Sofia’s Diary

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I was very lucky to go to a briefing today about the future launch of “Sofia’s Diary”. Hosted by Bebo who are said to have launched the UK’s first Internet hit with Kate Modern.

Sofia’s Diary their second venture is being produced by Sony and is currently in casting phase. Speakers included Nuno Bernado – Creator of the international online show, Sofia’s Diary, Mike Shaw – comScore Europe and Joanna Shields – President of Bebo International

“The key to owning this space is that nobody knows everything… It’s about a conversation with people and to date we do not have all the answers”

Learnings from Kate Modern:

Based on the runaway success of Lonely Girl 15 Kate Modern has attracted 150,000 participants who have signed up as friends of Kate who has a profile on Bebo. This generates 7 million views and a considerable amount of time that these “fans” spend interacting and enviable figure in the hard to reach youth market.

Kate Modern has allowed the audience to participate in a real time event that includes interaction via web, mobile and even live interaction with the plot. Content of which was posted up participants shot on their own phones before the programme makers could get theirs up there

Brands like Orange, Microsoft, Disney and P&G successfully were able to integrate their brands into Kate Modern although my favourite ” brand engagement” was getting Jamie Bell to appear in the plot as a way of promoting the new film he appears in, Hallam Foe.

Nuno Bernado – Creator Sofia’s Diary:

“The traditional youth audience is very promiscuous when it comes to brands, the minute you get a new boyfriend or girl friend they’ll stop watching your show and when they break up you might find them watching you again. Sometimes there is little loyalty, so how do you build longer lasting relationships with them. We wanted to provide a way for people to interact with a show across all platforms in real time that they would feel more loyalty to, with someone, like Sophia”

Some rules

Start small and genuine to your audience- “we started with a blog and interest grew, we wanted to something that was more real and fitted in with our audience.

Be participative : If Sophia has a problem she asks people what she should do and we poll what people want and then shoot it that way.

Give control to the participant: It’s in real time so the first piece of content is released at 4.30pm and you can choose how you access and interact with the content where you are and whenever you want.

Be a franchise: Sophia’s World has spawned clothes lines, magazines, CD’s and even pop stars

How do we measure brand engagement?

Mike Shaw gave us a walkthrough the new landscape that social media is contributing to.

Interestingly web pages viewed have increased by 4% but time spent online has increased by 17% so time spent really is the new measure of engagement. Social media is driving this with the average amount of time spent on social media sites being 31 hours a month – with the top 20% spending 100 hours plus a month!

Bebo is due to overtake Google in terms of page impressions this month and user generated sites like YouTube have grown more than 200% year on year with our favourite broadcaster going from 63 to 194 million users between 2006 and 2007. So social media seems to be where the engagement is at and the potential for brands to get invloved is huge.

Final thoughts

My view is that the implications for brands, content providers, including traditional broadcasters and agencies is huge. Getting involved is the key. Cross media, immersive experiences like this hold the key to developing lasting relationships with brands.

Like the opening comments state we do not have all the answers, we have started on the journey and the first success has hit the our shores. Collaborative productions with real people funded by forward thinking brands made by canny production companies are an exciting prospect. Question is, are you any of the above?

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