Virtual TV Studio for Youth

Virtual TV Studio for Youth

Montreal, CanadaMontreal, Canada
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Virtual TV Studio for Youth : a mentored, collaborative web space for all high schoolers across Canada and around the world, in partnership with local TV broadcasters and their clients. A place to create for school, and the real world.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

French-language broadcasters in Quebec have been accused of "white-washing" their on-screen appearance, despite an ever-growing multicultural audience base. Ely's organization filmed a cohort of youth who pointed out this issue gently, and as a result received prize recognition by Quebec's broadcast community "Tele Diversite" ( ) . Local TV Broadcasters generally have to confront the issue of audience drift to the web, and to maintain the loyalty of their viewers, they must be proactive. Meanwhile youth feel their voice is not reflected on the TV screen . They do not see themselves except when the issue is drugs, sex, bullying, and suicide. There is so much more to being a youth than just social ills.Yth engagement is needed to diminish dropping-out.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The eMage Virtual TV Studio for Youth , a secure, mentored and collaborative webspace, would welcome local TV broadcasters to work side-by-side with students from grade 7 upwards. The studio would be integrated into the school curriculum, and empowered by professional and peer mentors across Canada and around the world. Broadcasters would link up with youth projects and visibility of youth creativity and engagement would be integrated into TV broadcasts and their related websites.Youth would be encouraged to answer curriculum requirements through video, and engage in media entrepreneurship and current affairs, in collaboration with broadcasters. Mentors would help focus the student's concepts and vision, and productions would leverage the natural sense of humour and concerns of youth. Youth video projects would link and be placed at local broadcasters' sites and on-air where appropriate, with sponsorship opportunities. Self-esteem for youth, identity with broadcasters, win-win.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In collaboration with schools, school boards, ministries of education, and local broadcasters/marketers across the country, the Virtual TV Studio for Youth would be constructed online, incorporating such features as a secure mentorship system for students, a free resource base for collaborative video-editing, relationship building with local broadcasters and their sponsors/partners, teachers’ curriculum guide, and video entrepreneur opportunities for students. Encouragement would be provided to students to create TV projects that answer the requirements of curriculum objectives. Novel ways of research and results explanation through TV and New Media, explored and produced by students, would be credited as part of their course requirements. Social engagement with world and local issues would be encouraged as part of students’ social studies , and peer collaboration from around the world through online TV production, would be supported by commercial brands, in cooperation with TV newsbroadcasters, PBS-style. News directors may choose to air student productions as part of their newscast or as interstitial PSAs (Public Service Announcements). An example is our proprietary initiative called NewsRap.TV : . As Peppler/Kafai reported in Learning, Media and Technology 06/ 2007, educational engagement is enhanced because media production reinforces the underpinnings of constructionism: learning experiences are most engaging when people are designing and creating. And now, for a larger public, and a larger impact.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Recently WEVIDEO , associated with Google, launched a collaborative online video editing service, the most recent of a number of attempts to do so. This holy grail has been sought after for years, and my initiative banks on such technology to make it happen. We add on the aspect of mentorship and sponsorship and access to local broadcasters, for young people. We are the first to marry mentorship/broadcasting/education, and the challenge remains to maintain propriety on the concept, before Google searches this public article, and goes ahead on its own dime.

Founding Story

In the mid-eighties, I founded Les Ateliers Super Jeunesse, and rounded up mentors,public funding, francophone youth creators, artists, and a local TV station. I tasked them with creating a TV series for youth and general audiences, and said express yourself. The kids created a 13-part series and completed the screenplay for one 30-minute episode. Then they took over a real anglophone TV studio and all the jobs necessary to make a TV show, with the volunteer collaboration of the employees. The result was "Woups !" Everyone discovered to their surprise that kids were competent and funny and really good at creativity, that adults loved to mentor, and that making TV was fun ( ) . What that could do for education, I said to myself. And then the internet happened, and the pipes became bigger. We are on the cusp of Youth TV Nation.
About You
About You
First Name


Tell us about yourself/your team.

Broadcast professional and social entrepreneur are the appropriate tags for Ely Bonder. From his teens on he has advocated youth empowerment by finding ways for youth to contribute to society. Beyond his day-job he has brought together broadcasters and students through partnerships. As a CTV employee, he has not been shy about advocating for youth. As a wellknown Canadian news anchor with experience at ABC News said about Ely: “Ely has his eye firmly on the future and is one of the few senior members of our News Division working on new models for quality content consumption in the digital age. It is his brand of pioneering mind, rooted in a career of producing quality journalism, that are needed most to ensure the standards of existing media transfer into the next.” (source:

What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?

