Tag Archives: MyWaves

Playboy Partners with MySpace for “Interns”

MobilizedTV broke news about Playboy’s original mobisode series “interns.” (Watch a trailer of ‘interns’ here.) Now, after a short delay, Playboy has announced that it’s partnered with MySpace for exclusive on-line viewing. For mobile viewers, “interns” will be available via Playboy’s WAP and iPhone sites, and distributed via its recently launched mobile “Playboy Audience Network” (mPAN), which includes Quattro Wireless, mywaves and Zannel. A Playboy spokesperson also said that “numerous wireless-network carriers will offer the series throughout North America” and that, in 2009, the mobisodes will be available in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.

The series was shown to groups of students at University of Illinois, University of Southern California, and New York University for feedback.

“Interns” is targeted at an as-of-yet untapped demographic: young, and fifty-fifty male/female. But Playboy isn’t leaving out its current readership. In the December issue of Playboy magazine–which will announce ‘interns”–readers are encouraged to take photos of the page’s “interns” logo with their phones. They then are instructed to send the shot to a shortcode in order to receive the behind-the-scenes series on their mobile phones. “Interns” has already successfully attracted an advertiser via product integration; interns distributed samples of göt2b’s magnetic men’s styling gel to pedestrians as one of their assignments.

Playboy Mobile includes elements of its iconic properties including Playboy Playmates, Cyber Girls, “Rock The Rabbit” musical artists, and Playboy-licensed products.

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TV on Mobile: Is there really an audience?

From Mobile Content & Marketing Expo

San Jose, CA–Moderated by Skyfire‘s Ray Singh, QuickPlay‘s Mark Hyland, thePlatform (Comcast subsidiary) Chris Drake, GoldSpot Media‘s William Ganon and MobiTV‘s Kevin Grant discussed the state of mobile TV.

Mark Hyland (L), Chris Drake (C), William Ganon (R)

Mark Hyland (L), Chris Drake (C), William Ganon (R)

Singh suggested that there are numerous definitions for mobile TV, and asked Hyland what is definition is. Hyland broke it down into true broadcast and IP. “We see activity in all those things,” he said. “There has to be a sensible user experience. There’s an essence of content we’re all working for: it has more to do with communication. VOD, getting what you want when you want it, recommended by friends, is probably a pretty good way to work with mobile video today.”

Kytetv and mywaves are two ways that people are using to publish their own video, said Skyfire’s Singh. Why hasn’t that been [more] successful? Drake said that “we’ve limited mobile to just mobile.” “We’re seeing trends that content providers and media companies are thinking more holistically,” he said. “Yes, there are a lot of technology limitations, but it has to do with consumer awareness and accessibility. We’re starting to see more cross-promotion about what’s unique. It’s complementary to the website,”

If you look at the video space today, there’s content that people pay for, subscribe to and get for free. Is mobile advertising working? “I think mobile video advertising is starting to make its way into the mind of the consumer,” said Ganon. “It’ll probably be linked to whether the user thinks they’re getting value. There’s really not any one player that can do it all, but if operators can be flexible with their pricing scheme. If technologists can deliver a high quality experience, yeah, mobile has a really good future.”

How do you track engagement and what is a click through, asked Singh. Hyland said it was initially all downloads of premium video. “It took you two minutes to download and the operator would charge you $2, but early adopters did it,” he said. “As prices got cheaper and content got better…that’s an acid test. Then we moved into a subscription or streaming model, often bundled with a data plan. Essentially, instead of a nickel and dime model, it’s all you can eat. And we saw service explode with that. We see anywhere from one-quarter to one-half on any service engaging with us, and that’s an important metric. If they go south, that means they’re not getting value.”

Drake addressed the earlier question of what mobile video is. “We’ve seen a shift in the definition,” he said. “It was mainly streaming and occasionally downloading. But a lot of those variables have changed and so have the mobile phones. It could be a phone, an iPod Touch, etc. Content delivery has also changed and addresses some of the clogged network issues. This is still so early now and a lot of these issues and limitations are based on today’s levels, which will hopefully go away. We saw the same issues with broadband in the 1980s.”

