10 Years of BalconyTV - by Stephen O’Regan
Since its the 10 year anniversary of BalconyTV… let me attempt to summate it in 10 points -
1/ The idea. Seeking air to cure a hangover I stepped out onto my balcony above Dame Street in Dublin. We didn’t use our balcony much previously, as Dublin can be often overcast and grey. But this particular day I noticed we had a great view that included Trinity College and Dublin Castle. Maybe we should use our balcony more I thought… and the idea was born.
2/ The name. BalconyTV. It was supposed to be a tongue in cheek play on MTV. At the time there was a lot of excitement about having domains that were dot TV. But I never liked the idea of it being Balcony.TV. BalconyTV.com always sounded sweeter.
3/ The format. It had to be simple. If it wasn’t going to be easy to produce and output we wouldn’t have time to do it. The charm would be in the simplicity for all involved. So it was going to be rough and raw. Warts and all. One shot. One microphone. A quick intro, performance and a short outro. Since then the production standard has changed, but the format has remained the same.
4/ The presenters. The first ever BalconyTV presenter was my friend Tom. Tom is character in Dublin town. He likes jazz music and old cars. We have had so many presenters around the world in the time since and many with interesting accents - reminiscent of MTV Europe in the early 90s. We always like to see them go on to new things, such as Layla Anna Lee… our first presenter at BalconyTV London. Layla now interviews football stars around the world. I am jealous about that.
5/ The small artists. These are the ones that no one, and I mean no one has ever heard of. They could be just a guy and a guitar with a song to sing. Sometimes BalconyTV gets frowned upon for giving these artists a chance… but we never wanted to be too cool for school. Besides, you never know which of these unknowns will take you by surprise.
6/ The big artists. When a well known artist comes to perform it is encouraging for the small artists who can say they shared the same platform. It is also a thrill for our producers. It gives us confidence we are doing something right.
7/ The legends. On the very rare occasion, we have a guest on BalconyTV that has a bit more gravitas than the others. Maybe they have been playing for decades, maybe they are the brother of an icon… or maybe they are just outstandingly talented.
8/ Our producers. The people that make it all happen. There are now well over 200 people around the world that produce BalconyTV. They are freakishly obsessed with the format and showcasing local talent to a world audience. Sometimes I think BalconyTV has become like a strange cult… our producers hypnotized with a desire to film bands on balconies. Often we tell them no more… but they just can’t stop.
9/ Big cities and small towns. As we began to launch BalconyTV in different locations, we thought BalconyTV might become like a boutique brand - New York, London, Paris, Munich… (everyone talk about pop musik). But in recent years we have launched the show in locations that are more off the beaten track. So whether it’s overlooking a beach or a ski slope, we now know it just adds to character of show.
10/ Ah numbers. Numbers, numbers, numbers. 10 Years. 15,000+ shows. 100 million video views. 250,000 Facebook fans. 200 producers. But at the end of the day… you just need 1 balcony, 1 camera… and 1 artist to sing a song. A good song always helps.
Here’s to 10 more years.