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A Reality TV Show, Minus the TV

07/08/2013 18:02

'Summer Break' Follows Nine Teenagers, but Only Through Social Media Like Twitter, Instagram.
LOS ANGELES—Two teenage boys sit by the airport here, competing to use their phones to take the best "selfie," or self-portrait, with planes landing in the background.
Trevis and Ray write about the experience on Twitter, post pictures on Instagram and put short videos on Vine. It might be an average day for any American teenager in 2013.
Peter Chernin sees the entertainment industry’s future in social media. This month, Chernin Group will launch “Summer Break,” a reality show of sorts to exist exclusively on sites like Twitter and Tumblr. Benjamin Fritz has details.
Hollywood producer Peter Chernin is betting it is the future of the entertainment industry.
On June 17, his Chernin Group takes its first step into distributing its own programming with "Summer Break," a reality show of sorts that will exist exclusively on social-media sites like Twitter and Tumblr, and is intended to be viewed on the mobile devices that dominate the lives of its target audience.
"Summer Break" will follow nine L.A.-area teenagers in the final days before most of them head off to college. But unlike traditional reality shows that complete shooting and are then edited into drama-fraught narratives, "Summer Break" will offer tweets, pictures and videos within minutes after cast members create them.

Sixty-second daily "episodes" assembled by professionals will typically post on YouTube within 24 hours of the events they portray. Weekly wrap-up videos will look like marathons by comparison, running three to five minutes each.
"This is on a level so much further than anything anybody has ever done—it is real life in real time on multiple platforms," said Mr. Chernin, a former president of News Corp NWSA -1.05% . "I love the riskiness of it."
By Hollywood standards, the financial risk is actually quite low. The entire eight-week season of "Summer Break" is said by several people involved to cost under $5 million to produce. Mr. Chernin said "the lion's share" of that amount was paid for by sponsor AT&T Inc., T +0.42% which has been involved throughout the development process. Roughly half the total budget is going toward marketing—all on social media, just like the show itself.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324904004578537762775119412.html