“What is next-generation content?” That’s the biggest question we’ve received since launching the PILOT Innovation Challenge. It’s a good question with a tricky answer because we don’t want to be prescriptive about the ideas.

We’re looking for ideas around content that engages people, and “next-generation” is our means of suggesting a constraint toward the future. The delivery and engagement of content should leverage new uses of current technology, or utilize wholly new or emerging technologies.

Anyone submitting an idea that “engages communities with next-generation content on any device” must give careful consideration to both content and technology. If you’re not deliberately considering how the content and technology work together to engage people, you’re not addressing the challenge.

Here are some examples of what would have been good Challenge entries:


With its six-second time-limit, Vine used existing technology in a different way. Clearly video wasn’t new, but the combination of a time constraint and social network sharing made for interesting content because the video had to be created with those two factors in mind.

Amazon Echo

Go ahead, ask Alexa for the weather forecast, headlines or some music. Again, voice-recognition was not really new, but the Echo is good example of a new technology (a new physical product) that directly engages the users with various kinds of content and services.


Around 2004, we were introduced to podcasting, and according to the 2016 State of the Media report, roughly one-third of Americans have now listened to a podcast. Podcasting was a great example of specifically formatted content taking advantage of a relatively new technology, the MP3 player. Fast-forward to 2014 and we see the release of Serial, a podcast series that told a nonfiction story over multiple episodes. It won a Peabody Award for its innovative long-form storytelling, and it’s a wonderful illustration of the power of content combined with and formatted for a specific delivery technology.


It’s hard to believe the darling of teens and millennials (and therefore the marketers) is only five years old. The high-growth service takes specifically formatted content from a range of providers and delivers it through a unique platform. The idea of ephemeral snaps was a huge draw initially — although that may be going away with Memories.

Pokémon Go

Everyone is paying attention to Pokémon Go (and perhaps too little attention to our surroundings), but the immensely popular game shows the potential of an emerging technology, augmented reality, and creates a heavily engaging experience for the user. I’m eager to see what other ideas will develop that use AR to engage communities. My friend, Melody Kramer, has even suggested lessons for journalists from Pokémon Go.


Hopefully these examples will spur creative thinking for ideas. You could have the next idea that takes advantage of the developing standards for next-generation television. Or perhaps you know how to take advantage of FM radio chips that are already in most mobile phones. Maybe the increasing number of IoT devices will give birth to a new way to use that technology to engage people with new forms of content. Whatever it is, we want you to put your most creative ideas forward.

Be sure your idea addresses the Challenge question:

“How might local television and radio broadcasters engage their communities with next-generation content on any device, whether big, small or moving?”

And remember that the idea should demonstrate the following:

  • Desirability: What is the value to the audience and to broadcasters?
  • Viability: How could the idea generate revenue?
  • Feasibility: What is required to make the idea a reality?
  • Originality: What makes the idea novel?

The deadline to submit ideas to the PILOT Innovation Challenge is September 23, 2016. Good luck!