Returning to the topic of advertising, he addressed GoldSpot Media’s Ganon. “There is no greater difference in a business than between zero and a penny,” he said. “The fact that people can look for content in an untethered environment – then we’ll see how much hours people watch, what shows they watch. The minute they know they have a $20/month pre-charge, it’s not a great landscape for television, The more free content we can get out, the more we inculcate people with the notion of watching video on the mobile.”

If you look at your TV at home, very few cable providers are offering it for free, pointed out MobiTV’s Grant. That business has been around for a long time. “I don’t think the ad budgets will triple,” he said. “These guys will still have a limited amount to spend, and we all have to cut into it.” Does MobiTV become an HBO? “What MobiTV does is we definitely use what we can out of the advertising space to subsidize the technology to make it work,” said Grant. “You don’t forkload mobile video on a mobile network without spending a big piece of cash. There’s a happy medium: you make free content available so people know it’s there, and you subsidize it with advertising. And you make premium content available for more. Advertisers can’t pay it all. From an ad perspective, it’s a miracle, because you know they’re watching the video when they’re watching video on the phone. We know they’re turning it off on their own. It’s compelling eyeballs. So we maximize the advertising spend to help the content providers and companies like us. But I don’t think it’ll be free, everywhere.”

Long-tail content hasn’t been a big player in the mobile space, noted Hyland. “We’ve been working with producers of Hispanic content, religious content–avid audiences but not big enough to make it on a carrier’s deck,” he said. “You have to blur the lines between on-deck and off-deck, so you can find it. But now it’s naturally skewed towards higher-end content.”

Mobisodes was a stage in the development of mobile content, observed Drake, on the way to developing made-for-mobile content. “We learned you can’t make programming from the footage left on the cutting room floor,” he said. “You have to take into consideration the consumer, where he is, what his user profile is. We’re seeing interesting things with our customers. CBSNews is doing a lot with consumer journalism, for example. The paradigm shift is changing from one-to-many to many-to-many, with users sharing content, tagging it.”

Talking about mobile ads, Ganon noted the general consensus that 30-seconds is a little too long. “If we don’t bring an interesting solution to this game, we can just forget about it,” he said. “If you make targeted TV, that’s an interesting discussion. The mobile audience has no tolerance for the ad-roll.”

MobiTV’s Grant noted that he’s seeing the minutes that customers are watching grow at a much greater rate than the number of new customers, especially election and financial news. “They’re aware of the fact that they have this on their phone,” he said. “The fact that the minutes are growing is good across the board. News has been amazing lately. You don’t see a debate double our minutes. The size of the minutes is so large it would take a pretty big feed to double the minutes. The Olympics is the Holy Grail of content, but that was a unique channel and it did really really well, but it didn’t necessarily double our minutes. All boats are rising. The long-tail is so important. You need the big brands, and long-form like “Ugly Betty” does very well. A lot of people in our base are religiously watching these things. We haven’t opened up the YouTube library or mywaves, because we work with carriers and their restrictions. But big brands bring them in and long-tail reduces churn and keeps them there.”

Hyland reported that we’ll see numerous different models for introducing and paying for video; handset manufacturers will subsidize some of it. “Awareness and pricing are two big barriers to mobile adoption, but there’s a lot of opportunities to package it up differently,” he said. “If you can package video with the phone, it’ll make much higher usage. The day pass or the “free previews and sign up for 20 clips” will be two of those models. Lots of experimentation and no answers formed yet.”

Singh asked panelists to describe what people are watching. Ganon said he worked at MediaFLO and “if it’s live, breaking now” it’s big; sports seems to be a big draw, if you can get the access/rights. “We had experiments where people were watching movie,” he said. With the iPhone, we hear that people are sitting and browsing for an hour, said Singh, who asked if people are really watching movies on the mobile phone. “It’s difficult for me to comment but anecdotally we see different levels and types of usage depending on how the user is discovering and accessing that content,” said Drake. “We’re seeing content that’s being side-loaded which gives a better user experience. We’re seeing long-tail video like a Homer Simpson video. Then there’s the discovery around genre-based content. The ability to set content alerts is also at work.”

