Cable taps in YouTube technology

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the U.S., and Endemol, the giant reality-show producer, have put together a plan to take user-generated videos to an even greater level of self-involvement.

Under the umbrella title “Ten-Day Take,” the blueprint starts with a push to get people to submit ideas on tape for proposed TV series to Ziddio, Comcast’s newly launched user-generated Web site. Comcast and Endemol will ask a panel of judges to select the most creative submission, which would then be developed and go into production as a full-fledged pilot.

Endemol promises to spend $50,000 on the pilot, allotting 10 days to the production. Endemol would tape a behind-the-scenes account of the making of the pilot, called “Ten-Day Take,” to be shown on Comcast’s on-demand service and on its Web site.

If the pilot shows promise, it could end up going to series.

“That would be a home run with the bases loaded,” said Liz Schimel, senior VP of entertainment for Comcast Interactive Media.

The whole point of the Comcast/Endemol initiative, she said, is to tap into people’s urge to show off their talent by starring in their own videos and shipping them off to YouTube, or by creating pages on MySpace or Facebook detailing every aspect of their lives.

Jon Vlassopulos, VP of business development, digital media and strategic planning, oversees the project for Endemol.

Comcast’s Ziddio is also collaborating with HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival for “No Talent Nation,” which asks amateur comics to submit videos of their best schtick to Ziddio. HBO and Ziddio will pick 10 winners, who’ll get the chance to perform at the festival, which runs Feb. 28-March 4 in Aspen, Colo. The digital music service Rhapsody.com is sponsoring the contest.

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