CBS.com Now Offering Facebook Connect Support

--New CBS Show, "Harper's Island," Integrates Social TV Elements

CBS Interactive announced last week that its CBS.com Web site is now offering Facebook Connect support, allowing fans of CBS Television shows to quickly and easily log into the site using their existing Facebook account. The company--which claims that CBS.com is the first broadcast network site to support Facebook Connect--says that as a result, when fans of its shows contribute or interact on CBS.com, they can now also publish their actions back to Facebook, sharing their CBS.com experience with their entire social network. It also says that Facebook Connect support makes registration for CBS.com games, contests and community features faster and easier. "Television is a social experience, and with 'Facebook Connect,' it's faster and easier than ever for CBS Television fans to share their thoughts and reactions about their favorite shows with their friends and family on Facebook," CBS.com VP, Bill Binenstock, said in a prepared statement.

In other social TV news from CBS: The company has teamed with "lonelygirl15" creator, Eqal, on a multiplatform mystery series, called "Harper's Island," that it is billing as an "interactive and social entertainment experience." On March 18th, several weeks in advance of the show's April 9th broadcast premiere, the companies launched a dedicated Web site, HarpersGlobe.com, which offers what they term "original social show episodes" that complement the broadcast TV show's storyline with overlapping characters, locations and plots, and that will be released on a regular basis throughout the show's first season. Visitors to the site can, among other things, chat, participate in discussion boards, and contribute to a wiki on the show. The original Webisodes can also be accessed on CBS.com, CBS Mobile and on third-party sites that are members of the CBS Audience Network.

According to CBS, representatives from CBS Entertainment, CBS Paramount Network Television and CBS Interactive have been working closely with Eqal and writing teams from the show since last spring, when the series was at the script stage, in order to "ensure the on-air, online and on-mobile narratives are cohesive and complementary across all mediums." In addition to collaborating with CBS on the writing, production and direction of the show's supplementary Webisodes, Eqal is helping provide the technology infrastructure for the show's social and interactive elements.

The partnership agreement between CBS and Eqal was first announced in May, 2008, and calls for the latter to conceptualize, develop and produce social shows related to CBS's TV series. In addition, CBS says, Eqal acts as a consulting partner to CBS Interactive, and provides CBS with a "first look" at new multiplatform show concepts that it develops. "'Harper's Island' is a really unique show, so I was thrilled when the network and the studio decided to break new ground and exploit all platforms of the show from the start," the show's executive producer, Jon Turteltaub, said in a prepared statement. "Putting CBS Interactive together with Eqal gives the show an innovative and entertaining online presence a full three weeks before they launch the on-air program. The multiplatform, interactive elements at HarpersGlobe.com expand the whole experience of our show, which I feel is beyond necessary in the world of such rapidly changing media. We have to make our show an Internet event, as well as a broadcast TV event." Added CBS Interactive CEO, Quincy Smith: "At CBS we are committed to creating content and experiences that are unique to the Web and mobile platforms and complementary to and expand on our television programming. This commitment was the catalyst to our partnering with Eqal. As the creators of 'lonelygirl15' and 'KateModern,' they get that the Web is a new medium. 'Harper's Island' represents ideal content to showcase on multiple platforms because of its potential to attract engaged audiences who want to make the show an event every day." And added Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment: "It's not a prerequisite to go online in order to follow the series on-air, but those who do will have an authentic entertainment experience that drills deeper into the mythology and mystery happening on 'Harper's Island.' Since the pilot phase, the writers have been working with our colleagues at Eqal and CBS Interactive to make Harper's Globe a destination that is a unique yet faithful connection to the television series while sustaining the curiosity and conversation before and between episodes."

 

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