Shortland Street Goes Viral in HD

Shortland Street fans can download last week’s top-rating movie-length episode in HD.

South Pacific Pictures announced today it was using new technology to give fans the chance to buy the winter season-finale via Facebook.

The file sizes vary depending on the format chosen. For example, the HD Quicktime version is 556MB while the SD Quicktime is 198MB.

The HD version varies from 377MB-556MB and SD from 118MB–245MB.

“They’ve been optimised to be as small as possible but still be great quality,” Shortland Street publicist Rachel Keereweer says.

The episode, which screened a week ago, drew 834,000 viewers, or nearly 20% of all New Zealanders – which is why South Pacific Pictures has seized the chance to offer downloads of the episode in its entirety from Shortland Street’s fan page on Facebook.

Facebook introduced the innovation two weeks ago and Shortland Street is the second TV show in the world to implement it.

Shortland Street producer Steven Zanoski calls it an example of the show continuing to lead trends after nearly 20 years on air.

“This Facebook initiative shows that we are continuing to adopt the latest trends, and growing with our audience by embracing the new technologies that are so important to them.”

The serial has more than 215,000 fans on Facebook. As of today, they can buy the episode using Facebook credits bought with a credit card, mobile payment or gift card.

If the downloads prove popular, expect more episodes to be made available as Shortland Street prepares to mark its 20th anniversary in May 2012.

“We will, of course, always have to wait until TVNZ Ondemand has had their chance to play them before we can put them up on the Facebook page,” Keereweer says.

“But there is lots of scope to offer big historical episodes  — weddings, babies, deaths …”

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