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Bebo and Next-Gen Online Storytelling August 6, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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So I did talk to some of the folks at social network Bebo last week, and they have a compelling vision about the future of online entertainment. That’s why, they claim, the Lonelygirl15 creators want to work with them, rather than with Hollywood suits for their new show, KateModern. The thinking is, we’re re-inventing storytelling for this medium, and, hey, that’s cooler than selling out. At least for now.

Key elements of the shared vision:

– Thou shalt optimize — not re-purpose — for the medium
– It’s short-form, but it’s also serial
– Self-expression is a key characteristic of the medium
– Bebo is a community; YouTube is distribution
– Video content still has quality standards
– Interaction happens around the video, but that doesn’t rule out mash-ups and UGC additions
– It’s mobile and will have reality-game elements

So far, Bebo isn’t playing all the roles of either a studio or of a TV network. (It’s just one show for the moment.) But it does bring along an audience, and it will secure sponsors to support the show(s). There’s a product placement kind of angle to sponsorships, but not in a conventional sense. Bebo says three P&G brands (Pantene, Tampax, Gillette) are involved, as are Microsoft and Orange.

Definitely worth watching.

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