when a player becomes a level 10 GreenHero by amassing 10,000 GHP they could be allowed to blog on the site, etc.) and others will be directly tied to a call to action (e.g. by winning the energy conservation challenge, the group that won gets to create their own challenge, etc.)To illustrate how this conservation “call to action” could work, we will use the example of Vev, a forty-year old mechanical engineer living in downtown Toronto. He sees a promotional spot on TVO challenging viewers to submit ideas to reduce energy consumption by applying “out of the box” thinking to an everyday activity. Vev is on the board of his downtown condo and has hooked his television set into an antennae on top of the building to save energy. He has just convinced his fellow board members that the entire building could have the same cost and energy savings by tapping into this simple technology. Pumped by his recent success, he now wants to encourage others to do the same. He goes online and inputs his energy saving idea, concentrating on urban areas with condo dwellers. His “call to action” is to get others to convince their boards to adopt the same policy and to measure their energy and cost savings.

The team: 

The GreenHeroes team is a dynamic group of people whose combined experience span numerous networks including environmental groups like Greenpeace, TEA and Planet in Focus, broadcast entities CityTV, Discovery, TVO, CTV, CBC, Global, Corus, APTN, MTV and Vision, industry organizations Interactive Ontario and DOC Toronto, and academic institutions University of Toronto, OCAD, Centennial College, the Canadian Film Centre and the Banff New Media Institute.In addition, GreenHeroes has formed partnerships with green-minded organizations that include Conservation Ontario, Organics Council of Ontario, Canadian Physicians for the Environment, Green Living Enterprises, and Our Green Home. These partnerships provide priority access to key events and stakeholders within the green community.CineFocus Canada-John Bessai and Joan Prowse, ProducersCineFocus Canada (http://cinefocus.com) is a content creation company with 20 years experience producing television documentaries, educational videos and interactive properties. The Toronto-based company specializes in arts, biography and social issue documentaries and commissioned videos for the non-profit and government sector. CineFocus’ body of work includes over 50+ educational videos on the environment, community health and labour initiatives and 25 hours of prime-time programming that has been pre-licensed to Canadian broadcasters and sold around the world.CineFocus began during the 1988 federal election when John Bessai and Joan Prowse created a national discussion piece that brought Canadians’ attention to the problems with the proposed Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. They followed this video with documentaries that explored issues of national sovereignty and identity. In 1993, they produced and edited an investigative documentary on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Their 1999 film, Women of Change, looked at the result of NAFTA through the lives of women in Canada and Mexico who were connecting across borders to bring social change to their local communities.Always active in environmental storytelling, they co-wrote and produced magazine pieces for Discovery’s @discovery.ca and Animal Planet including Greenpeace: A Canadian Discovery, a profile that charts the environmental organization’s rise to global prominence and In Search of the Spirit Bear about Canada’s endangered rainforest habitat.John and Joan are both alumni of the Interactive Project Lab at the Canadian Film Centre and the National Screen Institute's Global Marketing Program.  In 2004 they turned their TV documentary Visions from the Wilderness: The Art of Paul Kane into an interactive DVD and museum exhibit that is on permanent display at the Royal Ontario Museum's Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples. In 2009 their music biography, Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life, was nominated for a JUNO award and in 2010 GreenHeroes was recognized with a Rockie award nomination at the Banff World Television Festival. TVO - Christine McGlade, TVO Executive in Charge of ProductionChristine McGlade has been working in the broadcast and digital media industry in one form or another for over 25 years.  