The iPhone has done a lot to let people know that they can go on the Internet. “We’re seeing an awareness factor,” said Grant. “We’ll start to see some big numbers.” Singh finally asked: what’s your favorite mobile TV show and what do you see in the future?

Chris Drake said he loves Sony Pictures Television International‘s minisodes, which creates 5-minute versions of classic TV shows. Hyland likes “Entourage” on mobile. Ganon, who watches YouTube, thinks the DTV transition will be a game-changer. Grant says his favorite show is “The Office” and CNBC on mobile.

“If you look at access to the Internet, alot of it will be wireless in a little while,” he said. “And that’s where we see huge opportunities for growth, with all kinds of mobile devices. We’re very keen on this market but it’s a long term battle.”

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How to Make Money from Mobile Content

From the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo

San Jose, CA—How can you miss with a panel on making money? This session, with Joe Laszlo, director of advertising at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), moderating a panel made up of mobile video executives, was packed. Each executive spoke about his or her company’s business model. Susan Cashen, vp of marketing at mywaves described the company as a handset agnostic mobile video service that delivers video around the world. “Because we’re free, we’re dependent on advertising,” she said. “We’ve also recently launched commerce with entertainment. When a consumer is immersed in an entertainment experience like watching a free Beyonce video, it’s a natural for them to be able to buy Beyonce content, both virtual and real goods.”

Transpera CEO Frank Barbieri described his company as “building the largest premium ad-supported mobile video network.” Networks in Motion is an applications and platform provider for the mobile phone, focused on search and navigation, with a subscription-based model. “Navigation and search is alive and well on the paid platform,” said CEO Doug Antone. Bytemobile CMO Adrian Hall said his company provides services to the carrier as an enabler to the end-user. “We basically enable the mobile Internet for the end-user,” he said. “And we see user-profile information which is useful for contextual and behavioral targeted advertising.”

On the advertising front, asked Laszlo, are advertisers are willing to pay a premium for mobile? Bytemobile’s Hall said the one thing that appears obvious is that the more targeted the ad, the more valuable. Barbieri said that mobile has far more focus of attention than the PC, where the screen could be displaying several windows and other distractions simultaneously. “For brand advertisers, that increased attention leads to better numbers,” he said. “I think the news is fairly good in these early days.” Cashen said about 6.5 million unique come to mywaves every month; they come twice a week and spend 20 minutes, watching 2 or 3 minute segments. “A 30-second pre-roll just won’t cut it,” she said. “In the short term, there are big opportunities to connect with consumers via direct marketing. There’s genius to leverage the video entertainment on the handset from the point of view of a brand. Taking what works on the web on mobile is taking baby steps,. You have this incredible storefront on the handset. Click-to-call, click-to-buy: there’s no better measurement. Leveraging the entertainment to create action is where we feel good.”

Cashen said that transcoding video for the consumer gives her company information on the consumers. “We have the ability to target by DMA, time of day, and type of handset,” she reported.

Everyone is trying to drive personalization and the consistency of brand across multiple devices, noted Hall and more personalized advertising based on user needs will create a dramatically stronger click-through rate. The mobile marketing campaign has to have ways to interact with the user, said Barbieri. “We work with our brand advertisers to brainstorm the mobile marketing campaign and how to target the audience.”

Antone observed that his company’s business model is different in that the user pays $10/month to navigate. “It’s no longer how you get from Point A to Point B,” he said. “We want someone to turn it on in the morning for real-time traffic information. Not just where’s the local movie theater but what’s playing and when. It’s all available on your client-server application on your handset. See us as a publisher that’s getting your content out to people. Our customers are the carriers, who sell to their customers. That’s our strategy. All of them have this $10 price point. At some point it’ll be $5 and beyond that it will be zero, a free application. The relevance of this is that when someone is mobile, they’re also motivated. When you’re in a browsing application and looking for a restaurant, you’re motivated to go. Targeted, pertinent advertising that can happen during that search is what we’re focused on.”

But to get the numbers, the only way the carriers can make that work is to draw in big percentages of their users. To get 50 to 60 percent, they’ll have to change the pricing model. “We’re betting on the idea that they’re going to try to do that and not roll over,” said Antone

Focusing on how the Networks in Motion product will one day be free, Antone talked about the challenge. “It depends how good we all are at creating the economics on the back end,” he said. “That listing of Italian restaurants in your neighborhood, for example. Would you find it offensive to get a manipulated search, where the restaurant that’s farther away pays to be listed first? When do consumers say, Forget it – you’re giving me something I don’t want. We have to do this in a way that there’s enough economics but the consumer still likes it.”

Finally, panelists spoke about the role of the carrier, between the extremes of a dumb pipe and a walled garden. “There is a smart pipe concept where there’s a tremendous amount of marketing and merchandising power that any one would be a fool to ignore, because they have a connection to the user with billing inserts, with product marketing on the deck,” said Barbieri. “There’s a relationship that can be used to promote content well. We have to move from a programming-type mentality of carriers to more of a merchandising, marketing and retail type of relationship. And that’s good for us and for the consumer as well. We have yet to get to the point where there are tremendous marketing and retailing competencies at some of the carriers, but that’ll change.

The carriers could move faster,” added Hall. “They are desperately trying to be smart pipes and it’s incumbent on us to work with them to become smarter. While they’re starting to recognize they’re sitting in a unique place and make smarter use of the user profiles they see. By doing that effectively, they’ll continue to be smart pipes or, in some cases become smarter pipes.”

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Miss Playboy Mobile: First Step in a Global Mobile Strategy

In April this year at CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas, Playboy Mobile announced Miss Playboy Mobile 2008, sponsored by THQ Wireless and Viva! Vision.

With carriers in control of content, adult content has been largely shut out of the mobile content game in the most obvious way. Yet, without fanfare, Playboy has expanded its reach in mobile, in 50+ countries and well over 80 carriers.

Playboy Mobile took a much higher profile here with the April announcement about Miss Playboy Mobile. I spoke with Ed Lang, SVP and GM, Mobile and International Online, Playboy Enterprises and a veteran in the wireless industry, to find out how Playboy can both maintain its brand and meet the PG-13 requirements of the mobile platform.

MobilizedTV: How do you stay true to the Playboy brand in a mobile environment that restricts adult content?

LANG: We do have an interesting split in how we distribute our content. International strategy is different than U.S. strategy. Some countries are more conservative, the U.S. being one of the most conservative countries. Here, they only allow PG-13 content, which disallows even models modeling clothing in a particular way, anything at all sexually suggestive. A lot of territories in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are also conservative. Europe is the most receptive to that content. They allow streaming XXX content in those territories. The bulk of adult business is in Europe.

How do you promote the Playboy brand in the U.S.?

We knew we needed to focus the brand into its more traditional and aspirational areas, which is the lifestyle side it’s been over the last 50 years, the lifestyle associated with someone who’d buy the Playboy magazine. We created a Playboy experience, with fashion and design elements.

That decision was made a couple of years ago and we initially weren’t leveraging the full breadth of the brand in our digital media. The company realized there were other areas to be competitive in in the mobile space, rather than being pigeon-holed. I realized the editorial voice of Playboy is so strong and we demonstrated the depth and breadth of the brand in the U.S., not just to consumers but to carriers. We felt we didn’t necessarily have to fall in the stereotype; there was no reason why we should accept the brand positioning being set by other people.

How did that position evolve?

About one year into my job we made the decision to go out to the direct-to-consumer market and prove that theory. Rather than direct carrier deals, we launched initiatives relating to consumers. Really, the greatest effort to demonstrate the lifestyle was to launch our model search. Other people had done similar things, so we had the benefit of looking at that and thinking of how we could differentiate ourselves. Last year, we launched an ambitious project around Miss Playboy Mobile, to find a non-nude contestant who would the crown winner.

Amber - contestant and ultimate winner

Amber - contestant and ultimate winner

We crowned her at the April CTIA Wireless conference. It was well attended and we demonstrated the ability to pull off a gender-friendly event with a viral component. It also went cross-platform, starting as mobile initiative and moving into social media on the computer.

Miss Playboy Mobile contestants

Miss Playboy Mobile contestants

Miss Playboy Mobile - the winner!

Miss Playboy Mobile - the winner!

That led to a partnership with mywaves. We’re expanding the strategy of syndicating our content with social media on the phone, so you’ll hear about more deals in this space. Mywaves is Playboy’s first ad-supported, mobile-content distribution deal to handle syndication of a content channel.

I understand you also came out with an iPhone version of your WAP site?

Yes, when the iPhone came out earlier this year, we launched a WAP site optimized for the iPhone that will leverage the 3G version of the phone. That will stay a one-off decision. I’m not interested in optimizing for multiple handsets. But there’s a “thing” happening around the iPhone and we didn’t want to be on the sidelines.

The iPhone site features an immersive experience including “Playboy-on-the-Scene” footage from lifestyle-based projects. iPlayboy contains mobile-specific features such as “Battle of the Sexiest,” “Playboy Radio,” and “Scout,” a blog on sex, dating, and other lifestyle topics. iPlayboy is an ad-supported site which will be upgraded continuously to include social/community involvement, a content storefront, and other feature introductions, integrating the iPhone experience with Playboy Mobile’s PC experience.

What have you learned from the Miss Playboy Mobile experience?

Our three-pronged approach is our mobile internet site; syndicating our content out to mobile social networks, and a yet-to-be-announced comprehensive messaging strategy. Basically, we’ve done enough deals with enough depth to do both free, ad-supported content and premium content, with every type of messaging solution you can have. This will be a big deal for us, because previously we’d only done short code. We’ll integrate messaging between how we syndicate our content out, our mobile site, and how we interact with it online and with social media. The idea being that every one of those places that people can interact with the brand, they’ll be one click away from our messaging strategy, which will lead you to discover everything in the network.

When do you expect to be able to monetize the mobile portion of the strategy?

We’re already making revenue from ad sales on the mobile site. When you monetize what we’re doing across product offerings, we think this will work from an ad-generating place alone. Each one of these three prongs will eventually have a premium area with an up-sale for more premium service or content. What Playboy is aspiring to do is deliver value. We’re in the process of coming up with unique content offerings that people haven’t seen before. We are trying to push the envelope by bringing out things that we believe haven’t been done in the past.

One example is that we recently decided to go into the mobile original content area and we have our first series we’re going to put out. The way we approached it is very different. We figured out how to integrate the divisions of the company, ranging from TV to the magazine and our sponsor ad partners. How we’re releasing it is also unique. We thought about integrated marketing. It won’t be video with a pre-roll or post-roll. We said, Let’s go for integrated marketing, product placement, just like TV, and that’s the elements we did.

To finish it off, we just announced that we’re in the planning stages of taking the Miss Playboy Mobile competition global. I have no less aspiration than attempting to pull off something that’s never been done before. We’re ambitious in the number of territories, the interactions, to integrate sponsors into the competition and the abilty to run it on online and mobile with a heavy social media element. We set our sights on the bigger campaigns and want to improve on it. We have localized partners that produce products and content for us: 26 local magazine publishers that publish local editions, TV stations that add to our broadcasts, digital partners who represent us in certain regions. Leveraging those partnerships allows us to customize and localize for the global Miss Playboy Mobile. Localized competitions feed into the regionalized and then ultimately global competition. There are sponsorship opportunities at each level and we continue to target both men and women. We look at top social media networks in all the different global regions and we’ll try to extend a widget or application to those, in the native language. It’s an ambitious project and the targeted time frame will be Q1 2009 with target party at CTIA Wireless in April.

