Meet Philly in Focus, the Philadelphia community media hub created as part of Comcast‘s Project Open Voice pilot, which launched in public beta last week following remarks by Mayor Nutter and his wife Lisa.
Philly in Focus is an online open access, interactive media portal for Philadelphia content producers at all levels, young and old, individual and organizational. The media hub is one of six pilots being launched by Comcast, as part of its national initiative Project Open Voice. The three-year program is part of an agreement Comcast made with the FCC when it acquired NBC early last year.
The site is not meant to have the scale of a Youtube or Vimeo, but instead offer local eyeballs to video content produced for Philadelphians. Or at least that’s what Comcast told the FCC they’d do.
With the public access television network PhillyCAM‘s studio at 7th and Ranstead as a backdrop, both Nutters addressed a crowd of about 50 from the press corps, Comcast, and the Philadelphia community. Mayor Nutter discussed the relevance of this new community media hub to enhancing education, business, and digital access, as well as the city’s other social media efforts, such as Change by Us Philly web tool.
The Mayor said Philly In Focus would be a valuable addition to the city’s social media outreach, which was recently recognized as the country’s 7th most social media savvy city government.
“It’s what the Continental Congress would have used had this tool been available. They would have gotten the information out much quicker all across the United States if Philly in Focus had been around at that time,” the Mayor said, then acknowledged the comment was not in his notes.
Mayor Nutter also said Philadelphia was excited to be chosen as a pilot city in the Project Open Voice initiative.
“Philly in Focus is another opportunity to literally take the roof off of City Hall —though we ask you not to touch our roof, actually — and allow more Philadelphians to see what’s really going on,” said Mayor Nutter.
Lisa Nutter said she thinks Philly In Focus will be a place for Philadelphian’s to share the stories they want the community to hear.
“What it’s also doing is providing a nontraditional media approach to covering these stories, stories that, as the website suggests, sometimes get lost in the shuffle,” Lisa said.
“This to us is another way to help kids produce content,” Lisa said. “I’m hoping this can be used by kids in public high schools in Philly.”
Lisa then introduced her husband, the Mayor, as a “lover of technology” who can “at any moment hold two Blackberrys and spin an iPhone on top of his head at one time.”
Other speakers at the launch included Civic content partners, Kerri Kennedy, the executive director of Women’s Campaign International, PhillyCAM executive director Gretjen Clausing, as well as Comcast representatives, Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Sharon Powell-Lee and Director of Local Media Development Paul Wright.
Philly In Focus has been live in beta since January, but the press conference yesterday marks the official launch of the beta site. Wright told Technically Philly that Comcast plans to move the site out of beta in mid-summer.
Wright says the beta launch has taught Comcast some useful lessons about Philadelphia as well as its plans to Project Open Voice in other markets, beyond the six pilots. But making things simple, Wright says, has been the biggest takeaway of the last few months.
“Our goals here are to help organizations find their local audiences better. We need to ensure that simple process,” said Wright. “On the consumer side, it’s to be determined. The feedback has been making sure you have a variety of discovery methods.”
Wright says Comcast sees the initiative as complementary to video and content sharing giants like YouTube and Vimeo, and has included easy ways for users to port content over to Philly In Focus.
“What we’re trying to do here is just provide the local entry point,” Wright said.
Philly In Focus has also partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) to integrate its tourism blog, Uwishunu‘s latest project, Philly 101 into the hub. Philly 101 is 101-day video series showcasing locals Philadelphians talking about what they “wish you knew” about the city, as Technically Philly reported.
To see Lisa Nutter and Mayor Michael Nutters full remarks, as well as remarks from the press conference host, Gretjen Clausing, check out the videos below.
Gretjen Clausing on PhillyCAM:
Innovation can be taught. The time to learn is now
How Linode inspires interactive learning with its Linode Live! streaming series
Events Roundup: 10 ways to take action through tech this October
Here’s who snagged funding at PACT’s drama-filled pitch event, Lion’s Den
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia