Showtime sets screener site

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ATAS members will be getting a considerably smaller package of Emmy screeners from CBS Corp.'s Showtime this year, and that's just fine with the network.

Instead of mailing DVDs of its shows' full seasons to Primetime Emmy voters, Showtime will make the bulk of them available to television academy members online on a password-protected basis via Brightcove's new "Show" Web video platform.

The premium cable network will be the only network using Brightcove Show technology for this Emmy season.

This year, Showtime will send out only three DVDs, down from 20 last year, with select episodes. Voters also will get a brochure with a password to an ATAS-members' only site, sho.com/foryourconsideration, that will have full seasons of Showtime shows beginning Feb. 15.

"I live and work in Hollywood and I've done these campaigns for 15 years," Showtime executive vp corporate communications Rich Licata said. "There has always been a buzz of: 'I get too much stuff. I get it too late. How am I supposed to watch it all?' "

Along with reducing awards season clutter, the site also will give academy members 31/2 months to watch Showtime episodes before voting starts in June.

Licata added that Showtime will save "tens of thousands" of dollars through the initiative.

On the ATAS site, members will find the current seasons of "Weeds," "Dexter," "Brotherhood," "Californication" and "The L Word" along with fare that hasn't yet debuted, namely the second seasons of "The Tudors" and "This American Life," new series "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" and new TV movie "An American Crime."

Licata thinks others might take notice for the future: "It would behoove all of my peers who work on campaigns to consider something like this," he said. "It definitely is economical and ecological."

The site also will provide a "test bed" for the Show technology, which Brightcove chairman CEO Jeremy Allaire said will provide pictures that are "as good or better" than a DVD or broadcast. The platform will provide streams of "up to HD quality" and it will run on a Web browser without any downloads.

Allaire said that after this run, and other beta programs now in use by Sony BMG and Marvel Entertainment, he expects the Show platform to extend to other media companies that use Brightcove.

"We expect it to be rolled out across hundreds of media brands' online video initiatives," Allaire said. "This (Showtime initiative) is an excellent opportunity to put this into motion."

CBS Corp., Fox Entertainment Group, MTV Networks, A&E Networks, Discovery Communications and Warner Music Group are some of the other media companies that use Brightcove.

Brightcove and Showtime have been working together for several months on other video projects. The tech company also powers shortform ad-supported video content on sho.com, Showtime's official site, but the ATAS site will be the first time the network has used the new Brightcove platform.
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