Saturday, September 15, 2007

They find new life on MySpaceTV

15 Sep 2007, New Paper

Thanks to online video, producers get to air entire 'Webisodes' online

ARTISTIC freedom.

That was something creative minds had difficulty getting on broadcast networks.

Now they think they can get that freedom but it is going to be online.

The show, called Quarterlife, will debut 11 Nov on and will also be paired with its own social networking site that will include story extras as well as career, romance and other information for the show's young audience.

Centred on a group of recent college graduates, the show started as a pilot for an ABC series called 1/4 Life.

It aired once in 2005 and was pulled because of creative differences between the network and creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick.

With the explosion of online video and the migration to the Web of such well-known artistes as Will Ferrell, Harry Shearer and Bill Murray, Herskovitz and Zwick decided to resurrect the show and give it a cyber twist.

AP reported that the TV veterans were also attracted by the chance to have full creative control of the project and retain ownership, which could produce greater profit for them if the show becomes popular.

'It's a gamble,' Herskovitz said. 'We want to prove there is another way to independently create and distribute content.'


The show's 36 episodes will air exclusively on MySpace, which has more than 110 million users worldwide. Additional content, including character profiles, will also appear on MySpace, which is owned by News Corp.

Each episode will be about 8 minutes long with two episodes debuting each week. The producers and MySpace will share revenue from ads that will run in the video. Additional revenue will come from product placement deals, Herskovitz said.

The show will also have its own social networking site called

Sending viewers in a loop back and forth from episode to the site could help build an audience, Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff said.

'If you create a place where your fans can gather and talk, then you reinforce their coming back and make it possible for them to recruit other people,' Mr Bernoff said.

He said there is room for professionally-created content online. But the Internet is still decades away from commanding the audiences, and thus the profits, that TV can.

'Making the big time still means being on television,' Mr Bernoff said.

Mr Jeff Berman, the general manager of MySpaceTV, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail that the show was a 'landmark moment' for MySpace, and that it would be 'the highest-quality serialised content ever to appear on the Internet. We're talking about the same production values as 24 or Prison Break.'

Under the terms of the deal, the social-networking site has a 24-hour window during which the webisode will only be available on MySpace TV.

After that, it will appear on Both sites will have interactive features, Mr Berman said, but on MySpace viewers will be able to interact with the cast through their MySpace pages.

MySpace users and bloggers on other sites will also be able to 'embed' the webisodes in their pages by pasting in a small chunk of code, as they can with video clips on other sites such as YouTube, and Daily Motion.

When asked whether the new show would have a mobile component involving cellphones, MrBerman said 'stay tuned.'

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