Saturday, April 4, 2009

Virtual World DJ Reality Show in Development

Liminati Productions Developing DJ Reality Show, Virtual World
(via Virtual World News)

Music has been a draw for virtual worlds for some time. More and more worlds are starting concert series, selling music-related virtual goods, and even hosting American Idol-style contests as their basic draw. Antony van Zyl, though, is starting with the music and now looking for a virtual world. Van Zyl, who has been involved with virtual worlds as Managing Director of Slippcat and Co-founder of Simuality, is in the process of creating a reality show based on a DJ competition to be distributed through multiple channels, connect with audiences in multiple media, and center on a virtual world.

"Every person involved in the show, from production assistants to the celebrity DJ squads will be contractually obligated to spend time in the virtual world," said Van Zyl. "Both on a specific basis of doing Q&As and talk to the director sessions and the shows, but also, more importantly, ad hoc time in the virtual world, just being there. This comes down to engagement, but it's more than that. It's the ability for everyone who is interested in the show or a participant to be able to virtually visit with people you'd never be able to communicate with outside of dry formats like a comment on a blog or an email and a form response. You never know who you'll bump into or when."

The show itself, produced by Liminati Productions, will operate like a traditional reality competition in a 1-hour format. DJs will compete against each other in clubs around the world for a chance to win a $250,000 prize and a management contract. Celebrity judges and DJs as well as a major urban music management company have signed on for participation, though they're currently undisclosed.

Van Zyl points to a rising interest in music and reality television generally as well as DJing specifically--major publishers are already targeting the music video game market with multiple DJ Hero-style games over the next few years--as indicators for likely success. The secret sauce, though, is the interactive element across all kinds of devices.

"Today's users don't live in just one medium--entertainment needs to be ubiquitous across all these media, but other media are more passive," he said. "If the show is released 8pm Central, you could stroll into a virtual club and see it streamed live, watching as an avatar with other fans, and introducing it is the actual host for the show and sitting next to you is one of the contestants. Then next week you go to an event and the director is holding a Q&A in the virtual world, but it's promoted on the website and the show. And, most exciting, you may just be strolling along, bump into a contestant, and have a nice chat. Two weeks later, something you talked about with them appears on the show. That's what makes the new media exciting. The audience moves from being passive to active."

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