With evolving media consumption habits and funding models continuing to shape the industry, Shaftesbury  and its award-winning digital studio Smokebomb Entertainment , have teamed up with the Banff World Media Festival  to launch The AMP (Audience Metrics Partnership) Accelerator  a branded entertainment pitch competition with a focus on engaging female millennial audiences. The top three finalists will be sent to the Banff Media World Festival to pitch their projects during a live Festival session, where one winner will receive a development deal with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb. Submissions will be accepted until April 20.
“Our unique approach to producing branded content is to go beyond product integration or one-off videos by telling continuing, serialized stories targeted to female millennial audiences, who are underserved and looking for stories and characters that speak to them,” Jay Bennett, Vice President, Digital & Creative Director, Shaftesbury/Smokebomb. “We want to give both emerging and established storytellers an opportunity to make their voices heard in this new arena, and learn from our ‘lasercast’ model of digital storytelling and social engagement, which brings audiences and brands together authentically around shared values and interests.”
“BANFF is very pleased to be the platform where innovative digital content can be pitched and be put into development. We are very excited to collaborate with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb on this new initiative, which is sure to elicit amazing new content and talent at BANFF 2015,” said Ferne Cohen, Executive Director of the Banff World Media Festival.
To enter The AMP Accelerator, Canadian resident applicants are invited to submit an English-language pitch for an original scripted digital series, targeted to the 16-24 female demographic and incorporating a female-led narrative. Most importantly, each applicant must also include information and social media research on the specific target audience for their project, including where they can be found and why they would be interested in the content. Brands and products should not be incorporated into the storytelling and pitch.
Following the submission deadline of April 20, a Shaftesbury/Smokebomb jury will review the first round of pitches, after which a shortlist of applicants will be selected to move onto the second stage of submission. On May 20, three finalists will be chosen to receive an all-access pass, travel and accommodations to the Banff World Media Festival, where they will pitch their projects to a panel of industry experts in front of a live Festival audience. In the lead-up to the Festival, Shaftesbury/Smokebomb will work with the finalists to hone their pitch.
The winner, who will be announced at the Banff Festival pitch session, will work with Shaftesbury/Smokebomb to develop their audience engagement and content strategy. Shaftesbury/Smokebomb’s co-venture brand agency, shift2, will explore potential brand partnerships for the pilot.
Smokebomb’s hit YouTube series Carmilla , which is fully financed by the U by Kotex® brand, has generated 14 million views to date since its launch last summer, with a second season set to launch this spring. Smokebomb’s most recent branded entertainment project is the fashion-centric comedy series MsLabelled, produced in partnership with Shaw Media and the Schick® Quattro for Women® brand and launched at the end of March on the VervegirlTV  YouTube channel and Shaw Media’s slice.ca  website.
Submissions are now open at the Banff World Media Festival website. For more details and to submit a pitch, please visit the AMP Accelerator info page .