Monday 13 August 2007

Live blog - Virtual Reality TV

(May not be able to cover all of this. I want to save battery for Ian Livingstone at 16:30).

Peter Cowley: I want to explore where the world of tv and the world of games will interact in the future. The consumers who enjoy our content are moving a lot quicker than us in the tv industry. There are a large amount of similarities between the developer industry and the producer industry in television. The one major difference I noticed is that in television, we have had government intervention has allowed us to protect our intellectual content around the world.

Endemol is a big independent tv producer who is trying to be a content producer. Began with Big Brother, also Deal or No Deal, Fame Academy etc. We are big believers in growing the number of genres of television. Big Brother had natural extensions into platforms other than tv, internet streaming and so on. We also try to repackage some of the brands and recreate them on other platforms in particular mobile and online flash based games. This helps us to work out where our future is.

The big broadband companies are looking at commissioning content and repackaging content from the likes of us.

We don't believe television or the games industry will go away, but there will be convergence between the producers of television and the games industry.

Its not just about creating the content, its about understanding the audience. As we move into the digital space, we have to understand how people use these services and how we can make use of these.

The tv industry has been slightly put off by the use of interactivity by the [failure] of interactivity around the red button interactivity of set top boxes.

The blurring of physical and virtual is going to have a huge effect on how the content has delivered. Second Life, David Tench, Kate Modern. It should be possible to create real time avatars with the [mechanics] to get facial expression in a television show. LonelyGirl15. Banner advertising on social networks doesn't work so well, however Kate Modern is an attempt to bridge the gap and uses brands such as Orange MSN and Pantene in every day life.

We are all trying to adapt to this new consumer world.

Endemol has created a small development environment in-house to extend the game show experience. Gambling and skill-gaming which has huge amounts of money in quite a small niche area, and the providers who have had to get out of this space in the US have got smarter in this area. Flash based video and flash based games are an attempt to generate revenue in this area. Deal or No Deal is the first working in this area. It is a game of chance that has a brand related to it and we have been able to create fixed odds betting games, slot machines, scratch cards, java mobile games, interactive DVD, board games that extend on it.

We've tried to take the excitement into a multiplayer online game. A Deal or No Deal equivalent of online poker.

We've experimented with Big Brother in Second Life and is interesting and made us believe there is quite a lot of legs in extending brands to worlds like Second Life. Like a lot of people we have yet to find the killer business model and are still experimenting.

Big Brother has done well in the social networking area. This year, we have gone to online casting for the next Big Brother show. People want to talk about Big Brother, and would like to have a chance to be on Big Brother or their friends to be or Big Brother.

Roar: the Game has more unique visitors to the website than viewers of the television show. Appeals to an audience that is leaving television shows in droves. Roar is a tamagotchi style game where you grow your zoo. We didn't have a link between the television show and the game, so we built cheat codes into the television show. For the first time, the website is bigger, braver and bolder than the television show. The cheat codes did brilliantly well.

ILand (not misspelled) is 'third-life' which uses an online community to go to a real community on an island. Sold to AOL USA as a multimillion pound broadband concept. The founding family is elected online, and new people are recruited to a real world island on an ongoing process. AOL USA took this to the upfronts in the States and was successful in this approach to the tv advertisors and networks.

Signs of Life is an interactive flash drama for teens, by the BBC. Not much more details can be made available. An attempt to get young people to be interested in the news. Ideas that could story tell online. Combines tv produced drama with game-like interactivity. You can watch 8 episodes of 6 minutes. Within each episode, using Flash video you can solve puzzles, play games and has an online personality test that matches the episode. You can then import this personality test into Face Book, Bebo etc.

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