MSN Netherlands and Media Republic have successfully launched the first picture soap opera, Jong Zuid, accessible via mobile phones, the internet and MSN Messenger. Hundreds of thousands of soap lovers have visited the website www.jongzuid.nl, and tens of thousands subscribed to the service in the first weeks. The concept was awarded the Ericsson Best Mobile Application Award Europe 2003. Media Republic has started negotiations with various leading mobile operators and consumer brands for international roll-out.
The Netherlands, a country that has previously generated highly successful television drama series and reality show formats, is now embracing a unique new soap opera. The series, which goes by the name of `Jong Zuid', isn't broadcast the old fashioned way. Instead, it reaches its audience via mobile phones, the internet and MSN Messenger. Soap addicts register online and receive two episodes a day, each episode consisting of 6 pictures and accompanying texts.
Winner International Award
During last week's screening sessions by Ericsson, the multimedia soap Jong Zuid was chosen as one out of 275 leading mobile services in Europe. Yesterday at the Mobile Internet Forum in Zurich, Media Republic received this international prize "This prize has again great recognition for this already commercially successful project." :says Marc Hoenke MSN Netherlands.
The series was developed and produced by cross media company Media Republic. "As a company, we are committed to develop original mobile and interactive entertainment formats. Jong Zuid combines the hottest stars in town with compelling mobile and internet services." :says Bas Verhart.
Jong Zuid's cast features famous Dutch soap actors and actresses, playing a group of young people living together in a student house. The story revolves around friendship, sex, intrigue, work, love, hate, jealousy and practical jokes, resulting in both drama and comedy in a typical soap opera fashion.
With the drama series, Media Republic embarks on a new phase in the world of entertainment. This is the first time a soap opera is being simultaneously broadcast to mobile devices and the internet. Media Republic is currently in discussions with MSN to roll the idea out to further markets in the future.
"Negotiations with various global consumer brands and mobile operators are underway. The series will be offered in both localized versions and an international version.:says Verhart. "We're focusing on a young target group that appeals to advertisers worldwide. The reach achieved via the internet and mobile phones offers an effective and cost efficient alternative to advertising via traditional media."
What is Jong Zuid?
Jong Zuid is the world's first ever multimedia photo drama series. A series in which a group of young people, living in Amsterdam, tries to navigate the difficult road to maturity. Needless to say, some characters in Jong Zuid deal with this more seriously than others. And all of them think they know all there is to know about life, only to find out that life is a lesson you learn as you live it. With surprising regularity, the characters stumble into pitfalls created by love, friendship, careers and their own (varying) ambitions. The characters report their experiences daily, via pictures and text messages which form the basis of the multimedia soap opera.