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Convergence meets parallel universe in Ollie’s Under-the-Bed Adventures

When Canadian new media prodco Collideascope Digital Productions pulls its first indie convergence entry out from under the bed this spring, the industry will be introduced to a property whose on-line component is a parallel universe of the television series....
February 1, 2001

When Canadian new media prodco Collideascope Digital Productions pulls its first indie convergence entry out from under the bed this spring, the industry will be introduced to a property whose on-line component is a parallel universe of the television series.

Ollie’s Under-the-Bed Adventures is a half-hour special comprised of 10 two-minute shorts. Produced for a budget of $US330,000, the show is slated to premiere on Teletoon this spring, distributed by Cochran Entertainment. Collideascope hopes to attract broadcasters to a series of 13 half-hour episodes divided into seven-minute shorts.

The show follows the imaginary tales of Ollie, a hyperactive six-year-old whose galloping imagination provides him with an escape from the real world-a parallel universe accessed through a secret portal under his bed. Ollie’s Under-the-Bed Adventures will also be a fully integrated on-line program launched in conjunction with the broadcast debut. Via the show’s website, www.ollieland.com, kids assume the character of Ollie and embark on adventures of their own, moving on-screen in different environments, solving problems and completing goals. As an example of what we might see on-line, Steven Comeau, Collideascope president and founder offers this scenario: Ollie is moving through a space station and happens upon a giant alien mutant hamburger. His goal is to find objects and information allowing him to get past the burger and save the world from destruction.

‘This is an example of true convergence,’ says Comeau. ‘Because the broadcast animation is being done in Flash, all the art

assets can immediately be put on-line. But instead of putting them on-line as webisodes or Flash playbacks of what is seen on TV, we’ve put a lot of code behind it so that the site is interactive, allowing children to explore the world they’ve seen on TV.’ The adventure games will be serial, and Collideascope has created a content publishing engine to automate the site update and the creation of new adventures concurrent with the release of new eps of the broadcast series.

Collideascope is also using Flash Generator and some of its own technology to create an on-line world that has the ability to customize itself depending on the user. ‘What that means is that the server knows and can respond to each individual user, knowing where they are in the adventure and giving them new stuff on the fly,’ says Comeau.

Collideascope will be using a diversified business model where the primary source of revenue for the site will be sublicensing and syndication, with merchandising and ad revenue as secondary.

To get the word out about this new convergence project, Comeau has spoken at a variety of conferences on the business and technology models behind the project. As for future plans, Collideascope is developing several web-only properties and Comeau hopes to expand the Ollie brand on-line to include a variety of children’s entertainment and information properties. Content creation for a broadband premium version of the

Ollieland.com site is also in the works.

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