Lionsgate partners Zed to launch multi-platform TV show

MUMBAI: Lionsgate and mobile content company Zed have inked a partnership to develop and launch Zed’s multiplatform program Instantly Rich in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The pairing on Instantly Rich is Lionsgate and Zed’s first worldwide project since forming their partnership to explore cross-platform synergies between mobile multimedia and television in September 2008. In addition to sales to major broadcast, cable and other traditional television networks, the program, a proprietary format of Zed, will also be sold to leading mobile operators for mobile SMS integration.

Instantly Rich is a 60-minute weekly reality show that originally launched as Rico al Instante in January on Spain’s Antena 3 TV. Format sales of Instantly Rich will be overseen by Lionsgate International Television executive vice president, programming and sales Craig Cegielski and Zed TV general manager Miguel López-Quesada in territories covered under the agreement.

On the mobile SMS platform, Instantly Rich will invite viewers to compete via SMS text messaging for the opportunity to be selected as contestants on the following week’s program, with a chance to win up to $1 million each week on live television.

Leading up to the show, five production crews will be dispatched to the cities where that week’s finalists will be selected through surprise visits to their homes. The production crews will document each finalist’s participation in predetermined challenges, along with their efforts to garner the voting support of their communities and the viewing audience, who will cast votes in real time via SMS or by telephone. Contestants can win prizes up to $1 million.

Social and mobile multimedia platforms, web sites, social media widgets and mobile applications will build visibility and momentum for the show and its contestants. While show contestants can register their candidacy on mobile SMS, they will also be able to participate via social media network, including proprietary Zed People, as well as on mobile WAP and other downloadable mobile applications.

 “This is a revolutionary new concept in reality television programming in which mobile and social networking platforms are drivers for content and not afterthoughts. We expect mobile multimedia to generate a significant portion of the show’s overall revenues, and we believe that this multiplatform launch once again reflects Lionsgate’s commitment to groundbreaking television innovation," said Lionsgate president of television programming and production Kevin Beggs.

López-Quesada said, “We see ourselves as players with a disruptive technology, so it’s great to partner with another industry pioneer. During our previous relationship with Lionsgate, we realized there was a strong partnership in the making between two nimble, market-leading companies. This initiative continues to grow that partnership and, for the first time, we’re developing a series that not only leverages the $130 billion global SMS market, but also strengthens Zed’s goal of having a multiplatform vision covering console, cinema, PC, mobile and now television.”

Instantly Rich will tap a large and fast-growing mobile messaging and content marketplace.