CW Digital (CWD), the digital-only studio of The CW Network in the United States, has acquired original digital comedy series Backpackers from Shaftesbury’s digital media division, Smokebomb Entertainment.
CTV has also ordered the series for deployment across the full suite of CTV and Bell Media digital platforms.
“The sale to CW Digital guarantees an exciting North American launch for Backpackers, representing a new opportunity for broadcast and digital media to come together to create content,” said Maggie Murphy, Co-Head, Shaftesbury U.S.
“We are delighted to have CWD on board with Backpackers,” said Jay Bennett, Vice President and Creative Director, Smokebomb Entertainment. “As one of several original digital series that Smokebomb has to offer, Backpackers represents the culmination of the best of television, interactive and social content.”
Offering a live-action, straight-play narrative as well as an interactive choose-your-own-adventure style app, Backpackers follows best friends Ryan and Brandon on a wild goose chase across Europe in search of Ryan’s fiancée, Beth. Targeted to the advertiser-friendly A18-34 demographic, the digital series will be shot on location in Europe in spring 2013 with delivery of eight, six-minute episodes to CWD and CTV in Q2.
In order to capture the freedom and spontaneity that comes from backpacking across Europe, Backpackers will be offered in a choose-your-own-adventure format via the Backpackers App, which will launch in conjunction with the digital series.
Backpackers is funded with the participation of the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream and the OMDC’s Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.
With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator, producer and distributor of original content for television and multiple platforms in more than 120 countries worldwide. Recent productions include four seasons of The Listener for CTV and Fox International Channels; six seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment and most recently CBC; the global hit kids’ series Life with Derek; and Ken Finkleman’s comedy series Good God for The Movie Network and Movie Central.
Shaftesbury’s award-winning digital media division, Smokebomb Entertainment, creates original, interactive multiplatform content as well as media-rich online and mobile companion experiences for broadcast properties. Smokebomb has developed several original series for digital deployment, including Backpackers, Totally Amp’d, State of Syn and the International Emmy-nominated Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs.