Saturday, January 19, 2008

NBC Attracts Talent Through Social Network...Quarterlife

quarterlife, one of the first network-quality series produced specifically for the Internet, launched on and MySpaceTV in November airing the first 36 of its short (8-10 minute) webisodes on Thursdays and Sundays.

The series also airs on other distribution partners such as YouTube, Facebook, and Imeem, one week after each episode airs on MySpace.

The series was created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the creative team behind the shows “thirtysomething,” and “My So-Called Life” as well as the movies “Legends of the Fall,” and “Blood Diamond”.

As the name suggests, quarterlife deals with life issues arising at the twenty-something stage. The series portrays the daily lives of six creative people in their twenties and has all the formulaic ingredients that series addicts have come to know and love.

Shortly after its internet launch, NBC announced that they would pick up the show and an equity stake in which has been developed as a social networking platform to support the series. Naturally, NBC also plans to run the series on

After the internet series has completed its run, NBC plans to air an hour-long television premiere of the series. The TV broadcast of quarterlife will mark the first time a web series has been aired by a major network., the social network, is targeted to the same demographic as the series. Its community includes resource channels customized to quarterlifers like careers, love, health, finances, education and activism.

As well as providing information resources, the social network aspires to be a portal for creative expression. Current and upcoming tools include:
  • User portfolios where artists can upload their videos, photos music and writing.
  • A workspace and repository for all uploaded media, where users will soon have tools to write, edit photos and videos, and organize their creative efforts.
  • A private area where works that aren’t ready to be shared, or are too intimate to share, can be safely kept.
  • Information on schools, grants, and techniques where users and experts will be able to post content.
  • Features for online community involvement with the ongoing creation of the quarterlife series. Members of the community will be encouraged to upload their own videos and blogs, etc.
While the social network has many appealing features in its portfolio, it looks like NBC plans on utilizing the site as a talent incubator. Having breezed through the terms and conditions, it looks like all uploaded member content becomes the property of the site (and NBC) and can be edited, copied, distributed, and monetized as they see fit.

There's unquestionable potential for new talent to gain exposure through the site. As mentioned in this NYTimes article back in December, within a 48-hour time frame, a link on the home page of YouTube helped generate more than 700,000 views of the first episode of “Quarterlife.”

Some artists may see this as a new lucky break platform but others (usually the best ones) might feel exploited. In any case, if executed properly, the new social network could attract an interesting talent pool and possibly, some ad inventory.

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