As CBC debuts a new season of prime-time dramas and comedies this week, a number of complementary digital media, social media and transmedia elements will also be unveiled, with more to follow in coming weeks.
Social TV integration, interactive companion apps and exclusive online content will be a key part of CBC’s stated drive to engage audiences and attract new viewers using digital media.
The public broadcaster is building on recent success and international recognition for its mobile and Web-based media projects, such as the Social TV award for its Heartland Facebook game.
And it continues to working with a number of Canadian and international digital content and development companies to integrate its programming with new platforms for multi-screen program delivery.
“With storytelling shifting from a one-way, linear activity to a more compelling audience-controlled experience, it’s our goal to create experiences that entertain, enlighten and connect with Canadians during, and beyond the broadcast,” said Tessa Sproule, CBC’s Director of Interactive Content.
By way of example, the already-successful Heartland social gaming experience is being expanded with two new mini-games modeled after real equestrian events; both are independent of the episodic story-driven activities the main game provides.
The Heartland Ranch social game is produced by the CBC, Vancouver based digital agency OverInteractive Media, and Seven24 Films, with the support of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund.
As well, having successfully launched a second-screen app last year for Over the Rainbow, CBC is again teaming up with TV Plus and the Konrad Group to make a play-along experience that features extra content that’s synced with the broadcast.
The Republic of Doyle Ride Along App (available now on the App store and as a web-app) offers additional scenes, extended story content, polls, a trivia challenge with real prizes, behind-the-scenes videos and more –all during the broadcast– all built on a curated social experience with both Facebook and Twitter.
The Ride Along App is produced by CBC with Take the Shot Productions, The Konrad Group, a Web and mobile app developer with offices in New York, Toronto and Chicago, and TVPlus.
Several companion app development projects and digital media initiatives are supported by the Canada Media Fund.
Prime time comedies are not immune to the digital developments either, as Mr. D. discovers in a new "choose your own adventure" app developed for the show.
Audiences will have a chance to play out entire comedic adventures online, using a new platform that presents and integrates dozens of different situations in hundreds of possible combinations.
Mr. D: Sick Day is produced by the CBC with Topsail Entertainment, utilizing technology by interactive media developer Interlude, working out of Tel Aviv, New York and California, that seamlessly marries video with decision-making opportunities.
This second season of northern adventure show Arctic Air will feature an original documentary series highlighting how the show is made.
From creating forest fires with digital and practical effects to how a full airline is built and operated, the original series will highlight and de-construct key moments from each episode for the audience.
Arctic Air Season II Interactive is produced by the CBC and Vancouver-based media production companies Omnifilm Entertainment and Switch United, with the support of the CMF
In addition, the season finale will be a transmedia storytelling event – an interactive Extended Episode, featuring a gripping plotline that takes place in parallel to the events on the TV screen, telling the other half of the complete story of Arctic Air’s season finale.
Other CBC shows and digital companion developments include Cracked: The Psych Crimes Unit Case Files, inspired by the real life experiences of a Toronto Police Officer.
Each week, new original material is added to the Psych Crimes and Crises database that allows users to go through detailed evidence to get a full look at crimes and criminals based on real world cases.
The Cracked Psych Crimes Unit Case Files are produced by the CBC and White Pine Pictures.
More sleuthing and investigation is supported in a new transmedia mystery developed to extend the sixth season of the popular Murdoch Mysteries series. Online episodes, exclusive Web videos and an interactive time machine that takes users back to Toronto of the 1890's are all part of the show's microsite.
Launching January 31, a new part game, part Web series called Nightmare on Queen Street is described as an immersive, interactive six-week experience with video, audio, photos, documents and other evidence, punctuated with fun, challenging puzzles and cryptographic conundrums.
Nightmare on Queen Street is Co-produced by the CBC, Shaftesbury Films and its digital division Smokebomb Entertainment, with the support of the CMF.
For more Mediacaster Magazine coverage related to this topic, please see:
CBC Takes Social Media to Heartland with New Facebook App
Artist's Life and Mysterious Death Turned into Documentary, Interactive Companion Site
Award-winning Heartland App Connects with TV Fans Online
CRTC Chair Says Digital Services Part of the CBC Licence Review
Experiential Marketing Campaign Promotes New CBC Series, Arctic Air