LonelyGirl15 UK spin-off KateModern is to be made available on UK mobile phones. Orange will shortly release a mobile application in conjunction with Bebo, the show’s distributor.
In a session on interactive drama at the Mipcom TV market and conference in Cannes, Miles Beckett (pictured), the brains behind production pioneer LonelyGirl15 Studios, revealed the extension “will be coming out shortly”: “There’s going to be a mobile application, so you’re going to be able to watch – it’s going to be an alert system, when there’s new videos posted you’ll be able to watch them … there ‘s going to be some exclusive mobile video content each week. Some of the textual and photo content from the show will be downloaded as well.” Orange is already an advertiser in the interactive drama along with MSN, Procter & Gamble, Buena Vista International and Paramount Pictures, each of which uses product placements in the British LonelyGirl15 spin-off.
– Bebo: Beckett said he had spent three months working on KateModern in London earlier this year before handing over to a local production team. Bebo was picked as a distributor over LonelyGirl’s own YouTube platform because it had social networking features “superior to what YouTube had at the time”: “Even though there had never been a narrative treated on Bebo before, people gravitated to it pretty rapidly.” Bebo stumped up the production budget while the product placement ads provide ongoing finance, he said.
– TV: “Eventually, we’re interested in expanding the brand vertically in to other mediums – there’s potential for TV shows delivered in this world … books and films etc, that’s all a possibility. We’re also looking at developing other online properties. We’re looking in to game concepts, we have a reality show concept – so we’re developing a variety of properties right now … The trick is to reconstitute it in a manner that would actually work on TV – you really need to think about the content and the platform that it’s being distributed on.”
– Advertising: While deep product placement ads are currently LonelyGirl15’s dominant revenue model, (KateModern appearances to date paid for by Orange, MSN, Procter & Gamble, Buena Vista International and Paramount Pictures), there are a couple of regulatory issues. Although UK regulation, for example, had outlawed TV product placements to children, new European media guidelines this May green-lighted the practice – but only if viewers are first made aware of ads’ presence and ads are not pushy.
Saying he knew of no such online regulation, Beckett told paidContent:UK alternative scenes would be shot or episodes re-edited for countries where this revenue stream would prove problematic: It’s a little inconvenient but it is doable.” He said overlay ads would also solve the problem because messages would not be integrated and: “There’s also the possibility for a premium subscription layer for bonus features.“