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Somethin' Else markets multi-platform software for TV drama

Somethin' Else markets multi-platform software for TV drama
Pippa Considine
08 April 2013

Somethin’ Else has developed a multi-platform storytelling kit, Story Farm, based on its work for Company Pictures' Skins drama on Channel 4.

The kit is a software platform, together with a package of strategic and support services, designed to give dramas or soaps an integrated transmedia aspect, using web-based platforms and social media.
Somethin’ Else is taking Story Farm to MIPTV, where it is looking to license it to producers, broadcasters and brands.
The Story Farm software enables the writing, scheduling and publishing of content to digital platforms. It is designed to be used by story editors and scriptwriters, including importing from scriptwriting software. Images and video can also be loaded on directly by the production team.

The system contains tools designed to track content through broadcasters’ compliance processes. It also has a comprehensive verification system to ensure smooth scheduling and commercial-grade reliability for time-sensitive publishing, such as simultaneously with television shows.
The package of services offered by Story Farm includes technical support and training with the software, content planning and production, publishing content and interacting with audiences, providing analysis and audience strategy.

Somethin’ Else will work closely with producers on devising and executing content strategies, teaching techniques and best practice in multi-platform drama storytelling, and providing analysis reports and advise on how to progress engagement.
The Story Farm kit covers:
·        Characters interacting online - social media profiles for characters allow the audience to make friends with them and see character-to-character interactions alongside the editorial content of the TV programme
·        Mobile app - a mobile application enables the audience to see regular SMS, voicemails and emails between characters - either between shows or while the show is happening.
·        Fictional websites - fictional websites – e.g. the local newspaper or gossip site – can provide in-world news about the storyworld
·        “Shop Window” area of the drama’s website – a central place where the audience can catch-up on the social media and online content, for those who miss it in real-time.

"There is a real appetite in the industry for reaching out to audiences where they are spending time, online and on digital platforms, during and beyond when shows are on TV," says Paul Bennun, chief creative officer, Somethin’ Else. "Drama series and soaps in particular have massive potential for existing in the digital world through characters and other elements of their fictional story worlds.
“Through our own experience we saw that the existing technology and procedures for publishing digital content around TV shows needed improving, so we decided to build our own software platform from scratch to create a robust and effective system.”
Somethin’ Else developed Story Farm while working closely with Company Pictures on the digital storytelling around series five and six of the hit teen Channel 4 drama Skins. Somethin’ Else was commissioned to bring the drama’s characters alive online, and built its own platform for writing, scheduling and publishing to digital in order to make
The resulting activity – which covered social networks, fictional websites and exclusive in-character video posts – quadrupled in reach each series, increased Facebook ‘likes’ in the official Skins profile group by 1.3 million over the course of two series, and built fan interactions with individual character social pages to over 90,000 for the final series.

A full case study on the Skins work can be found here.

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