MySpaceTV, the video wing of the online community network, today unveiled its first original web series to give users a television-like experience with the interactive benefits of the internet.
The series, 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 tomorrow and runs until December 21 for a total of 45 episodes.
A new, three-minute segment will play each day, from Monday to Friday. 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 utilise 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 scrutinised 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 US TV networks are rapidly ramping up production of short "Webisodes" to recapture viewers they may be losing to the web.
Berman declined to comment on the show's production cost or revenue MySpaceTV will receive from sponsor, Ford.
From Another source:
MySpaceTV will debut its new interactive Web series, Roommates, today.
The show will air three-minute mini-episodes Monday through Friday until Dec. 22. The show takes advantage of the online exchanges between MySpace users and encourages fans to add characters to their list of friends, send messages, and weigh in on the roommates' activities.
The show features eight friends just out of college -- four women living together in Los Angeles and four out of town. Each has a profile on MySpace. Roommates, sponsored by Ford, will feature interactive polls, online discussion, chat, and comments.
Fans can subscribe to the series. They also can download four songs from the show's soundtrack for 99 cents each.
As of Monday morning, the show listed 508 friends, offered viewers introductions to the characters, and provided a video tour of the home. Chloe, one of the out-of-towners, says on her profile that she doesn't watch television. It's unclear whether she watches MySpaceTV.
MySpace, the most popular social networking site on the Web, is owned by News Corp., which also is the parent company of Fox. The site's airing of Prom Queen proved popular, but Roommates has something the earlier show did not. Its content is original, which is a first for MySpaceTV.
In addition to its creation of content for entertainment, MySpace has also recently jumped into political issues, launching election pages and fund-raising tools. The site teamed up with MTV to hold interactive debates on college campuses and candidates created profiles on the site long before their first debate.