CTV orders new digital series Backpackers from Shaftesbury’s Smokebomb Entertainment

Canada’s CTV together with Shaftesbury announced today at MIPCOM, the world’s annual entertainment content market in France, that CTV has ordered the original, ground-breaking, digital-only series Backpackers, produced by Smokebomb Entertainment, Shaftesbury’s digital media division.

With this announcement, Backpackers becomes the first stand-alone digital series ordered by CTV for deployment across the full suite of CTV and Bell Media digital platforms.

Offering a live-action, straight-play narrative as well as an interactive choose-your-own-adventure style app, Backpackers follows best friends “Ryan” and “Brandon” on a wild goose chase across Europe in search of Ryan’s fiancée “Beth.” Shot on-location in Europe and targeted to the coveted advertiser-friendly A18-34 demographic, Smokebomb will start principal photography in spring 2013 with delivery of eight, six-minute episodes to CTV in Q2.

“Our order of Backpackers speaks to our strategy to conceive, commission, and deliver new and innovative stand-alone content to the full spectrum of Bell Media’s digital platforms, for advertisers and young audiences alike,” said Mike Cosentino, Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks.

“How fortunate we are in Canada to be able to create groundbreaking digital content through the continued support of the CMF’s Experimental Fund,” said Jay Bennett, Vice-President and Creative Director, Smokebomb Entertainment. “CTV’s extensive digital platforms powered by Bell Media makes them the perfect partner for Backpackers, and the first of many international media partners that we hope will bring this series to territories around the world.”

In an attempt to get over a serious case of cold feet, Backpackers finds recent college graduates Beth and Ryan embarking on separate European adventures for three weeks leading up to their wedding. While traveling with their respective friends, they are free to act as singles, adopting the mantra “what happens in Europe, stays in Europe.” Hours into Ryan’s adventure he realizes he’s made a huge mistake and sets off in pursuit of Beth in order to prevent both of them from doing something they will regret.

In order to capture the freedom and spontaneity that comes from backpacking across Europe, Backpackers will be offered in a choose-your-own-adventure format via the Backpackers App, which will launch in conjunction with the Backpackers digital series. Viewers can decide the routes that Ryan and Brandon will take, and their choices will set in motion an adventure of multiple pathways and possibilities.

Backpackers is funded with the participation of the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream and the OMDC’s Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.

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