NewTeeVee reports that MySpace, along with the FOX network and the Producers Guild of America, is launching a new video competition, which aims to seek out new television production talent via the social networking site. Dubbed the "Storyteller Challenge", starting September 4, MySpace will ask for 5-to 7-minute television "pilots" to be submitted and voted on by users of the site. Two winners will be rewarded with a $25,000 pay-cheque, as well as the possibility of a development deal with FOX.
As TechCrunch notes, MySpace has already had success with their short form webisode, "Prom Queen", which delivered over 15 million streams during its first season and is readying for a second one. And of course there was the MyMovie Mashup, a UK-only competition to find the director for a new 1.96 million dollar-funded British movie. We also reported earlier in the week on rumors of a professionally produced series being commissioned by MySpace, to make its debut on the social networking site. Putting all of this together it's clear that in the perceived battle between MySpace and Facebook, the former is keen to further position itself as a destination for original content -- and community built around that content -- rather than a platform purely designed for communication. In a sense, this is MySpace playing on its original strength and heritage as a place for bands (many of which are unsigned) to connect with fans and other musicians, blurring the line between artist and audience.
The other thing to note about the "Storyteller Challenge" is that it looks to be following a certain old-skoolway of thinking -- in which the ultimate prize for content producers who harness the new online medium, is a chance to cross over to traditional media. The day that this changes -- and it's coming -- is the day that Internet TV has really arrived.