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MSN to Bankroll ‘Micro-Episodic’ Online Video Series

Microsoft teams with New York TV Festival to award $75,000 production deal to winner of super-short-form competish

Taking short-form video to the extremes of brevity, MSN is holding a worldwide competition that will award the winner $75,000 to produce an original Internet series comprising 12 roughly one-minute segments.

Microsoft’s online media division is teaming with New York Television Festival to host the “Short-Form Storytellers Challenge,” giving indie producers a chance to vie for the deal to create the short-form series for distribution on MSN. Submissions must include two episodes — each no longer than 120 seconds — and a description for the full series treatment.

“We’re looking for thought-provoking ideas that take advantage of short-form science,” said Adam Berliant, editor-in-chief of MSN Video and Entertainment. “I believe there are great ideas out there that have a tough time digging their way to the surface.”

MSN will attach “very few strings” to the production deal, Berliant said. Rather than a revenue-sharing pact, the company will enter into the project as co-production partner, he said, declining to provide additional detail. After a period of exclusivity on MSN, the show creator can distribute the micro-show elsewhere.

As far as content guidelines, Berliant said it’s more about what MSN can’t accept or doesn’t need: “We have plenty of hosts standing front of cameras with greenscreens.”

The digital competish is NYTVF’s first to accept submissions from outside the U.S. “We want to help define super-short video as an art form,” said NYTVF founder Terence Gray.

Entries are open to anyone 18 and older who do not have any contractual commitments preventing them from entering into a production deal with MSN. NYTVF will accept submissions from June 24 through Aug. 9; MSN will select five finalists to pitch their ideas to a panel of MSN and entertainment biz execs during the 2013 NYTVF’s Digital Day in October, and the winner will be crowned at the conclusion of the event. More info is at the festival’s website.

This year NYTVF has engaged in development partnerships with 15 TV networks, studios and digital companies, including Fox, NBC, A&E and History, guaranteeing 23 deals to indie creators.

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