NBC Universal Digital Studio, Samsung Electronics and its media agency Starcom will start up what the companies say is the first globally distributed digital series "FCU: Fact Checker's Unit." It will be available on broadband, mobile and video-on-demand platforms.
The six-episode series -- based on a popular short film -- will be used to launch a new Android-based smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S. Each episode will run around 5 to 6 minutes.
Major TV stars are set to premiere in the show: Luke Perry, Alex Trebek, Dave Navarro, Karolina Kurkova, Donald Faison, Jon Heder and Zach Gilford. The series is about the adventures of two overzealous fact-checkers who work for an entertainment magazine -- and who stop at nothing to check the most absurd celebrity facts.
NBC has produced about seven original digital series over the last two and a half years with various partners. What is different here, according to Cameron Death, vice president of NBC Universal Digital Studio, is that the other series were just U.S.-distributed.
In addition to its worldwide launch, "FCU" will be distributed day-and-date across all global platforms. The air date will be sometime in August.
More than other shows, Death believes the top-drawer casting raises the level of Internet TV series. "It speaks to the quality," he says. "The talent just keeps getting better and better. It further validates [these shows] for talent and brands as well."
Just as with other series, there will be a high level of promotion -- using valuable on-air time via NBC Universal's Syfy channel (especially for its international distribution) and the NBC network as well. NBC also heavily uses video-on-demand channels for promotion of its digital TV series.
The deal is a part of a broader agreement Samsung has with NBC -- which will tie in a broad media schedule across other NBC platforms to promote "FCU."
Concerning the product itself -- the product placement for the new Galaxy S phone: the fact-check characters will use the phone for navigation to find celebrities' homes and to look up photos and other content.
Samsung will get some key return-on-investment metrics to back its programming sponsorship. Death says Samsung will get traditional measures -- awareness, purchase intent, and preference -- as well as the important number of streams viewed.
"If we just use streams as the metric, then lots of empty calories," says Death.
"This partnership represents a great opportunity for Samsung and NBC Digital Studio to break fresh ground and offer consumers a new entertainment experience," stated YH Lee, senior vice president of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business.