Campbell Ryan produced the UK version of Sofia’s Diary, the second of Bebo’s original online video drama series following KateModern, BeActive originally created the format in Portugal; the two companies have also worked on other recreations; Sofia’s Diary, for which Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures TV International owns rights, was also secured for TV airing on Fiver.
Campbell Ryan isn’t detailing the amount it’s receiving, but says the money will hire new writers and developers in the UK and Ireland “with the aim of expanding its production slate and activities internationally”.
Stretching back to 2007, aiming to replicate LonelyGirl15, Bebo and MySpace (NYSE: NWS) had pioneered commissioning original, web-only episodic drama that tap social interactions and include product placements.
Bebo evolved the business model to ensure that sponsors, and not it, pay the production costs upfront. But AOL put the freeze on Bebo’s web commissions last year and recently called up Bebo’s original productions head to run AOL (NYSE: AOL) Video in Europe.
Endemol, which had also been making original web drama, recently sidelined the strategy in a restructure, saying the ad-funded format is “severely compromised”.