Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stargate Universe / Sanctuary - Business Week: Possible Web Video Productions?

At Business Week:

(Please follow the link for the complete interview.)

SCIFI Channel: Playing to the Tech-Savviest Fans

The network was putting TV on the Web a decade ago, and innovation remains the watchword

By Chris Albrecht

May 11, 2009

Nerds across the galaxy strapped on their pointy ears and beamed into theaters to catch the big budget reboot of Star Trek this weekend. Science-fiction fans may be the butts of Klingon jokes, but they are also early adopters and provide fertile ground for new media experimentation. Case in point: the SCIFI Channel.

I spoke with Craig E. Engler, senior vice-president and general manager of SCIFI's digital arm, to find out what it does to tap into the power of this rabid fan base. "We have a very techno-savvy audience," said Engler. "It's a younger, more modern audience. They jump into this stuff."

... SCIFI also does original productions for the Web such as DVICE, a show about tech and gadgets. While the network has a number of original scripted shows in the works for the Web, none have moved beyond the development stage. But that doesn't dim Engler's enthusiasm for the medium. "We're fully integrated with our West Coast development team," said Engler. "Any online show is a default pilot for on-air."

Besides creating content for the Web, SCIFI has found content there. Both Tripping the Rift and more recently Sanctuary originated online and were brought to TV. Sanctuary enjoyed a strong debut on the network and was picked up for a second season.

One of the more innovative programs SCIFI ran was providing tools and footage from Battlestar for users to create their own fan films. Viewers could incorporate official shots of the Galactica, Cylons, and other special effects into their own works. Engler said the site received hundreds of submissions, and considered the program a success, but didn't duplicate it. "We don't like to repeat ourselves. We like to find the right tool for the right show," he said.

SCIFI is expanding its digital tool set this year. Engler said his division is already in talks with the producers of upcoming shows Stargate Universe and Warehouse 13 about integrating and extending their storylines with Web video. "We're always looking for broadband video expansion," he said.


Craig Engler's Twitter site - Craig tweets about Stargate, Sanctuary and more.

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