‘Afterworld’ to Debut on Bud.TV

NEW YORK Afterworld, a post-apocalyptic series on Anheuser-Busch’s new Bud.TV broadband channel, will have its own afterlife across mobile and game platforms.

For its packager, Omnicom Group-owned branded content shop Full Circle Entertainment, the show ushers in a world of digital programming alongside what until now has been a television-heavy slate.

Afterworld mixes live action and animation to crack the mystery of the world’s lone survivor, an ad executive. After its first 10 installments are unveiled Monday through Friday of this week and next, the two-minute show will take a hiatus to build word-of-mouth from Bud.TV’s archives before its remaining 120 episodes begin running in April.

Independent producers Stan Rogow, Brent Friedman and Michael Decourcey created the series and pitched it to Full Circle president and chief executive Robert Riesenberg in the hopes of landing sponsorship and distribution.

Riesenberg in turn proposed the series to Anheuser-Busch as the brewer was developing its Bud.TV entertainment menu. “It seemed like a perfect match,” said Riesenberg, given A-B’s “innovative, cutting-edge” commercials and the site’s target audience of 21- to 34-year-old men, typically fans of the sci-fi genre.

Bud.TV is licensing the series, which has yet to integrate a sponsor in its storyline, for an undisclosed amount.

Together with the production team, Full Circle is exploring ways to weave interactive opportunities into the program’s extensions, slated to debut in roughly six months. According to Riesenberg, one technique may involve embedding clues in the lead character’s diary as he charts his odyssey back home, helping cross-media users to unravel “what has caused this catastrophe on earth.”

Full Circle is now in discussions with distributors concerning five additional Web projects, including one with a television window.

“We’re branching out and adding an additional focus,” said Riesenberg of the three-year-old venture. “Digital will become a significant part of what we do.”

The impetus to move beyond traditional media came from working with advertisers who “have become enamored with the two-way aspects of digital,” he explained, noting that “it allows them to have a direct relationship with the consumer” in the immediate and long term.

Yet, as executive producer of such TV fare as Meet Mr. Mom, The Restaurant, The Club, Bound for Glory and He’s a Lady, Riesenberg isn’t forsaking TV anytime soon.

“At the end of the day, television still draws a big audience,” he said.

As the year began, Bud.TV green-lighted Hardly News, which mixes current events and comedy with a game-show format. The 8-10-minute show debuted Feb. 5, the day Bud.TV went live.