RTÉ takes a leaf out of Bebo’s book for new interactive series

2 Sep 2008

The makers of the hit show Sofia’s Diary have been commissioned by RTÉ to drive an Irish version called Aisling’s Diary, which will see the station embrace ‘snack TV’ including use of internet TV, blogs and potentially virtual worlds.

The production team behind the Sofia’s Diary show, which is headed by Triona Campbell, will be responsible for 40 bite-sized, three-minute shows of Aisling’s Diary. Sofia’s Diary was broadcast in the UK and attracted over 26 million views and was also shown on the internet on CR Entertainment.

Each episode of Aisling’s Diary will appear daily on TTV on RTÉ Two, just before Home and Away airs at 6.30pm.

A key element of Aisling’s Diary will be its interactivity, with viewers invited onto the show’s web page, where they will be able to keep up to date with what’s happening in Aisling’s life through blogs, and even contact ‘Aisling’ themselves through her profile on social networking site Bebo.

The series will also have exclusive, behind-the-scenes content to air on the RTÉ TTV website and will feature 17 new Irish bands and musicians selected from over 280 who applied via the internet to be part of the series soundtrack.

Created by Nuno Bernardo and directed by Ronan and Rod Burke, the programme chronicles the story of Aisling, a 16-year-old Irish-born American who has just moved from Boston to Dublin with her family.

American actress, Esther Di Maggio, plays the title role of Aisling Fitzsimons. This is Esther’s screen debut, having previously worked on stage in Ireland with her performance in The Project’s adaptation of God’s Lap.

“We already know from our experience with Sofia’s Diary that this format or ‘snack TV’ is extremely popular with young audiences, who are proving much more difficult to reach through traditional media alone,” said series producer’ Triona Campbell.

“An entertainment product can no longer be created for only one platform,” Campbell added.

“It has to be created and distributed across a landscape of media that includes the internet, social networking websites, online games, virtual worlds, television and print. The goal is to submerge audiences in new entertaining experiences and this is exactly what Aisling’s Diary aims to do,” she said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Aisling’s profile on social networking site Bebo

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years