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SXSW: WB Hosts Interactive Playground

Studio highlights changes in viewing behavior with 'Tell-A-Vision' installation

Warner Bros. TV is making its SXSW Interactive bow this weekend with “Tell-A-Vision,” an immersive pop-up gallery playground and networking hub showcasing the some of the studio’s top storytellers and content by tapping into the new realities of creating and sustaining audience engagement.

Around 300 people lined up around the corner of Congress and Fifth St. Friday morning to be the first to check out the installation inspired by the NBC drama “Revolution,” which returns for the second half of its first season March 25.

The exhibit puts a thematically appropriate analog spin on several popular portals of modern communication. So “Instagram” is an original portrait-drawing station manned by local Austin artist Jon Lawrence, “Twitter” is an evolving floor-to-ceiling message chalkboard, “craigslist” is a swag exchange and so on.

By getting back to basics, the hands-on, hand-made vibe ends up underlining the crucial role of evolving technology to facilitate more direct communication between auds, creators and studio content marketers. (Coincidentally, Saturday’s conference sked included a panel on the impact of i-critics and the web watercooler on TV showrunners.)

In Tell-A-Vision’s adjoining swing space, Chuck Lorre’s notoriously irreverent vanity cards — enhanced in the coffeetable tome “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Bitter” published last year— are blown up in several 3D installations and lo-fi interactive zones. Lorre himself hit the SXSW conference Saturday afternoon in an on-stage conversation with author Neil Gaiman (“The Sandman”). 

On Sunday and Monday, the CW takes over the swing space with an exhibit and events that reveal how the net is harnessing digital platforms to extend the reach of hit shows “Arrow” and “The Vampire Diaries.” And the CW’s digital studio will be set up to take on-camera pitches for original digital series ideas for consideration by the studio. 

While WBTV has participated previous years on SXSW panels, the studio—like other TV content creators on the ground here—see great value in stepping off the convention floor and taking their message into the larger social context of this must-attend event.

“As technology evolves, the content is evolving and that also includes the way we’re communicating that content,” Sonia Borris, senior veep of marketing and operations for Warner Bros. Worldwide TV Marketing Group at the Tell-A-Vision popup. “Ultimately we came up with this idea because we want people to tell us their vision – so it becomes a meaningful experience for them and also gives us insight into our process.”

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