She combines strong experience in content creation with a technical background in computer graphics and web development, and holds a certification in Internet Business and Technology from the University of Toronto as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Media from OCAD University.  In her role as Manager, Interactive and Digital Media at TVO, a position she has held since 2005, she is responsible for 2 large, database-driven websites: tvo.org and tvoparents.com.  Plus, she knits. BitHeads/Bedlam Games - Trevor Fencott, Creative LeadTrevor Fencott brings 11 years of interactive industry experience to his role as President and COO of bitHeads (and Bedlam Games), a multi-platform game and technology company.  Prior to bitHeads, he co-founded Groove Games, an international publisher of console and PC gamesHe has been credited on the creation and publication of more than 30 video game titles.  He is also a consulting producer to the Lost Girl series on Showcase and a frequent speaker on integrated and transmedia implementation including at NXNE and the Toronto International Film Festival.Trevor serves as a Director of Interactive Ontario and on both the Screen-Based and Interactive Advisory Committees of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.   He holds an Honours degree from Queen's University and a law degree from the University of Western Ontario.Bart Dabek - Technical LeadBart was recruited directly out of Sheridan College to pioneer online video with VFM Interactive where he helped to bring rich media to major travel website (Travelocity, Orbitz, TripAdvisor) and put online video on the map at JumpTV where he helped to deliver live video to millions of people worldwide.In 2006, Bart presented his first publicly launched project called QuestionVille at DemoCamp. That same year he initiated a project called AboutMyPlanet.com which focused on the environment and spreading of green news. AboutMyPlanet is now part of AMP Blogs Network (launched 2008) which is a network of blogs and websites focusing on everything green, serving over 1.6 million page views annually. Bart’s next endeavor was co-founding KickMy.com and creating the matching tool for the volunteer social media site GetInvolved.ca.Filemobile - Steve Hulford - Chief Creative Officer/Mediafactory, Software ProviderSteve has founded, developed and launched numerous Internet products and companies of which Filemobile is his third venture. As Filemobile’s Chief Creative Officer, Steve is responsible for product development and delivery, blending creative and technical solutions that drive media value. Previously, he was a co-owner of PoolExpert.com, which was purchased by Rogers Communications in 2008. Steve has served as the vice-president of sports products for TSN and RDS where he managed product development and P&L for these popular Canadian sports websites. Steve was also on the Canadian National Swim Team and has traveled to over forty countries.ThingTank (formally Designing Digital Media for the Internet of Things) - Matt Ratto, Director of ThingTank’s Ideas JamsMatt Ratto is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. He is also the director of ThingTank (http://www.thingtank.ca), a non-profit lab space and research project examining and designing the Internet of Things. Ratto’s current research focuses on how hands-on productive work – making – can supplement and extend critical reflection on the relations between digital technologies and society. This work builds upon the new possibilities offered by open source software and hardware, as well as the developing technologies of 3D printing and rapid prototyping. These technologies and the social collectives that create, use, and share them provide the context for exploring the relationship between ‘critical making’ and ‘critical thinking.

