Monday, July 9, 2007

Notes from SECTOR 7

A little bit later than usual (on account of my fleeing London and some serious summer movie madness for seven days of sunshine) here's a round-up of our latest Second Life promotion, for Paramount Pictures' TRANSFORMERS.

Just for anybody who's coming to it cold, the activity consisted of a live, hour-long Q&A with Michael Bay (Director), Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Producer and members of the cast including Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, launching a dedicated 'Sector 7' sim:

Sector 7 has so far received over 12,000 visitors, with an average dwell time of 11 minutes, and the associated Sector 7 group has 700 members and climbing. The success of the sim is no doubt partly due to the fact that it is absolutely chock full of themed freebies, the coolest of which is undoubtedly this wearable replica avatar of Bumblebee (already grabbed over 3,000 times):

Each time we take a movie into Second Life we also try to break new ground - for TRANSFORMERS this was to webcast a live video stream of the Q&A to a global audience of web users, via major online partners in each of twelve key markets. This was achieved working in partnership with Second Life Cable Network (SLCN), who produced the hour-long show and relayed it via Akamai to partner destinations like this one on France's Allocine:

Other partners involved in the streaming event include IGN (Global), The Sun Online (UK), Yahoo! Italy, Omelete (Brazil) and, using a branded version of our generic event microsite, Prodigy MSN (Mexico).

The webcast was drew 37,000 viewers from 85 different countries during the event itself, with a total of 120 GB of data downloaded - we're pretty confident that this is the largest audience ever generated for a live broadcast from within a virtual world.

The archived version has subsequently generated a further 100,000 views, and we've seen loads of excerpts turning up on Youtube, including this little item, captured and posted by Q&A attendee Blunty 3000 - and already viewed no fewer than 13,000 times - in which Megan Fox offers a verdict on her avatar:

The Q&A itself was well subscribed, with 35 journalists from all over the world in attendance, as well as the usual selection of 'local' press. Paramount's Mexican office generated the pick of the coverage, securing features in two major newspapers with a combined circulation 360,000:

Other notable reportage includes an item on Portuguese TV station RTP, a great piece on MTV Europe by Shawn Adler, a blog post on Wired and a typically anarchic write-up on Second Life Insider (syndicated to MySpace News) by SL machinima mogul Moo Money, in which she covers much of the Q&A (including lamenting our decision not to put her question - "Do you have stairs in your house?" - to Michael Bay).

All in all the activity has left a substantial digital footprint, and given a home to a fanatical community of TRANSFORMERS fans within Second Life, many of whom are now baying for the release of a second official avatar. Some have even taken to creating their own, including this outstanding version of Optimus Prime created by one of many visitors to the facility:

To which end, I'm happy to be able to conclude this post by announcing that we will be releasing a second free official avatar within the next seven days. After all, what's an Autobot supposed to get up to all day without a Decepticon to do battle with?

As to the identity of the Decepticon in question? Watch this space :)

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