Sony PlayStation Reality Web TV Attracts Big Advertisers


The Sony PlayStation Network has signed on Ford, Electronic Arts and the U.S. Air Force to sponsor the second season of the video game reality show, The Tester.

The numbers of sponsors per show will vary. One of the challenges integrates a U.S. Air Force base into the show with a 30-second, pre-roll ad. Ford provides the transportation and signed on for a mid-roll spot. Electronic Arts signed on for a mid-roll spot for the Medal of Honor episode.

The eight episodes will run once weekly, between 25 and 30 minutes long. The episodes for the first season, more experimental and less formatted, ran between 15 and 20 minutes.

If Susan Panico, senior director of PlayStation Network, has her way, the second season of The Tester -- a reality show based on Sony's PlayStation and video games -- will become an Emmy contender for original content within five years. "About 2.5 million viewed the show last year, and our goal is to increase that by 1 million this year," she says. "Sixty-four percent of the people who watched the show viewed it within the first three days."



Indeed a lofty goal, but Panico believes the crew can do it. After all, as original programming continued to mature, Sony built a small programming team to produce a season of a reality Web show on a budget of about $1 million. The show -- built on video games and adventure, although not based on a traditional broadcast format -- cost around $1 million less than traditional reality formats, she says.

Producing a reality show can cost between $200,000 and $1 million per show not season, Panico says. It could cost between $2 million and $3 million per season to produce a similar show to The Tester, she adds.

There were more than 28,000 registered participants all vying for a spot on The Tester, Season Two. More than 350,000 community votes were received. 8bit-mickey received the most votes. The remaining 11 spots were filled by holding a traditional casting call.

Adrianne Curry, best known for her participation in a season of "America's Top Model," will serve as one of the celebrity judges.

The show's debut on the PlayStation Network is only available through a PlayStation 3 console. After it initially runs on the network, a week later the show becomes available on PlayStation Home, the gaming platform that allows the social viewing of the show. The show then gets moved to the PlayStation Network YouTube page.

One The Tester lands on YouTube, consumers can watch the show through a Sony Google TV. The show also has a syndication deal with Crackle, and Sony Pictures Television picked up all the episodes for other cable markets. Panico calls it "reverse distribution" or "reverse syndication."

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