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Facebook revives Real World with MTV

Facebook’s Matthew Henick on stage in Cannes

MIPCOM: Facebook Watch is ramping up its global unscripted ambitions with the launch of three formats, including a revamp of classic MTV reality show The Real World.

The social media giant’s video platform, which has been in operation since August 2017, was rolled out globally earlier this year as it aims to carve its space in the content world alongside leading digital players such as Netflix and Amazon.

Facebook Watch is partnering with Viacom’s new production unit, MTV Studios, and Bunim/Murray Productions for an initial three seasons of The Real World, due to begin airing on the platform in spring 2019.

The announcement was made by Facebook head of content planning and strategy Matthew Henick and director of product management Paresh Rajwat alongside MTV president Chris McCarthy during Facebook’s keynote address here in Cannes.

There will be three local versions of the show – from Mexico, Thailand and the US – and the series will introduce interactive social and community features, giving viewers the chacne to influence the action and connect via digital devices.

The classic social experiment series follows a group young adults who are picked to live together in one residence while being filmed non-stop. The original series was praised for its tackling of socially resonant topics such as race, mental health, homophobia and addiction, and Facebook’s versions will aim to explore friendship and the current cultural and social environment in all three locations.

Henick said the Facebook community would have “unique opportunities for fans to connect directly with the cast” through use of new features such as video format Facebook Premieres (enabling video creators to debut a pre-recorded video on Facebook as a ‘live moment’) and communal viewing service Watch Party.

Additionally, Facebook is launching an interactive competition series based on an Israeli format with The Dodo, the label from Discovery-owned digital media firm Group Nine.

The World’s Most Amazing Dog is based on the format Oh My Dog, which was created by Tel Aviv-based Gil Formats. It celebrates the beloved animals and their owners from around the world and builds on the social media firm’s strong relationship with The Dodo, which has already spawned global hit Comeback Kids: Animal Edition. The Facebook series is being produced in association with reality and non-fiction specialist 3 Ball Entertainment.

Henick and Rajwat also announced that Watch’s interactive gameshow format Confetti would be rolled out globally, with local versions in EMEA, APAC and Latin America due to be unveiled by the end of the year.

Confetti is a daily live show that challenges people to answer pop-culture trivia questions aided by their friends. Players can see which friends are playing at the same time and how they answer questions. Players who answer all questions correctly may be eligible to split a cash prize.

“Moving forward, we will continue investing in some original shows to test and learn about new video experiences. We’ll be looking closely at how people interact with content around the world, and working with our partners to provide guidance based on what we learn,” Henick said.

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