Samsung, New York TV fest partner for original content

With consumers purchasing more interactive TVs and smartphones, Samsung Electronics America has partnered with the New York Television Festival to develop original content for audiences to access on its devices.

The electronics company is ponying up $300,000 to produce the winning idea that comes out of the NYTVF’s new “Second Screen Storytellers” contest. Samsung will exclusively distribute the three-episode TV series backed with additional content to appear on mobile devices like the company’s Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.

Prize is the NYTVF’s largest to date, with a budget three times higher than in the past. Samsung also becomes the first consumer brand the org has worked with to offer a content deal.

It comes during a year in which the NYTVF is awarding more development pacts – 25 from 17 partners that include broadcast, cable channels and production studios, a record that’s up from five in 2011, and four in 2010. Org previously supported the annual Fox Comedy Script Contest, Comedy Central Short Pilot Competition and Unscripted Development Pipelines with A&E and Lifetime. Other partners include IFC, MTV, Syfy, VH1, Sundance, BIO, Logo, Hasbro Studios, SevenOne Intl, Channel 4, Warner Bros. Intl TV Prods and Fox Television Studios.

Peter Murray, Insignia Sports & Entertainment’s president and CEO, introduced Samsung to the NYTVF.

“When you think about our community of producers, it’s comprised of young tech- savvy TV loving creatives,” NYTVF founder Terence Gray told Variety. “In most cases, they’re watching traditional television on non-traditional platforms. We’re asking our creators to envision the best way to utilize that second screen in terms of storytelling and make it an extension to the main story.”

The NYTVF will accept entries for the Samsung competition Aug 6-Sept 21, with the winner announced at the 8th annual New York Television Festival, Oct. 22-27.

Submissions must include an original short pilot or excerpt scene six to 10 minutes in length, along with one piece of corresponding second screen content of around two minutes, as well as a series treatment outlining the show concept and second screen extension opportunities.

Samsung will bow the winning entry at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, in January.

Samsung previously offered two additional “Free the TV” challenges to develop interactive programming for its devices.

“Samsung is always exploring new ways to bridge the gap between multi-screen content delivery capabilities with today’s new generation of storytellers,” said Eric Anderson, VP of content and product solutions for Samsung Electronics America. “This is a great opportunity to introduce and help creators understand the possibilities of developing programs that take advantage of the way people interact with multiple screens in a relevant and compelling way.”

As a result, the company is looking to “shake up the model a little bit and see what comes out,” Anderson said. “The goal is to make the consumer experience better.”

Like many consumer electronics makers, Samsung is under pressure to differentiate itself from rivals.

“You constantly have to ask yourself, ‘How do I stand out for people who buy my product?'” Anderson said.

While the product will always be “the cornerstone” of its business, “the next level is really focused on the overall experience, which is the combination of technology, the content, applications and different business models working together,” Anderson said.

The key to making that work, however, is working more closely with content creators, Anderson stressed. “There are so many things that can be done today, but it’s our responsibility to work directly with the storytellers to learn from each other so that both sides can push the boundaries of where these capabilities are now,” he said. “The storytellers need to show us where they need to go and where they want to go to create new experiences. The consumer electronics devices provide the access.”

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