Dude, where’s my show?

Here's what Canadian nets are doing to engage viewers outside the box

Here’s what Canadian nets are doing to engage viewers outside the box

Playing games

CTV’s Pirate Master premiered alongside an online interactive game. Last month, viewers/gamers got the chance to win $10,000 in gold by predicting outcomes over 14 weeks. The net also launched an online contest that got viewers profiling a killer with the Criminal Minds team in April.

Corus Entertainment hit it big with a MMOG.

The YTV-backed massively multiplayer online game TheBigRip.com launched in February, and now has plans for an ever-expanding GalaXseeds universe. By May, TheBigRip.com had attracted 150,000 registered users, averaging 18 to 20 minutes of play. The MMOG model has already attracted marketer involvement. Skittles signed on to create Skittlization, a MMOG accessible through TheBigRip.com that puts five clans of users to work trying to save Planet Rainbow. Corus Television VP/GM interactive Lucie Lalumiere says plans are in the works to tie TheBigRip.com to YTV programming and consumer brands by ‘adding worlds that would be related to programming.’

Broadband ballyhoo

Degrassi: The Next Generation spawned cyber kin. For the launch, CTV went all out with 19 behind-the-scenes docs, 19 webisodes and about 40 other on-demand extras, including two animated mangasodes of the characters. In November, the net celebrated its first multi-program deal with a U.S. partner, Warner Bros., to put multiple shows on broadband. The net boasted that online viewers had downloaded 120,000 streams of The OC within the first 10 days.

CTV sister channels TSN and Discovery both launched fully operational, sponsor-supported broadband lineups this year. GM was the inaugural broadband sponsor for Discovery’s Big Live Events, which kicked off in April.

Alliance Atlantis specialties serve over 260,000 video streams weekly.

And it includes content produced only for the web. Big City Feelings – a web-only series – preemed on Showcase.ca in March, bringing viewers the story of a giant lizard, his superhero girlfriend and a horny ape. Billable Hours’ second season, which premiered on Showcase in April, was accompanied by Billable Minutes – two-minute segments that illustrate a storyline wherein the people in the show discover that they’re not actually lawyers, they’re actors.

Mobile mash-up

Rogers launched its new Vision phones with CSI clips.

Alliance Atlantis rolled out 140 two-minute clips from all three CSI brands, along with featurettes, voicetones and wallpapers for the March debut. Alliance is working with carriers to develop more video for the platform, primarily coming from Food Network and HGTV.

MTV Canada, MuchMusic and CMT viewers txt.

Mobile interaction works well for viewers wanting to submit music video requests, such as MuchMusic’s Countdown show, or questions for MTV Live celeb interviews. Both brands signed on for Amp’d Mobile’s spring launch this year.

CMT, with shows like Text Us (moderated chat), Dedicated (give us the story behind your request) and Power Trip (vote for the next video to hit the air), has been in the mobile participation game for a few years now. With a new partnership with Magnet Media in effect, the country net’s fall season will include several new shows with mobile participation options, including a week-long campaign in which viewers can vote for a Friday night movie.

Global launched The Canada Case Game.

The net created a contest which appeared in commercial pods for the Canadian edition of Deal or No Deal, with a microsite and mobile texting playing up the popular game show’s suitcase theme.

Prizing and sponsorship were provided by GM Pontiac and Sunquest.

CBC got the nation texting.

For Test the Nation, during 30-second interstitials, viewers were challenged to test their heart health smarts for a $6,000 Heart Healthy Makeover, courtesy of Pepsi-QTG’s Quaker Oats. The online extension recorded 116,000 participants last March, but no SMS stats are available. Expect to see more mobile opps when Test the Nation: Watch Your Language returns in the fall, along with continued mobile engagement tied to the pubcaster’s NHL coverage. JK