Up until now, social media series like “@SummerBreak” have driven viewers to individual platforms like YouTube Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. But new media venture ShowMobile is putting all of that interactive storytelling in one place.
The company, which plans to launch a new channel with teen singer Austin Mahone early Tuesday, already has a hit among young Internet users with “HitStreak,” an original scripted series that follows four aspiring teen singers in Miami working to make their dreams of becoming pop sensations a reality.
Each installment of “HitStreak” starts out as a new YouTube video that then continues the story on Twitter, Instagram and through text messages that are posted by characters but viewable on one feed through ShowMobile’s app available for Apple and Android-powered smartphones.
The series has generated nearly 35 million views, two million in-app episodic views and another two million social engagements since launching in October. “HitStreak” fans also tend to check in with the show six times a day and spends on average 11 minutes with the app, ShowMobile said. Seventy percent of its audience also tends to be girls 13-19 years old.
ShowMobile’s all-in-one app, developed by music vet Eric Foster White (a producer for Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys) over the past three years, is meant to make finding the content and following the story easier for fans. But for marketers, it’s also key to making sure its sponsored ads are seen.
And for content creators, ShowMobile has made producing entertainment a simpler process than before, with an innovative Microsoft Outlook-like interface that lets users schedule when new video or social media posts are released simply by dragging the files to a calendar.
Mahone’s deal with ShowMobile, will create a new channel that aggregates all of the 18-year-old teen idol’s social media activity and provide exclusive content for fans into a single feed. Mahone has 5.8 million followers on Twitter, 3.7 million on Instagram and nearly 3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
The new ShowMobile channel will also give fans the opportunity to earn ShowMobile “stars,” which can be used to purchase virtual goods and qualify to win experiences and prizes. The star system is essentially ShowMobile’s way at rewarding fans for viewing content while providing advertisers with another way to make sure their promos have been watched. It’s a kind of “gamification” of content that started in the mobile games biz but has quickly founds its way into other forms of entertainment.
Timing of Mahone’s channel comes as the singer is readying to launch new album, “The Secret,” on May 27.
Viewers of “HitStreak” have also watched videos multiple times to see comments left by fans that are embedded into each episode and replaced with new ones as new submissions are made — another way to encourage audience engagement.
Fans who download the ShowMobile app will get to view the fifth and final episode of Mahone’s “#TourLife” series will be made exclusive to ShowMobile users first.
Content creators that use ShowMobile’s platform share advertising revenue with the company. Just how much depends on the type of integrated ad and how users interact with it.
Clickable ads can be embedded into videos, for example, while the sale of virtual goods can also be made through the app. Additional social media platforms can be added to ShowMobile’s platform should content owners want to use them.
Either way, ShowMobile’s made-for-mobile production platform should give content owners a new way to engage with fans in between episodes of a traditional TV show or in between seasons when the show is off the air or in repeats. It’s also a way to keep characters alive in between film sequels, or books for young adults series, and provide a way to revive characters when a show has been canceled or ended its run.
Mahone’s involvement with ShowMobile doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The singer, who launched his career on YouTube, has kept up with his rabid fanbase across most social media channels.
“ShowMobile makes a lot of sense to me,” Mahone said in a statement. “Having everything in one place so my Mahomies don’t have to go from app to app is a no brainer.”
As Denver-based ShowMobile signs up new channels, it’s looking to expand its “HitStreak” series into new seasons (it recently wrapped its second), and spin offs. There are plans to produce “HitStreak Nashville” that will feature country music, and a British version for overseas audiences.
White came up with the idea for ShowMobile after watching how kids interact with video on their smartphones. The concept of a single feed was easy. But it took three years to develop the technology with a team of designers in Denver.
With ShowMobile’s app, “people who are fans of shows like ‘@SummerBreak’ don’t have to chase it around anymore,” White said. “Using other portals as storytelling means is old thinking. We use YouTube as a second window.”
Paradigm brokered the deal between ShowMobile and Mahone. The agency reps both.