Most, if not all, TV channel executives expect TV proposals to come with some multiplatform elements. This used to mean that a TV show would have it’s own website. You’ll get no points for suggesting that these days, though. You’ll need to consider whether the show can start online and migrate to TV, or whether you can build an army of committed fans by harnessing the power of social networks. Or perhaps you will build an online presence that is complementary to, but different from the main show.
Whatever you do, you must think through how you are going to attract users, moderate them and what your exit strategy is going to be. There are many digital producers who specialize in this kind of work, and they work in partnership with TV producers – or increasingly, are developing and pitching their own TV content.
The best way to understand multiplatform content is to use it – MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Wikepedia all have very different functions and different users (or the same users at different points in their day).
Take a look at how some TV shows have used the online space:
Addicted to Beauty – Oxygen – TV, online videos, original web series, merchandise, game, forums and blogs.
Battlefront – Ch4 – TV, video reports, blogs, campaign tools, partnership with Bebo.
Britain from Above – BBC 360 degree project: TV (BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4), geo-tagged original online videos, photographs, ‘making of’ videos, archive clips on YouTube, embedded Google maps, Google Earth, embeddable content.
Shark Runners Game – Discovery USA – TV (Shark Week), website, online game, email, text messaging.
Springwatch – BBC2 – TV series; website with blogs, message boards and webcam footage; official Flickr group with geotagged photos; book.
Chapter 6 in Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch, tells how a disparate group of Survivor fans joined forces online, and in real life, to pit their wits against the producers of the show to find out all the elements of the series, including the winner, before it transmits.
Read more in this series: