This week in the New York Times there was an article about a new way to measure audience engagement for impact documentaries. Participant Media along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the University of Southern California have created a measuring tool called the Participant Index. The goal of the index is to record exactly how much a documentary film affected the audience, and once the data is collected, the film is given a quantitative score. Participant will ask questions such as: Was there an emotional response? Did the film change your life? Did it cause you to boycott a company?
Read the full article here.
Response to this new initiative has been varied. Some believe that the index will lead to a loss of the art of storytelling in order to gave way to films that are only about "heavy-handed proselytizing". Indiewire reviews the response to the new measuring tool in this article.
At Chicago Media Project, we are excited about this conversation. What do you think of this index? How do you see it affecting the landscape and funding of impact documentaries? Join us on facebook and twitter to be a part of the conversation.