Tech Briefs: Fuse Adds More Interactivity

Jun 27, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Youth-oriented network Fuse said it is building on its upfront promise to deliver on multiple platforms by adding interactive capabilities to three shows this summer. The net’s target audience is the 12-to-24-year-old crowd that excels at watching TV, surfing the Internet and sending text messages all at once.

That’s why Fuse plans to add live text to air to its popular show “Daily Download,” a recap of the day’s most popular downloaded music, said Robert Weiss, head of entertainment and digital media at the network. Starting July 1 viewers can send comments via a mobile phone on show-related topics. The comments will be scrolled on the screen within a few minutes of receipt.

“If we had Green Day in, during the interview our viewers would be able to text in questions our two co-hosts could ask the band,” Mr. Weiss explained. To date the show has offered Internet interactivity only in the form of online polls. “This is the first mobile phone interactivity for this show,” he said. It’s an incremental revenue opportunity, since Fuse TV charges a fee for text messages that’s split between Fuse and the wireless carrier.

Other new interactivity will be featured on “The Ultimate Gig.” The show is in a national VJ search, and viewers can vote from their mobile phones starting in July.

The network’s “Dedicate Live” show, which already includes mobile voting, will add the ability for viewers to send photos via a mobile phone or the Internet.

“To be relevant to our viewers, we need to exist in all the media, and not just in a passive way,” Mr. Weiss said. “A big part of the upfront this year was this approach, and we are monetizing not just the TV part but the mobile and Internet.”

Within four months, the network plans to introduce a mobile video service.

Lifetime Bolsters Online Features

As it lays the foundation to introduce a broadband section on its Web site later this summer, Lifetime added video diaries online earlier this month to promote hit shows “Missing” and “Strong Medicine.” The diaries are updated each week and feature a behind-the-scenes look at life on the set. “Missing’s” Vivica A. Fox introduces the creators of the show and tours her wardrobe area, while the camera follows new “Strong Medicine” star Rick Schroder as he chats with crew members, runs his lines while in makeup and even makes himself freshly squeezed orange juice one morning. “It’s sweet. A little bit sour, but sweet mostly,” he proclaims.

“It’s the parts you don’t get to see,” said Sibyl Goldman, executive producer for Lifetimetv.com. Lifetime promotes the video diaries on the home page of its site at Lifetimetv.com and plans links to them from fan sites. Later this summer the network will add more video, such as classic clips from “The Golden Girls” and “The Nanny.”