Seeking collaborators: 
Yes
Potential collaborators should contact : 
John Bessai or Joan Prowse: Telephone (416) 504-9940/e-mail: jbessai@cinefocus.com, jprowse@cinefocus.com
How will you ensure your project is self supporting within five years?: 

Project BackgroundThe GreenHeroes campaign was launched in the fall of 2010, developed and produced with financial support from the Banff New Media Institute, IPL at the Canadian Film Centre, the Bell Fund, Canada Media Fund, CIFVF and Ontario broadcasters SUN TV and TVO. This spring, we developed partnerships with appropriate provincially based organizations with a mandate to educate and inform. To date we have the in-kind support from Conservation Ontario, Organics Council of Ontario, the University of Toronto’s ThingTank, and the Canadian Physicians for the Environment. We have also confirmed outreach and online partnerships with media partners GreenLiving, Our GreenHome and the on-line radio channel Mediazoic.For the past three years CineFocus has received funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation to attend international content markets outside of Canada. These conferences include: AdTech in London and NYC, SXSW in Austin, Texas, MIPTV and MIPCOM in Cannes, RealScreen in Washington, the World Science and Factual Producers Congress in Dresden and Paris, and NATPE in Miami.Here important connections with broadcasters, distributors and co-producer partners are being made and followed upon to drive future sales and licensing of the GreenHeroes model internationally. We also finalized a distribution deal with industry leader, Jan Rofekamp of Films Transit International who has a track record of selling CineFocus Canada’s programs to broadcasters in twelve countries on all four continents.GreenHeroes was selected to be showcased at the Digital Launch Pad at NextMedia in Banff in June 2010 and again at NATPE in Miami in January, 2011. It was also nominated in the pilots category at the Banff World Television Festival in 2010 and featured at the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival in 2010 and 2011. These events brought the project to the attention of the jury of advertising on-line specialists and a larger audience of attendees at these key markets.Description of Target MarketGreenHeroes’ demographic and desired audience is multi-tiered. We like to think of our fans as the “deep greens” and the larger “green attentives” - those who care about the planet and who are looking for new ways to engage in its protection. It is our goal to connect these audiences with GreenHeroes.In order to reach the mainstream "green-attentive" audience, GreenHeroes chose to deliver content on multiple platforms and uses distinct levels of engagement aimed at the “viewers” and “doers”. Our marketing campaign uses techniques and hooks that put GreenHeroes at the centre of people’s daily lives by choosing everyday heroes that reflect the mainstream and celebrated heroes with a wide fan base. To date GreenHeroes has been available and accessible to virtually all homes in the province of Ontario on TVO and reaches, on average, 3.8 million homes each week. Women viewers 35+ comprise more than 1.3 million of these TVO viewers. These women 35+ who watch TVO programming are actively involved in their communities and in issues of concern. 39% are identified among the most ecologically committed. (Print Measurement Bureau).GreenHeroes' demographic data provided by Facebook confirms our audience spans the age spectrum with the highest concentration of users, who registered via their Facebook, being women 25-45 years of age.Revenue ModelCineFocus is investing in a cross-platform campaign and product to compliment and support the broadcast program. Depending upon the GreenHeroes customer (e.g. broadcaster, specialty channel, sponsor, etc.), various product packages are available. Each separate customer deployment of the GreenHeroes platform is described as a ‘spoke. A ‘spoke’ is defined as the packaging of the content (which can include media, user profiles and a range of features) for distribution. The ‘hub’ is the central GreenHeroes campaign- www.greenheroes.tv managed by Filemobile's Media Factory software.With cross platform content distribution and syndication being in its early phases, the potential revenue models are still emerging. Current and potential revenue models include:

  • Licensing of content for a set fee
  • Revenue share of potential content licensing fees
  • Advertising
  • Sponsored spokes or channels of content
  • Sponsored webisodes, full episodes
  • Sponsored ‘sharalizer’ video widget
  • Sponsored ‘curated content’ (e.g. speeches, performances, behind the scenes material)
  • Event tie-in / interstitials opportunities (e.g. Earth Day or other specialized programming)
  • UGC Contests
  • Product Options
  • Licensing "spokes" from the GreenHeroes Hub:

