ITV has heralded a new era of 360-degree commissioning as it gears up to launch a ground-breaking array of multiplatform content around teen musical drama Britannia High.

The show marks ITV's largest ever investment in multiplatform content and will be the first ITV1 programme to premiere online ahead of transmission on TV - going out a full week early.

Head of online commissioning Kate Bradshaw said Britannia High would set a new benchmark for ITV and declared: “The BBC is not the only 360-degree commissioner in town.”

ITV has created a fictional world for the show, pitched as High School Musical-meets-Fame, where fans can immerse themselves in content available online, through mobile phones and red button, and on social networking sites such as Bebo.

The show's website will feature school newsletters and e-zines, exclusive episodes, and character profiles similar to MySpace where content will be posted regularly.

One gossipy character will be obsessed with Twitter and two of the characters who run an underground radio station in the programme will post a two-hour loop from their fictional show on the site each week.

Multiplatform indie Somethin' Else has worked on the radio elements and will produce a series of 18 podcasts, which will be available on the website.The website will also sell the songs featured in the series.

Character profiles, previews and catch-ups will all be available through the red button, as well as dance tutorials and a 45-minute behind-the-scenes documentary.

On Bebo, fans will be able to post comments to the characters' pages and find out more about them. Mobile users will be able to download news and gossip, film clips, wallpapers and ringtones.

Bradshaw said Britannia High would be the first of many similar initiatives, with the next series of Primeval earmarked for full multiplatform treatment.

“For the first time, our multi-platform content hasn't been something that has been bolted on at the end. Every part of ITV has been touched by Britannia High and we've decided exactly what will work for each platform.”

She said producers wanting to pitch to ITV should consider a 360-degree approach from the outset.

“Even if they don't know exactly what they want to do, we'll work with them to get ideas,” she said.

Britannia High is made by ITVP and Universal Music TV arm Globe Productions.