I have been watching a trailer for Chelsey OMG, a TV series for 16- to 25-year-olds to be shown next month on the social network Bebo, which has more than 80 million users. It is full-length for its genre - three minutes an episode. This is so as not to strain the attention-span of today's teenies and it allows episodes to be viewed secretly at work without reducing the nation's productivity.
Chelsey, a young American, has landed in planet London trying to navigate her way among dysfunctional people, helped by suggestions from the audience. It is full of interactivity, including intrusions into real lives with the option for viewers to become "friends" of the stars. If it takes off after a few episodes, the production company Channel X will know the numbers watching - including what sort of people they are - so they can try to finance the rest of it through a sponsor. The dream is that it will run and run, becoming a web hit then a film and then a book as the fairy tale is completed.
I have no idea whether it will succeed. It is the latest of a growing number of Generation Web soaps - cue in MySpace's Quarterlife and Endemol's The Gap Year, for a start - as the net becomes a medium for television. If kids won't go to the television set then television must come to them wherever they are - probably networking on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo. There may be a lesson for newspapers here.
Read more at - 'TV's future stars will come from the web'