Samsung is holding their third annual Free the TV Challenge and the theme this year is Second Screen Storytellers which means they’re looking for a full package production that will couple TV viewing with additional content meant to be viewed on another screen but tie directly into the story and the show. They’ve teamed with NYTVF, New York Television Festival, and are offering a whopping $300,000 production budget to the winner as well as distribution on Samsung Smart TVs and Galaxy devices.

According to the release:

Free the TV Challenge III – “Second Screen Storytellers” is Samsung’s third Free the TV Challenge, following successful competitions in 2010 and 2011. This latest challenge represents the first time Samsung will be working with NYTVF and the indie storytelling community to push the boundaries of the Samsung consumer experience.

Entries are being accepted from August 6, 2012 through September 24, 2012. The winning selection will be announced at the 8th annual New York Television Festival, taking place from October 22-27, 2012, in lower Manhattan. The winning show will then debut at CES 2013 in January and then exclusively distributed via Samsung Smart TVs and Galaxy devices.

It’s notable because it’s the first time that the NYTVF is doing a multiple-screen initiative. The second screen material should complement the story and provide viewers with greater access to characters and settings, though it shouldn’t interfere with or replace the arc of the episode.

I have long praised Samsung for their multi-screen approach to the world. They have intimately tied together all of their devices in a way that I think continues to show the rest of the major manufacturers how it should be done and what can be accomplished.

Multi-Screen Strategy

The big thing that I see in this is that it’s the first time that a major TV maker is offering production funds for a show that purposely incorporates a second screen experience which further expands the story and the world of the particular programming in this way. It could mark the beginning of a new era fueled by projects and opportunities like this. It also means that online video could once again jump to the TV screen, depending on whether or not an existing pilot for an online show gets picked up for this deal. $300,000 is a pretty big production budget and the guaranteed distribution via Samsung devices could really be a major leg up for whomever wins.

I’ve talked about screen convergence for some time and more recently I’ve been talking about show convergence, the same show airing online and subsequently on TV. This takes all of that, rolls it up into one big ball and spits out what could be some awesome content and storytelling opportunities. It offers all the interactivity of online video with the big screen appeal of a large HDTV and could be the future of programming production one day.

Now, I’ve got the pilot script, 5-year story arc and idea along with a second screen content plan, who’s got the video production company? No, seriously.