Degrassi gets virtual with vSide

CTV's next-gen high schoolers will interact with virtual viewers during a week-long in-world promo to pump the show's season finale.

CTV’s strategy to keep viewers engaged with Degrassi: The Next Generation, leading up the season finale this month, will include a move into the 3D social entertainment platform vSide. The virtual world is produced by San Francisco-based Doppelganger and has attracted The Tyra Banks Show and The Pussycat Dolls, but Degrassi: TNG marks the first Canadian television series to sign on.

Degrassi: TNG will host a week-long virtual event, dubbed ‘Degrassi Spirit Week,’ in vSide on Monday, June 16. Cast members will make appearances throughout the week as vSide avatars at, during scheduled interviews and within the world’s own After School Radio and Virtual Request Live outlets. Users will also be able to purchase Degrassi clothing.

CTV president of creative, content and channels Susanne Boyce called the initiative ‘a virtual breakthrough for Canadian television.’ The net has already promoted the launch by getting eTalk‘s Ben Mulroney to create a 3D avatar of himself and interview Degrassi cast member Mike Lobel (Jay) in the Degrassi DOT Grill in vSide.

Targeting the 13-24 demo, vSide aims to connect teens with friends and give them a means to express their creativity. Users can play games, earn vSide credits to purchase virtual items, select and decorate their own apartments, throw parties, play music and stream YouTube videos. Activity and chats are monitored to keep it safe for teens.

Degrassi: TNG airs Mondays at 7:30 pm ET, with the season seven finale on the sked for June 23. The show will continue to air in that time slot until season eight, now in production, premieres in the fall.