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Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary: It’s not what you’re thinking…

First, don’t let the title fool you: “Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary” is really G-rated. But the “X-rated” got your attention, didn’t it? That’s exactly what creator Hayden Black intended. Abigail is a teen-aged girl who has ‘Bloomberger’s disease’, which makes her look like a 30-something bearded guy (kind of like Hayden Black). Her signature phrase – awkward turtles! – and her optimistic and cheery cluelessness has endeared her to a largely female 12 to 24 year old demographic.

Abigail

Abigail

Launched in October 2007, the 1-minute videos have garnered well over 1.5 million hits a month. They’re also going mobile, via BuzzWire and MyWaves.

If the name Hayden Black rings a bell, it’s probably because of his earlier venture “Goodnight Burbank,” a spoof of evening news that launched in 2005 with a cast of TV/movie actors and starring Black as a supercilious newscaster with a cast of characters.

MobilizedTV spoke to Black about Abigail’s popularity, how studios fail at interactivity, and

How did you develop the idea of Abigail and her diary?

The last time I had spoken to a teenager was when I was a teenager. I wanted to see what they were like instead of how the media portrays them. A friend of mine has a teenage daughter and the three of us sat down and I started talking to her and asking her questions and we emailed. “Goodnight Burbank” also has a huge [teen] fan base on MySpace who I got a lot of feedback from. The idea was to get to what kids are thinking. The first thing I noticed was how cynical, jaded and sarcastic they were. And I had completely forgotten how cynical, jaded and sarcastic I was as a teenager. Although they’re portrayed as anything but on TV.

I think that’s why Abigail works, because of how cynical and jaded a lot of kids are. None of them has grown up in an era where they don’t know TV. They’re been marketed to from day one. When I used to work on promos for the TV networks, listening the way they talked about promoting to the kids was a joke. They talked down to them.

For example, Miley Cyrus announced she was embarrassed about the semi-topless pictures she had taken. I looked at the pictures and girls go out to nightclubs wearing less. Of course she’s not embarrassed. It’s all publicity and marketing. The people behind her, the industry machines, assume that by saying something is true, kids will believe them. Kids are far savvier than that. We are far savvier than that. I immediately recorded an episode – I improvised in one take to the camera – with Abigail screaming and crying that she was embarrassed for Miley. The adults watch it and say, that’s what the kids think. But the kids watch it and realize I’m making fun of the machine and the people behind that. They know it’s all an act.

I spent six months developing Abigail. A lot of shows on the Internet could be improved a thousand fold if some development went behind it and some writing.

Who’s watching Abigail?

The vast majority is female aged 12 to 24. We have both anecdotal evidence, seeing who writes in. And we did a survey on the website and it’s about 75 percent female.

Right now, on the Internet, you have two crowds watching: the post-college work crowd looking for a distraction during work. They’re looking for things that are quick and easy to get to. Then you have your high school crowd, and they’re looking not just for a distraction but to get involved. They’ll much more easily interact with your storyline, whether it’s emailing you directly, sending their own videos to you, checking in on other fans. I’ve watched people on Facebook who have submitted videos to Abigail and then become friends with other fans on the show. So that network spreads.

How have you grown the interactive elements of Abigail?

If you’re looking to do something interactive, you need to engage the fans. If you look at start-up production companies like mine, I get to invest time in making sure that the interactions fans have with Abigail are organic, fun and original. Someone wrote me back, with smiley faces, saying, “Yay, you’re not a robot.” And that’s because they’ve run into robots before on Internet shows. Obviously these kids can tell.

Studios have to overcome their inability to be personal. They have to move forward out of corporate-speak and these bland responses they may offer and truly engage these people with writing.

But if you’re the head of a studio, you don’t have the time to sit there and write. Even the writer doesn’t have enough time to write. You hire college interns to respond for you in character, but then you’re giving away the keys to the kingdom. If they say something offensive or wrong, you’ve hurt your brand and then it’s not just that particular show that suffers but all the shows the studio produces. The studios do have a lot more to worry about. Their responses and interactions will be a lot blander and more corporate because it’s all that structure can allow for.

