@ FutureMedia: MySpaceTV’s First UK Commission; Bebo Feels Boundaries

MySpace international SVP Travis Katz, Beyond The RaveTwo of the big social networks are doing their utmost to become commissioners of TV-like interactive drama series.

MySpace: MySpace today announced it will release the first new movie from iconic UK horror producer Hammer Films in 30 years on its video site in the spring. Beyond The Rave, starring Sadie Frost, is the social network’s first joint commission in the UK. It will be released on the site in 20 four-minute webisodes, then made available for commercial download and on DVD. MySpace international SVP Travis Katz (pictured) told the FutureMedia conference in London: “It’s an exciting moment for MySpace and the UK film industry as a whole to start pioneering this way of doing things out of London and out of the UK.” It will be interesting to see how MySpace tackles the question of film certificates – by default, a horror movie is likely to be an “18”, but how will this be enforced online?

In the US, MySpaceTV already has fresh series commissions in the shape of Roommates and Quarterlife. Katz said Roomates had got over 5.8 plays and sponsor Ford is “calling for us to do another series … we’re getting enquiries from other branded advertisers”. Quarterlife will air on NBC in February or March. Two months in to MySpaceTV’s launch, it’s getting 80,000 new videos uploaded per day, 50 million streams per month and two thirds of plays are coming from individual users’ profiles, where clips can be embedded.

Bebo: Meanwhile, Bebo is figuring out just how many TV commissions it can fit on its website. The social net already has Lonelygirl15 spin-off series KateModern, is planning to run Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures TV International’s remake of Portuguese reality drama Sofia’s Diary and Endemol’s upcoming social network reality series The Gap Year. Bebo international president Joanna Shields told FutureMedia delegates: “We’re in the process of understanding just how much the network can hold in terms of content.” She said the network could probably carry three or four commissioned shows simultaneously – “more than that and it stretches the boundaries“. Bebo has been particularly active in commissioning TV-like social network dramas, but this would seem to suggest there may only be room for one more on the system if all shows run during the same calendar.

KateModern averages 1.5 million views per week and recorded a top week of over three million, Shields said, “making it more than a match for terrestrial broadcast peers such as Hollyoaks and Skins”. Sounds like a “come-and-get-me” to Channel 4.