LeVar Burton Concludes INTX 2016: The Best Content Out There is Found on Cable
If there’s one big concept to take away from INTX this year, it’s that there is more opportunity and flexibility for creativity in the technology, media and entertainment marketplace than there has ever been before. LeVar Burton, who took to the stage during the closing general session of the conference to talk about his involvement with the remake of Roots, set to debut on Memorial Day, said it best when he paid tribute to A&E and the History Channel for allowing this type of opportunity to take place. “I know that the best content being created in this new renaissance of TV, the best work in the industry right now, is being done on cable,” Burton remarked during his interview with Harold Ford, Jr., former U.S. representative from Tennessee.
Roots is what first made Burton famous back in 1977, when the miniseries about the African slave trade hit the masses in 1977. This time around, Roots will tell the same story, but in a way that touches and appeals to the new generation. In talking about his experience in remaking the miniseries, Burton highlighted how important it is to tell the same stories over and over again in new ways that resonate with modern audiences, and to ensure that we as a nation never forget our history.
This is exactly the sort of concept that has been embedded throughout the majority of sessions, demos, exhibits and showcases at INTX this week. There’s no shortage of platforms to choose from when it comes to consumers watching their favorite content, but the stories on TV also have to reflect the kinetic society in which we live, said Burton, and not to mention the diverse perspectives and people we are surrounded by every day. Burton cautioned the audience about our nature as human beings to be resistant to change. But it’s important that we stay relevant to a new generation, he said, using the remake of Roots as an example.
And that logic certainly applies to the technology and television realm of today. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged this during his conversation with C-SPAN senior executive producer Peter Slen when he said, “We have potential to be entering the best era ever for consumers, programmers, and for those that deliver.” We are already there, and numerous content creators and providers this week have made sure to acknowledge how competition has played a huge role in making their services and products thrive, because the end goal is not necessarily to be first, like Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour said yesterday, but to provide the best and most unique experience for consumers.
As NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell said in concluding a very exciting and action-packed INTX, we look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., next year for INTX 2017–under a new commission, a new Congress, and a new presidency.