Channel Flip is launching its first web-only interactive scripted entertainment series, in collaboration with Dell.

The 10-part science-fiction thriller, The Proxy, follows YouTube star Stuart Ashen as he battles against criminal mastermind Peter Baker, played by actor Nathaniel Parker.

Ashen must, with the help of other characters, unravel a mystery in order to save their lives. Viewers will be encouraged to participate in the web thriller via a competition in which they must help unravel clues featured in the story.

Clues will be dropped into each episode directing viewers to other places across the web where they can engage with additional content such as exclusive videos. Viewers must visit these sites to watch the videos and unlock a code needed to enter Dell's prize draw for the chance to win products and trips abroad.

Channel Flip marketing and publishing director Alex Witkowski said, "Clues could be anything from a poster of a fictional company on the wall behind Ashen, which contains a URL people need to follow, or be related to a product or prop one of the characters is holding."

Although viewers will encouraged to participate with the story their activity will not influence the outcome of the series itself. "We're inviting people to investigate the content rather than influencing the actual storyline," added Witkowski.

Channel Flip has picked YouTube as the hub for the show, temporarily taking over Stuart Ashen's own page, which already has 174,501 registered subscribers and has generated over 40m video views to date. Ashen's channel will feature Alienware branding for the next three months as a result.

Dell helped co-develop the series as part of its overarching "Let Your Hero Out" campaign to promote its Alienware X51 product. Dell's director of marketing for Alienware, EMEA, Brian Joyce, told new media age ad-funded programmes such as The Proxy form an increasingly important part of its strategy.

"Our audience, which is skewed heavily toward 16 to 35 year olds male who tend to be hard-core gamers, is very internet savvy. They are not necessarily reading newspapers or magazines and watching TV, so we must engage them online," he said. "It is important to keep trying new things and explore new forms of content that generate buzz and interest. People's consumption habits keep changing and it is vital we continue to evolve in line with that."

The deal was brokered by media agency Mediacom. Joyce said integrating with an online TV show requires the input of multiple teams within the brand. "There's a broad team of people within PR, product, marketing, merchandising which help figure out how we can integrate it with our social media and other digital activities," he said.

The series debuts later this week (8 March) with each episode featuring product placement. Dell plans to link to the series via its other channels including its Alienware arena gaming portal plus Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It will also run idents around the series, which will also be hosted on the Alienware campaign site. Channel Flip is also planning to syndicate the videos across its publisher network which includes The Guardian, and will also develop the series to run across mobile handsets.

The move marks Channel Flip's first move into long-form scripted transmedia storytelling, having traditionally focused on singular-character webisodes fronted by TV celebrities such as David Mitchell's Soapbox series.

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