Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 17, 2010 11:15 AM
NBC Universal's new Dial Star, a 10-episode Web series sponsored by AT&T, is the latest proof of the media giant's growing commitment to branded entertainment. It also follows on rival moves, such as Orbit’s new DumbDumb campaign from former NBCU entertainment head Ben Silverman and actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett.
Starring Annalynne McCord (above, of 90210 and Nip/Tuck fame), Dial Star aims to build an online following and viral buzz with its mix of Hollywood glitz and glamour, deception and identity theft.
NBCU, which made its name in TV and filmed entertainment, now aims to be the "the leader in original digital entertainment with brands."
As NBCU Digital Studio head Cameron Death states, "Dial Star proves yet again that world-class brands and leading networks and studios can come together seamlessly to provide incredibly entertaining content for viewers. Delivering broadcast-quality content at massive scale is imperative if we are to, and Dial Star does that better than anything the web has seen to date."
As for what's in it for AT&T, the brand's VP of media services Chris Schembri sees it as "an exciting way to inspire consumers to connect with the new AT&T Rethink Possible brand and our mission to push the limits of what's possible while showcasing the products and technology we deliver that keep consumers connected to the people and things that matter most." To that end, AT&T is promoting the series on its Facebook page.
Will consumers respond as the lines between marketing, advertising and entertainment continue to be blurred? With a social media push that includes interactive blogging and text messaging (courtesy of AT&T, of course) — stay tuned!