MySpaceTV unveils first original drama
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - MySpaceTV, the video wing of the online community network, late on Sunday unveiled its first original Web series to give its users a television-like experience with the interactive benefits of the Internet.
"Roommates" will track the lives of four women in their 20s who have recently graduated from college and are living together in Los Angeles.
The Web show debuts on Monday, October 22, and runs through December 21 for a total of 45 episodes. A new, three-minute segment will play each day, Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. EDT. Fans are expected to engage characters online and influence the plot.
"There is an opportunity to interact with a show in different ways than have been done before," said Jeff Berman, general manager of MySpaceTV.
"Roommates" will utilize a real-time "polling tool" in which viewers' opinions on characters and plot developments will be sought. Fans can chat online, as well as post comments on the characters' individual Web profiles. The information will be scrutinized and the plot changed, accordingly.
Berman said MySpaceTV and the show's producers, Iron Sink Media, had enough episodes to get the program started, and future segments would be taped as it progressed.
"This was an opportunity for us to take some of the lessons from online series to date and apply them in a show where we are directing the creative development and working with an established Internet producer," Berman said.
Iron Sink has produced several Los Angeles-based Web series, including "WeHoGirls" and "VanNuysGuys."
With the success of video-sharing sites like YouTube, the Web is seen as an emerging medium where advertisers can find viewers who previously might have been drawn to TV.
Web shows like "LonelyGirl15" and "Prom Queen" have built loyal followings among teenagers and young adults.
MySpace is owned by media giant News Corp, which also operates the Fox TV network, and most U.S. TV networks are rapidly ramping up production of short "Webisodes" to recapture viewers they may be losing to the Web.
"Roommates" will be sponsored by Ford Motor Co's 2008 Focus automobile. The car will appear in episodes and ads will be on the show site.
Berman declined to comment on the show's production cost or revenue MySpaceTV will receive from Ford.