The Social TV Awards, presented in Los Angeles tonight (July 17), honoured excellence "to all players in the fast moving Social TV space." Heartland, CBC's most popular family drama, has won the Best Drama Social TV Award - the only Canadian TV show to get a nomination, let alone win. Starring Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle, Heartland has one of the most devoted online fan communities in the country.
To be more specific, it's the Heartland Ranch game, playable on Facebook, that impressed the judges. The game allows players to, "Farmville-style", run their own virtual horse ranch: tending horses, growing various goods, developing ranch businesses, and expanding their operation while being assisted by their friends, as well as characters from the show.
Speaking to us before heading to the awards ceremony, Fergus Heywood, Senior Producer of Interactive for Scripted & Commissioned programming said "We're really pleased with the nomination - there are a lot of incredibly innovative programs, people, and companies shortlisted for the Social TV awards this year, and it's a great group to be a part of."
When asked what inspired this approach for Heartland online, he continued "Since Heartland premiered in 2007, there's always been a highly engaged online fan base. Thousands of fan sites, YouTube mashups, message boards, and even a strong fan-fiction contingent exist, with a demographic that spans pre-teens to seniors. The Heartland audience is also extremely active on Facebook, making this show a perfect fit for a social game."
"The thing that we really strived for from the beginning - and one of the things that we believe makes the Heartland Ranch game stand out as truly innovative - was tight integration with the TV production. We had Heartland's writers creating content for the game, terrific producer involvement, and everything tied in directly with situations and events week by week in the series. This kind of seamless collaboration between the CBC, the amazing creative team behind the show, and the game producers is an approach that is spreading to every scripted show we have on the air, and it's really paying off."
Congratulations to everyone on the Heartland team.
Click the image below to go to the Heartland Ranch game.
We played How Well Do You Know Your CBC Co-Star with Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle, check it out below: