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Reality TV in a booth

Publishing & Media

M-Net, South Africa's premier movie and entertainment network, recently combined hot tech applications with reality TV to create an inventive hyper-multimedia approach to consumer-created entertainment. Or in plain speak: a world's first for Reality TV in a booth!

How nice that the ENTIRE world is now not only watching Reality TV, but also contributing to the endless stream of format innovations. Point in case: M-Net, South Africa’s premier movie and entertainment network, recently combined hot tech applications with reality TV to create an inventive hyper-multimedia approach to consumer-created entertainment. Or in plain speak: the world’s first Reality TV in a Booth! Launched in February 2004, B on M-Net was the first incarnation of M-Net’s idea to combine cell phone-activated TV cameras, the SMS platform, a dedicated interactive website, and an entertainment twist on POPUP RETAIL and GRAVANITY trends to produce reality TV content. Unlike most reality shows, no application process or contest was used to screen B on M-Net hopefuls. Remote mobile studios popped up in shopping malls, and anyone was welcome to step inside and “do their thing” for a chance at instant stardom. Special technology allowed entrants to dial a number from their cell phone to activate the TV cameras, and then a live M-Net director remotely guided them through the process of recording their clip on the spot. Choices in clip themes included “Dare 4 A Dream” (entrants performed a dare for the chance to have a friend’s lifelong dream fulfilled), “UB Da VJ” (introducing and dedicating a music video), and “Leap Year Wedding Proposal” (best proposal wins an all-expenses-paid wedding). The best – and worst – clips were selected by the show’s staff for broadcast on a dedicated B on M-Net channel. Entrants whose clips were chosen received notifications via SMS, and the audience voted via SMS and the show’s website on the ultimate winners. M-Net moved fast to capitalize on the success of the first show. B on GO launched in June, uses the same unique production model, and is a more refined version of B on M-Net. Stats from the first show identified the youth demo as the primary market, so M-Net discontinued the dedicated channel and now airs the broadcasts on their existing youth channel, GO. Popular B on M-Net entrants have been tapped for B on GO hosting duties, and the clip themes have been expanded to include categories like “R U a Babe”, “R U a Hunk”, and “Celebrity Q&A” (Source: TrendCentral). 5 half-hour themed episodes are broadcast daily, and the website now includes expanded content and interactive capabilities. Repeat after Springwise: There’s nothing a human being won’t do to claim his or her 15 minutes of fame.

Opportunities

There’s two things we like about Reality TV: it’s GRAVANITY fueled (and thus about making billions, not millions), and the number of formats seems infinite. Spotting or introducing the successful ones is key, and in this global economy, it pays to keep an eye out for ideas outside the usual suspects (UK, Holland (Endemol), US). So if you’re not in South Africa, but you ARE in media: grab B on GO’s idea and run with it! From major TV Networks to big corps looking to spice up their marketing activities, bringing Reality TV or Reality PC to the masses is a no-brainer. Email your colleagues or buddies in Joburg or Capetown, study TRENDWATCHING.COM’s GRAVANITY, POP-UP RETAIL and GENERATION C trends, and you’re good to go!

Website: B on M-Net

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