Yahoo says that it has exclusive online rights to the sci-fi adventure series Electric City, which will be shown in several parts beginning in 2012 supported by “a deeply immersive and interactive online experience that enhances the drama, mystery and intrigue of the series.” Electric City will be available in several languages including French and Spanish, and will be complemented by opportunities for fans to interact with the cast and creators. No word on financial terms. The announcement coincides with this week’s 2012 International CES consumer electronics show. Here’s the release:

LAS VEGAS, Nev., International CES (January 9, 2012) – Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), the premier digital media company, today announced that they have joined forces with Playtone and Reliance Entertainment to bring Tom Hanks’ multi-dimensional animated series “Electric City” to Yahoo! in 2012. As the exclusive online broadcast home for “Electric City,” Yahoo! will bring Hanks’ vision and storytelling to a global audience. Set in a futuristic society, “Electric City” is a new 90- minute action-packed sci-fi adventure series, and marks Yahoo!’s first foray into original scripted programming. “Electric City” was created by and stars Tom Hanks.

The introduction of “Electric City” will take center stage at a private event at CES with Tom Hanks and Ross Levinsohn, EVP Americas, Yahoo! on January 10.

“‘Electric City’ is a thought-provoking and engaging series and we are thrilled to be partnering with Playtone and Reliance Entertainment to bring Tom Hanks’ vision to the world on Yahoo! for the first time,” said Ross Levinsohn, EVP Americas, Yahoo!. “‘Electric City’ is so much more than just an online video series – it is an interactive and immersive experience from one of the world’s biggest stars and premier storytellers.”

“Yahoo! has clearly established itself as the go-to destination for big events and breaking news and we are focused on providing the best digital canvas for the world’s greatest storytellers to create, develop and showcase their visions,” said Levinsohn. “‘Electric City’ is further proof that we want to set the bar in premium online content and be the global home for groundbreaking ventures from the world’s best-known and next-generation artists.”

“It was always our intent to have this project live and breathe online and we felt Yahoo! would be the perfect home,” said Playtone’s Gary Goetzman.

“Electric City is the first of its kind, a clutter-breaking, global 360 digital project. Working with Tom and Playtone has been an amazing experience and this series could not have been possible without Tom’s vision and creativity. We also feel that with its reach and technology, Yahoo! is the best distribution partner for this project,” said Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Vice Chairman Reliance Group. “Electric City reinforces Reliance’s commitment to invest and innovate in the global entertainment industry. We will continue to create more global and multi-platform digital projects involving top Hollywood talent.”

What is “Electric City”?
The world as we know it has ended and out of the rubble, the Electric City stands as a symbol of peace and security. Yet under the veneer of order lies a world full of secrets and violence. Secret police, back-alley dealings, daring chases, and murder all find a home in the “Electric City.” Through the lens of a functioning, yet dystopian metropolis, “Electric City” touches upon relevant global issues and themes including energy consumption, freedom of information, crime and punishment and more. The story unfolds gradually, layering mystery upon mystery, inviting viewers to interact with the content and each other. Metaphors and symbols are woven throughout, creating a perfect environment for puzzle-solving and community interaction. Like good science fiction, “Electric City” raises provocative questions about our own way of life and value systems. Short-form connecting storylines combined with vivid animation and a compelling score will keep audiences watching, while metaphors and a range of subject lines will keep them guessing—and reflecting.

The “Electric City” Experience on Yahoo!
“Electric City” will be shown as a multi-part series on Yahoo!, and will be supported by a deeply immersive and interactive online experience that enhances the drama, mystery and intrigue of the series.

Yahoo!’s interactive and social features will allow viewers to:
o Navigate non-linearly and learn more about the world of “Electric City” through a 3-D interactive map
o Dig deeper into character back-stories and learn about the cast behind the characters’ voices
o Watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage
o Post reactions and commentary directly to Facebook and Twitter
o Engage members of their social networks in discussions and debates about societal themes, events and characters and/or join the larger “Electric City” community discussion
o Engage in casual games and other content related to the series

“Electric City” will also live across multiple devices and comes enabled for tablet and connected TV. The series will be punctuated by special events, such as opportunities to watch exclusive content and to interact with the cast and creators. As a truly global entertainment experience, the series will also be available in numerous languages, including French and Spanish.

With 700 million users worldwide, Yahoo! provides the massive scale that Hollywood is looking for and Yahoo! knows better than anyone else how to program and market premium content for both the consumer and advertiser.

“Electric City” complements Yahoo!’s already robust portfolio of original online premium video programming which provides marketers a huge opportunity to align their brands with world class, premium content across the Yahoo! network. With 9 of the top 10* most watched shows on the web, (including omg! NOW, Primetime in No Time and Daily Ticker) — Yahoo!’s original video programs reach more than 26 million* people per month. Yahoo! continues to invest heavily in top quality video as evidenced by “Electric City,” its highly buzzed about women’s programming slate which launched in October, and its eagerly awaited comedy slate debuting February 2012.

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