Starz Debuts 'Spartacus' Facebook App

Starz today launches a new Facebook app for the new season of its drama series Spartacus that it hopes will build momentum going into the show's January 2012 premiere.

TheTake Up Arms Facebook app allows fans of the series to build up points and win prizes by interacting with the characters of the drama while providing opportunities for users to share their Spartacus social media experience with their Facebook fans, according to Kelly Bumann, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing for the pay TV service.

"We have a really nice, sizable and established base of fans on Facebook - we're getting close to 2 million [site fans],"Bumann told Multichannel News. "Our goal was to look at that audience and get them really enthusiastic for the new season, but also give them some tools to talk up the show and bring in some of their friends."

The free Facebook app allows Spartacus fans to choose a battle leader from among several characters from the series. Fans can then recruit their online friends in the battle by inviting up to six Facebook friends a day to the game.

Fans can also "suit up" by uploading a headshot photo of themselves to the Facebook page which can be juxtaposed on the body of either a Roman or rebel warrior, said Bumann. The photo can then be posted to the player's website.

"We wanted to tee up the fact that there is a Roman versus rebel
uprising [in the series], so we allow people to build and recruit their
army," Bumann said. "It allows people to pick the characters they love
or love to hate and learn a little more about them."

The Spartacus Facebook app will also allow consumers to create video mash-ups of clips from the first season that can be posted on their Facebook pages.

Players accumulate points with each activity they participate in. The player with the most points will win a grand prize trip to New Zealand. Starz will offer other weekly prizes such as DVD's and Spartacus merchandise.

Bumann said the network initially look to offer the Spartacus gaming experience on its site, but realized that most of the show's fans were gathering on the Facebook page. She added that the social network element of the campaign will hopefully expose the series to more potential viewers.

"Even if you decide not to participate in the game but we were able to touch you in some fun way and get you aware of the show then we've done a good job from a marketing standpoint," she said. "If we've given something to the fans that allowed them to connect better to the show then we've served our loyal audience." 

Spartacus: Vengance debuts Jan. 27 with Australian film and TV actor Liam McIntyre in the lead role, replacing Andy Whitfield who died this past September after a long battle with cancer.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.