Al Roker's Production Company to Premiere Live Reality Show on Facebook

Series to Star Matthew McConaughey's Wife Camila Alves

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Al Roker Entertainment's RokerLive will premiere its first live show on Camila Alves' Facebook page.
Al Roker Entertainment's RokerLive will premiere its first live show on Camila Alves' Facebook page. Credit: Camila Alves via Facebook

It was only a matter of time before someone used Facebook's new live-streaming technology to premiere a live show on the social network. That someone is "Today" co-host Al Roker.

Mr. Roker's 21-year-old production company Al Roker Entertainment has opened a live-programming division, RokerLive, that will debut its first show on Facebook on Wednesday.

RokerLive's inaugural series will star Matthew McConaughey's wife Camila Alves. In each 15- to 20-minute weekly episode of "Camila's Code," the mother of three will teach viewers how to prepare certain recipes and offer tips on various do-it-yourself projects. The episodes will stream live from Ms. Alves' Facebook page and also be available on-demand indefinitely after they air.

Al Roker Entertainment's entry into live online programming stems from Mr. Roker's appearance at this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, where he took the stage alongside someone from the festival's breakout app Meerkat, which lets people live stream from their phones. "And all the lightbulbs started going off in our heads," said Ron Pruett, chief adviser at RokerLabs.

But if Meerkat was the impetus for RokerLive, why wasn't it or any of the myriad other live-streaming platforms chosen to stream "Camila's Code"? Because Facebook's monthly audience of 1.5 billion people around the world offers the broadest viewership base, according to Mr. Pruett. The show's target audience is 24-to-35-year-old women, and it hopes Ms. Alves' Brazilian roots will attract viewers around the world. While he said the social network "currently" is not directly involved in the show, Facebook did invite Mr. Roker to be one of the first people to try out its live-streaming technology, which was announced in August.

Facebook, however, isn't the only live-streaming service RokerLabs might eye for future programs. There's Meerkat, which Mr. Roker has used to spotlight dinner-on-demand service Plated. But there's also Twitter's Meerkat rival Periscope. And Amazon's Twitch, which people primarily use to live stream themselves playing video games. And YouTube, which has its own live-streaming capability. And then there are portals like Yahoo and AOL that have doubled down on their live programming efforts this year. "I think folks are now ready for it," Mr. Pruett said of live online video.

But what about brands? "Camila's Code" will premiere without any ads, though that may not be the case for long. With 12 episodes in the can, the RokerLive team is discussing potential deals with some advertisers in the food and beverage industries, Mr. Pruett said. In particular, the company is looking to arrange product placement and show-endorsement deals with the potential for Ms. Alves to shoot an episode at a location tied to a brand. "Then, inevitably, what you hope for is a commerce component," said Mr. Pruett, pointing to the potential of distributing a live show on Twitter that could incorporate the social network's "buy now" button to sell advertisers' products promoted in an episode. As RokerLive looks to produce more live original programs for other platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, it's also looking to produce live shows for brands, Mr. Pruett said.

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