“The Nordic countries are way ahead of the rest of the world in multiplatform storytelling”
WHERE IS THEA?
Distributor Magnify Media
Producer Anti TV
Length 56 x 3-6 minutes; 10 x 23 minutes
Broadcasters TV2 Norway; Sumo TV (Norway)
A multiplatform crime mystery from the aptly named Norwegian producer Anti TV, Where Is Thea? follows a young woman called Liv who becomes an amateur detective when her friend Thea goes missing.
As she scours social media and the wider web to track down her friend, Liv starts to realise it’s not just a question of ‘where is Thea?’ but ‘who is Thea?’.
The youth-skewing format is distributed internationally by Magnify Media, whose chief executive Andrea Jackson previously worked with the producer on True Selfie, about young people with mental health issues.
Pre-tx interest in Norway was stoked by a missing-girl poster campaign that looked as realistic as could be allowed. The story then unfolded via TV2 Norway’s VoD platform Sumo TV, with three- to six-minute episodes released daily over eight weeks.
“They weren’t released at a scheduled time because the producers wanted to create a sense of how a real investigation might unfold,” says Jackson.
In addition to the 56 episodes, the producers also posted updates via platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
“Again, the idea was to make it look like Liv was publishing everything she did so that people could help her find Thea,” says Jackson. “Audiences didn’t need to see these updates to enjoy the drama, but they deepened the engagement.”
For anyone who wanted to watch the show in a traditional way, TV2 Norway also aired it weekly as a 10 x 23-minute series.
One aspect that Jackson believes helped it stand out was that it was shot almost in real time. “The producers could listen to what the fanbase was saying,” she says. “If they liked something, they could work it into the script.”
Magnify is launching the format at Mip TV and Jackson expects it to appeal to any broadcaster seeking to connect with young audiences.
“I really believe the Nordic countries are way ahead of the rest of the world in multiplatform storytelling,” she says. “Broadcasters wanting to reconnect with younger audiences could learn from the ideas coming out of the market.”
Although it is easy to get blinded by the ingenuity of the process on projects like this, Jackson stresses that at its core is a traditionally well-told, gripping story that rated well in Norway.