Most TV shows have their own website these days, but now, turning the tables, some websites are actually spawning their own TV shows.
Case in point: Classmates.com
, a website where school friends, lovers, prospective lovers and even enemies look to reacquaint themselves, recently got its own reality TV show, in cooperation with News Corp’s Twentieth Television. Each segment of the show will feature one person looking for a long lost acquaintance, old lover or kindergarten friend. The searchee won’t know who is trying to contact them, and the show will profile the people separately, leading up to their reunion.
The business angle? Classmates.com’s 35 million registered users, who not only provide the show’s content (Classmates.com claims to generate about 300 to 500 possible story leads a day), but also represent a massive number of potential viewers and a source of ‘buzz’. Which is what all networks are after, anyway.
Classmates is not the only one expanding from cyberspace to air waves:
– Celebrity crime Web site The Smoking Gun
is creating two half-hour shows for broadcast on cable channel Court TV (due to air in August), joining a genre of popular gotcha shows like ‘Cops’. The Smoking Gun was acquired by Court TV in 2000.
– Sony Pictures Television is behind eBayTV, airing live auctions. Due to complications in getting software out to stations, the show’s launch has been postponed until fall 2004, but should be able to benefit from Ebay’s 1 trillion or so worshippers.
– National Public Radio is working with Microsoft-owned online journal Slate
on a one-hour weekday program called ‘Day to Day, which will feature news topics of the day.
, a popular women’s website with an online community of almost 15 million visitors, is planning a TV series based on internet dating. Tentatively named iDate, the program will follow internet based relationships starting with the initial email exchanges and culminating with the face-to-face meeting. (Sources: AdAge, News.com, TrendCentral.)
Springwise’s suggestion to everyone with a website boasting lots of visitors and good name recognition: start looking for the stories behind your content, visitors, members and customers, then turn it into a TV format and start pitching to the networks. Or, if you are in TV yourself, do some due diligence amongst your favorite websites. Perhaps you should buy one, like Court TV did with The Smoking Gun? May we suggest that Amazon.com set up some sort of book club hosted by one of the thousands of ‘garage influentials
‘ who send in their book reviews to the site? We also think that Gawker.com
would make for fantastic TV; a daily show loaded with (in their own words) “city news including urban dating rituals, no-ropes social climbing, Conde Nastiness, and downwardly mobile i-bankers” 😉
And that’s just the US: what about UK-based Lastminute.com, one of Europe’s largest online travel players, whose popular weekend trips must be the source of endless stories of romance, deceit and adventure? Last one: a Google.com show bringing us ‘today’s most interesting searches and the people behind it’. Oh well, you get the picture!
Update | September 2003
Craig’s List & The SimsEarlier, we alerted you the emerging trend of websites turning into ‘traditional’ media programs, from the Smoking Gun and Classmates.com TV series to the Slate radio show.Latest websites to join the list of omni-presence seekers: popular online game The Sims
and Craig’s List
. The latter is an open forum for posting anything from ‘casual encounters’ to apartment rentals and jobs. The site receives 1.2 million postings a month. ‘Craig’s List: The Movie’ follows the stories of various people who posted ads for jobs, poodles, husbands, a ’70s-style backup band and more, all on the same day: Aug. 4, 2003. (Source: WiredNews.com.)Meanwhile, in the wild, wild world of online gaming, Fox Broadcasting has reportedly signed a deal with the makers of The Sims and Sim City, giving the network a first shot at TV formats based on gaming/experience formats from the Sim City Empire. (Source: gamespot.com)Springwise’s suggestion to everyone with a website boasting lots of visitors and good name recognition hasn’t changed: start looking for the stories behind your content, visitors, members and customers, then turn them into a TV format and start pitching to the networks! Doom TV? ‘Friends Reunited’ reality TV?
25th September 2003
Website: www.classmates.com/, www.thesmokinggun.com/