Bebo and "Lonelygirl15" creators launch UK version
The creators of the online phenomenon "Lonelygirl15" have joined forces with social networking site Bebo to create a British spin-off story that will use brands to help define the characters.
The organisers say the project will give advertisers the chance to pitch their products such as clothing or mobile phones at a younger audience who have moved in recent years from traditional media to the Internet.
The star of the show, to be called Kate Modern, will post a series of videos and have a profile on the Bebo site, allowing members to interact with her and fellow fictional characters.
The series follows "Lonelygirl15", the video diary of an American teenager called Bree which drew a huge following even after the revelation that Bree was in fact an actress and the diaries scripted by writers.
President of Bebo International, Joanna Shields, told Reuters Television that the project would allow a small number of brands regular access to a potentially huge following.
"If we do (the advertising) tastefully and well and people see that it is successful then it could be an opportunity for advertisers and brands to connect with this demographic," she said.
"Each time I connect with that character, the advertiser has a chance to send me a message."
Lonelygirl15 has received more than 50 million hits on the Internet and has occasionally incorporated advertising.
In the British version, Kate Modern will be a 19-year-old art student living in central London and the story will be set around the hip Carnaby Street.
The series will initially start on Bebo at the beginning of July before moving to YouTube and other networking sites.
Miles Beckett who helped create Lonelygirl15 said the original creation had worked because of the storyline.
"It combined the best elements of traditional story telling along with the technological innovations of the web," he told Reuters.
"So we had great characters, a great plot and then we added all the social networking features ... with people being able to message the characters, interact with them and really take part in the story."
The team said they did not think it would be an issue that "Kate Modern" was not a real person as "people watch television everyday".
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