BBC seeks 'Life' in youth demo

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The BBC has commissioned its most expensive interactive broadband show to date in a bid to woo the youth audiences who are abandoning the pubcaster, director of future media Ashley Highfield said Thursday.

The pubcaster will spend £800,000 ($1.6 million) on the Endemol-produced "Signs of Life," an 8x20 interactive drama that generates a psychological profile of users based on interactive choices they make in the plot lines.

Recent BBC research suggests that one in four 16-to-34-year-olds do not watch any BBC services. Ten years ago, almost 95% of that demographic was watching.

With a budget comparable with mainstream television dramas, "Life" is described by Highfield as the BBC's "most ambitious format to date."

The BBC's head of digital also said that the trend toward online and on-demand viewing means that the BBC will have to re-evaluate viewing success.

"We need to rethink the idea that if something is successful, it goes to BBC1. We need to perhaps think that something is successful if it is a success on YouTube," Highfield said.

Estimates that as much as 25% of all viewing will be off-line or on-demand within 10 years are "modest," she said.
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