Tech4agri: the web series – A mobile story
How do we make agriculture as exciting as it really is? How can we generate and keep the interest the public on just how important it is? How do we facilitate learning among agriyouth of all kinds while simultaneously supporting them? I may have an answer to these questions.
Introducing Tech4agri, a blog that features technology and innovation in agriculture. We aim to support agripreneurs by providing an interesting and updated information service. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, of the Caribbean region we are looking to make the transition to social enterprise with our main project – Tech4agri: the webseries. So who runs this four year old, award winning blog?
Yours truly! I’m Keron a freelance blogger and agri journalist. My background is in agribusiness however I have forged my own career in journalism and communications. I hold great enthusiasm for social media, with a passion for agricultural topics, due to an understanding of the importance of food. Did I mention I’m 28?
The good thing about Tech4agri, the web series is that it’s already ongoing! We launched the series on the 2nd November 2015 with five episodes among others on our youtube channel thus far! With the webseries we aim to feature technology, climate change, innovations and success in agriculture.
If you’re in the agricultural sphere you would realise that the trend of media production in agriculture is increasing. So then how does Tech4agri stand out?
We are the first to utilize this type of media for agriculture and the very first to do so in the Caribbean region. What really makes us stand out is that we use mobile journalism.
This is the use of mobile devices, technology, accessories and applications to capture and edit information. It represents a growing industry that is disruptive in that it is changing the rules of traditional journalism.
Using mobile journalism or #mojo as it’s called, we can produce a 2 minute news report, or a 2 hour documentary, perform photography or make a movie with just about anything in between.
Though this type of media production has great benefit, not many of chosen this route. We decided to on focus on social video – this refers to content that designed to increase audience engagement through social activity around a given video .
How does the project sound thus far? Innovative? (I hope so!)
“Agvocacy” is the way
We need to change the face of agriculture. Agriyouth in the Caribbean, need to understand that there is someone out there that is supporting them, providing them with the information they need while simultaneously dispelling the negative perception that agriculture has in the region.
While doing this we too are agripreneurs as we move towards becoming social enterprise. By facilitating this project we provide a living for ourselves and an avenue for career development in agri journalism and communications, one which is lacking in the region. With information being freely communicated the sector can only be improved upon.
How it all began
I began planning this webseries in late 2014 with market research and a business plan. Come March 2015 after some out of pocket expenses, weeks of planning and several negative responses from various business competitions, I got a volunteer team together of 4 Trinidadians and we started filming the series
Here I bare my soul by giving you a look at the live business pitch (that’s right it’s online, a major risk) which we took to our potential sponsors prior to releasing the series with the hope that they would support. This was intended to be our main revenue earner for the first year of the series.
They were all interested, they all loved the idea but not one was willing to part with their money…damn! And we were asking for pebbles too. This was basically a failure. But failure proves we’re trying!
The only positive was that one of our other revenue earners – video production and mobile storytelling – actually came into play earlier than expected garnering a few freelance jobs.
Moving on we still continued the series with aim of finishing our first season. Fortunately we got the interest of three more volunteers from St. Lucia, Dominica and Guyana respectively with the goal of garnering content from other Caribbean countries.
At this very moment we also have the interest of three television stations one of which actually airs across the Caribbean. (I’m unbelievably excited with the possibility of having our series air on this station in particular!)
Series rebroadcast is now our main revenue earner which we hope will in turn gain the attention and commitment of other sponsors. We already have YPARD on board powering us ahead! Apart from that we have a whole host of other revenue earners to ensure sustainability such as merchandising, event coverage, social media consultancy, journalistic services etc. It’s all in the aforementioned pitch.
Currently we are working on the remainder of episodes while facing issues such as scheduling with stakeholders and time management.
Another aspect we intend to bring on board is drone journalism. (Let there be mystery on this point, as it’s not what you would expect!)
And very important to mention is that we have had some successes with our series as it stands. Over the five episodes we had 1,738 views.
In order to measure our successes we are utilizing Youtube’s analytics as well as WordPress stats simply because we release each episode via the blog. It makes sense to do so, as it acts as a solid foundation for the series.
Stay with me now
For the last quarter (1 Oct 2015 – 31 Dec 2015) when our series was released, our channel had a watch time of 5,346 minutes. Watch time helps creators understand the quality of their videos and how well different videos keep viewers engaged. In comparison to the previous quarter (1 Jul 2015 – 30 Sep 2015) there was a 200% increase in watch time. Well it was 199.75% exactly if you must know but nonetheless superb!
For our videos we have, an average view duration of 3:04. Average percentage of a video in which our audience watches per view stands at 45%. So there is room for improvement. Young people how short are your attention spans!
Regardless these are important stats, and as a result our episodes are shorter then when we first stated. This keeps us on the right track by acting on feedback data.
We also had a few likes, shares, comments and subscribers all indicated positive by the little green arrows pointing upwards next to each figure, but what really stood out to us – zero dislikes for the quarter. Absolutely none! So we are clearly doing something right!
Youtube analytics also provides other stats such as playback locations, traffic sources, devices and more as well as other engagement reports. It’s a powerful tool that will help us measure success in the future.
I’m not kidding here, these are our actual figures and feedback data. I can take screenshots if anyone wants to see the data themselves! What it proves is that we have something and we need to make it better.
Therefore we would need:
A Drone: $1500 – to facilitate drone journalism
Travel: $2000 – to facilitate travel to other Caribbean islands improving regional appeal.
Mobile Journalism training: $500 – We already have some training under our belt but we can do with more, particularly as we hope to gain more volunteers in the future. The intent is to teach them mobile/agri journalism in exchange for their help with the series. This can be done online
Miscellaneous costs: $500 – Costs associated with story gathering such as rentals, gas, in country travel.
#Mojo Equipment: $500 – We already have the majority of our equipment. However some additional items may be needed with the expansion of our team in the future.
Given we are in the middle of our first season, we predict this grant would be of great use in our second season. By then we will have even more feedback on the series which could potentially change our plan but such is the nature of an existing project.
Right now we are establishing ourselves and things are positive in the way of becoming sustainable. Regardless of the outcome of the YAP we do hope you will support our series.
And so this is the end but not really – our mobile story thus far.
Blogpost, video and picture submitted by Keron Bascombe (Trinidad and Tobago) – keronbascombe(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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