Do you have plans beyond the Internet and mobile platforms?

We’ve done a deal with HeavyBag Media and RealTime Matrix. They’re building a widget for Abigail that will be cross-platform for fans on Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. It’ll have all the videos plus exclusive greetings you can send to your friends. What makes it unique is you’ll be able to talk in real-time to someone using this on MySpace or Facebook. It’s like a cyber chat room. You’ll be able to text-based chat to people on other social networks. HeavyBag is doing the social networking and advertising and RealTime Matrix is building the technology and infrastructure and will also help with advertising. For fans, the more they interact, the more their status improves. They go from BFF to BFF@evs (best friends for ever and ever)

We’ll also try to give away prizes. An author of a book has given us three prizes to give away. Two authors of books big with females are looking for press and publicity, so we’ll give those books away.

It seems that Abigail would be easy to monetize with merchandising.

As far as merchandising, we’ve talked about books with Abigail’s little pieces of prose in the margins. We’re talking about an Abigail bubble-head doll. We definitely see the potential for a TV series, which was again one of the things sketched out in the beginning. It wouldn’t be the same but the same things would be at the base.

The idea is that anything that I develop has legs to be able to go to TV and features and various merchandising. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s great to be able to come up with a quick, cheap easy idea to produce for the Internet, but in the long run that doesn’t get you much. I think it’s about finding unique original stories and concepts and developing them.

What makes this premise different from “Ugly Betty”?

“Ugly Betty” is an adult. This hits the universal theme of issues with self-esteem when it is at its rawest. Certainly with females, the body is changing, they’re being looked upon like an outsider, they feel like outsiders, and Abigail is there to make it all right with naivete, silliness and a joke and overall goofiness. I think this is what fans are responding to. We’ve had you’re putting a voice to the unloved, the unwanted. Abigail through accident and design has become a character who is influencing peoples’ lives.

What are some of the anecdotes you’re hearing from fans?

One girl wrote to say her whole family is gathered around the laptop. So, yes, the family watches together. We occasionally flirt with a PG joke, but very rarely – and then it’s only a flirt. We don’t go there. There’s no reason to. I police it myself to make sure we don’t go too far.

We heard from two teens who, when their teacher misspoke, said “awkward turtles!,” which is Abigail’s way of being understanding when someone does something embarrassing. He didn’t get it and put them into detention. Later, he looked up Abigail, figured it out and apologized to the two girls.

Abigail is responsible for a fan getting engaged. We do an occasional Dear Abby segment. One was from someone who wanted her boyfriend to propose to her before Christmas. Abigail responded with a silly reply, the girl showed it to her boyfriend who laughed and proposed 24 hours later.

Any surprising fans?

We had an email from a unit of Marines in Iraq who said, we enjoy your show, would you give us a shout out. I asked for their names, and did a whole episode, using the names of their unit. From Abigail’s skewed perspective of course.

How does Abigail work on the mobile platform?

Abigail is perfect for that. Everybody says the perfect length for mobile is x or y. No, the perfect length is until it gets boring. Abigail works great in minute-long chunks because it’s a monologue. If we were taking it not just as a monologue but interacting with schoolmates and going to the mall, you’d have longer episodes. But a monologue- at 30-seconds you’re done. Now we’re branching out and having “Abigail’s X-rated Interviews” where she does interview for her high school newspaper with celebrities. The first was with Carolyn Lawrence, who is the voice of Sandy Cheeks in the “SpongeBob SquarePants” as well as Orel Pupppington in “Moral Orel.” It’s Ali G-esque because it’s from Abigail’s perspective, but the guests know what’s going on. Those will be edited down to about four-minutes. Abigail just went up on Glam.com. We’re also going to do an Abigail special in England, where TV celebrities will appear in 1.5-minute episode. To them it’s a cameo, for me, but for me, it’s a starring role.

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