 ‘Spokes’ can be made up of a combination of products and features. These have been organized into three tiered packages:Full – Full LicenseIntermediate – Limited license / fee or revenue shareBasic – No license or revenue shareOur “Go to Market” approach will be used to sell GreenHeroes content and multi-platform strategy to domestic and international broadcasters, advertisers, and sponsors.Revenue in terms of Multi-platform MonetizationGreen Heroes will roll out this new model and generate revenue through a range of traditional and non-traditional partnerships with broadcasters and as well as radio stations, newspapers and brands themselves.The revenue model that has eluded so many in the content production destined for the web may soon be at hand. The new partnerships created through specialization in content creation for multiple platforms means that new pools of creativity and business networks combine for significant revenue generating potential. Whereas in the past revenue was built into the marketing plans of brands and administered through their clients, the new model is different. The client is the consumer and the producer is the link. CineFocus has positioned itself to be at the centre of this new mix.International BroadcastersAs outlined in our Project Background, CineFocus is beginning to receive positive international response to the licensing of GreenHeroes.  Already there are discussions around the adaptation of content to suit international markets. As mentioned, we have a distribution agreement with a leading international broadcaster, Films Transit International, and CineFocus Canada producers attended several key content markets.Beginning in December, 2011, CineFocus has been approved to attend six international broadcast markets: Jackson Hole Wildlife Festival (U.S.), IDFA (Amsterdam), WCSFP (Paris), Real Screen (Washington.) and wrapping up with SXSW in Austin in March 2012. Producers Joan Prowse and John Bessai will work with Film Transit’s Jan Rofekamp to engage key buyers and make international licensing deals.Educational OpportunitiesSteve and Ann Connolly of McNabb and Connolly, two seasoned representatives in the non-theatrical realm, handle educational distribution for CineFocus Canada's products, including GreenHeroes. They both have experience in the distribution of interactive content and regularly attend all of the key educational markets.AdvertisingAdvertising will continue to be the dominant commercial model in the future of television as the multiplatform universe evolves. Indeed social networking represents a huge opportunity for brands to reach their target audience and increase impressions. New finance models are emerging with broadcasters giving producers minutes of broadcast time to sell themselves to help fund their productions.  This is an avenue planned for the GreenHeroes finance strategy.For example, CineFocus can offer GreenHeroes' sponsors a top and tail branded "donut" around each webisode as well as the TV show. This was done in season 1 with Bullfrog Power President introducing each GreenHeroes TV episode. Adding this feature to the webisodes has the potential to immediately generate $25-50K in sponsorship revenue depending on the frequency each of the 24 webisodes air. Webisodes also generate revenue through a range of partnerships including radio stations, newspapers and on the brands own on-line and "third-screen" channels.CineFocus has already been approached by one Canadian advertising agency, a format licensing company, as well as one German agency to develop a plan to monetize the online content by sponsorship and advertisers. The Green Heroes Campaign revenue projections can be summarized as follows:Phase I (2009– 2011)The net outflow of resources through the maintenance of the CineFocus Canada production companies, operations and expenditures will cease by September, 2011.  The construction of the GreenHeroes web channel, the fulfillment of the campaign, and the creation of 6 TV episodes and 24 webisodes are completed. Economies of scale have been created, a production team established, and costs per episode, webisode and campaign maintenance (social networking, blogging and ongoing campaign operations) identified.Revenue targets from inventory sales achieved as the content financing model based on inputs from Canadian TV infrastructure begins.Phase II (2011 – 2012)The Gamification of the Green Heroes Campaign, a call to action to continue to build the Green Heroes brand and a second season of TV episodes coupled with 21 new webisodes with sponsors and advertisers attached through a preliminary stage of inventory management and sales starting at revenue projections begins October, 2011 with the launch of the interstitials on TVO.  Value per spot on TVO, with integration of the web channel and webisodes on a weekly basis begin at $1,500 dollars a day (3 x $500.00 spots on TVO with placement on GreenHeroes web channel.) Through a cycle of 7 day per week cycle, the potential gross is $10,000 a week or $40,000 a month (less operational expenses) making a monthly projection of $15-20,000 per month which can be invested into content creation and operations. Revenues begin to climb in October with the projection that by January 2012 the goal of $10,000 a week is achievablePhase III (2013 -2015)The GreenHeroes Campaign success in Ontario will be modelled and replicated across several countries with royalties accrued over time based on license fees.  These receipts would be minimal in this phase _ amounting to $100,000.  The positive position of the campaign by 2015 would be full integration with a community-based campaign connected with the marketing budgets of our sponsors and advertisers globally. The Campaign itself will continue to resonate through conventional broadcasting and the approach to integrated marketing undertaken in Phase 1.  The new webisodes and TV series will continue to be broadcast on TVO (and possibly other broadcasters) with stable revenues through direct mail, advertising and sponsorship.         

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