An example of Ely's entrepreneur skills was preparing a business plan for the internet that was recognized by a Toronto-based GIGATHON2000 prize sponsored by INTEL, as the web bubble was beginning. It placed youth in the forefront of community development in partnership with the private sector. After just a few years on the job at CTV, he convinced management to pay heed to youth voices and the company allowed him to pilot a TV news magazine by youth, for youth. Later he helped launch an application for a youth-driven Satellite channel, and then convinced his English TV station to allow French kids to take over all the job functions of the professional TV studio for two weekends , in order to produce a demo of youth creativity ( ).

About Your Organization
Company Country

, QC, Montreal

Primary country where this project is creating social impact

, QC, Montreal

Additional countries or regions




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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Idea (you're poised to launch)

The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?

Local TV broadcasters of all stripes will be given an opportunity to compete with each other to mentor the most youth, thereby increasing the number of potential loyal viewers to their brand. In turn, students will have greater opportunities to access the real world and apply their curriculum goals in the public space. This leads to greater self-esteem and engagement. Sponsors have an innovative way to enhance viral marketing of their brands, due to engagement with youth.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

My non-profit, Youth eMage Jeunesse since 1999, has collaborated with schools and youth-serving agencies, in implanting new-media and video production programs as integrated activities. Youth created PSAs for TV, fought for a basketball court at the municipal council level using video and ppt, tweaked Quebec broadcasters' sensitivities regarding ethnic representation on-screen, and became video journalists.

By our actions, we have concretely contributed to the public discourse concerning the new curriculum, making education more relevant to youth.

What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?

With a successful launch, I project that at least 50,000 high schoolers across Canada and around the world will sign on to the Virtual TV Studio with the approval of their teachers, while dozens of TV stations and Networks will commit resources, airtime, and webspace to their mentored youth collaborators.

Youth entrepreneurs will collect thousands of dollars of discretionary spending as they create PSAs, sponsored educational video documents, and viral commercials for small business, And the drop-out rate will diminish markedly across the board.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

There has been marked resistance to any scent of commercialism by half the schools in Canada and the U.S., as the experience of Channel One (U.S.) and Youth News Network (Canada) can attest to. Both of those projects have had very limited number of students acting as producers, and depended on youth as consumers.

In contrast, the Virtual Studio encourages a mass of students to act as producers, and attract an audience of adults as the consumers. The Studio is integrated throughout the curriculum, not just Social Studies or Media Literacy. Youth engage in their studies as creators, with the side benefit of creating relationships with the private sector who are banging a drum in applause for the students' academic and creative tour de force.

What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?

TV Broadcasters are concerned about the drift of viewers to the unregulated web, and need to reverse that flow. They need to create loyalty for their brand and their own commercial clients from current and future audiences. In order to do so, they must be seen to be on the side of their viewers, and especially youth, The Virtual TV Studio for Youth is that infrastructure.

How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?

Within the TV station where I work, management is sensitive to this project and admire the persistence with which I pursue it. However, it is perceived as a national project in terms of funding, and whenever the opportunity arises to comment, they have committed themselves to be supportive.

A national TV correspondent and anchor says : "Ely has his eye firmly on the future and is one of the few senior members of our News Division working on new models for quality content consumption in the digital age. It is his brand of pioneering mind, rooted in a career of producing quality journalism, that are needed most to ensure the standards of existing media transfer into the next." ( source : LinkedIn ).

Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.

Marketing to long-term sponsors, lobbying to broadcasters, and contributing to social policy development at the Federal government level are all current strategies.

The Federal Dept of Human Resources/Skills Development is currently soliciting projects for Social Finance. BCE (national private telecom company) is submitting an acquisition request to the Federal regulator, and is proposing community tangible benefits as part of that. In both cases we are submitting long-term funding proposals leveraging the goals of each project.

Out-reach to long-term commercial sponsors is ongoing, sensitizing them to the dual benefits of both youth and TV partnerships.

We are projecting a yearly operating budget of $500,000 .

Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.

The work that Youth eMage Jeunesse has accomplished over the years, leveraging free access to TV station technology , has been submitted by the TV station to the Federal Human Resources Ministry, as part of their mandated Diversity strategy.

eMage also benefits from a partnership with non-profit LEARN QUEBEC, and free marketing services from a commercial marketing firm.

What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?

Within the TV station where I work, management is sensitive to this project and admire the persistence with which I pursue it. However, it is perceived as a national project in terms of funding; whenever the opportunity arises to comment, they have committed themselves to be supportive. At the national level, I have not yet received any feedback, after multiple requests for such.


Ely Bonder's picture

Don't you think kids want to make this a better a world ? Don't they show it ? Can we help ?

Emily Bosland's picture

Hi Ely,

Thank you for your interest in the League of Intrapreneurs! Based on your entry, it sounds like you’re a social entrepreneur. I'm glad to see you've already created a “changeshop” on our site to more easily connect with other innovators, funders and community members. Best of luck!