How’s this for synergy: Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace (NWS) has tapped daughter Elizabeth Murdoch’s production company Shine Group to shop Web shows for TV syndication in overseas markets. Reuters says the deal is to licence shows abroad or to create localised versions of series such as “Quarterlife” and “Roommates.”
MySpace owns “Roommates,” but doesn’t own “Quarterlife,” so presumably MySpace negotiated those rights from creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. Regardless, international Web and TV might actually be a viable aftermarket for Web shows. Michael Eisner just sold “Prom Queen” into several international markets, including France and Japan.
But the it raises the question: if Web shows are selling abroad, why aren’t they selling here? The Web-to-TV window is pretty much closed at the bigger broadcast and cable networks, slammed shut in part by “Quarterlife”‘s flop on NBC and Bravo. But what about the dozens of niche cable networks starving for content? They wouldn’t need to pay much: The budgets for these Web shows are so small to begin with, even a small licence fee would go a long way to recouping costs.
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