Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mark Burnett's Gold Rush!

Interesting article on Mark Burnett, the guy that started the reality TV craze. He has a new show called Gold Rush! The author draws out implications on the changing landscape of Television.

From the article:

"The producer’s company and AOL are airing a real-life treasure hunt for the Web. Gold Rush! features “everyday people” rather than celebrities. Clues will be placed throughout the AOL network, including on sites like MapQuest, Moviefone, and

Bringing reality TV to the Web, Burnett notes, was inspired by the passion TV fans display on online bulletin boards. He predicts the Internet is about to become the next broadcast network, and, as more people watch content online, prime time will be all-the-time.

“If you think about the amount of people that are online all day, it’s staggering,” Burnett says. “It’s an audience that’s already hooked in.”

Already, video blogs and new “shows” like those being produced by AOL are attempting to create programming that takes advantage of the Internet as a medium, rather than using the Web as a mere distribution channel to push traditional TV shows.

“Storytelling will always be the most important aspect of a show,” Burnett reminds us. “It doesn’t matter if it’s online, if viewers are offering input or if it’s bringing together different online properties. It will be the same online as it is around the campfire: if you can’t tell a good story, nobody will listen.”


"AOL and Mark Burnett have agreed to feature CBS programming, along with ads from shared sponsors, in the fabric of the Gold Rush online game. The companies described a scenario in which game players view CBS TV shows, and the accompanying advertising, searching for "clues" that will help them move forward in the game.

CBS won't alter the content of programming to facilitate game play, but will instead give the producers advance looks at shows so that they can incorporate existing elements. CBS may also provide celebrities or show-related content to enhance the online game experience.

"This will be timed for CBS fall line-up," said Ruth Sarfaty, an AOL spokesperson. "Shows that CBS wants to highlight will be promoted as part of the game." Gold Rush is set to debut in September. "

Business 2.0:

"Each week, aspiring contestants will be forced to seek out and assemble a dozen clues pointing to a cache's hiding place. The first three to correctly guess its location will be whisked away to compete against each other for $100,000; a dozen winners will then reconvene at the end for a shot at another million.

That's the key question, of course: Can Burnett's digital wizardry stimulate a critical mass of interest (and pageviews) on AOL's "Gold Rush" site? Will the show, in other words, become a genuine viral phenomenon, or will the online audience see it as tainted by its corporate association?

Burnett concedes that it will take time to educate the mainstream audience, but "Gold Rush" is also serving as an educational experience for Burnett as well. His production company has already announced its next online venture: creating tie-in games for the forthcoming DreamWorks Animation movie "Flushed Away." And next time, he won't have the benefit of cash prizes."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has been a lot of blogging and web site activity around the AOL Gold Rush game already some with clues and hints. A lot of people are enjoying the game and I heard a report that some 200,000 people at least are "playing" it, which I suppose means have played parts of it.

A directory of sites and blogs on the game is at Directory.

September 20, 2006  
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