Facebook is searching for the world's most amazing dog
Does your pet have what it takes? Auditions will be open soon.
Sure, we all think our Fido is fantastic. But do you think your pooch is positively the best? Perhaps he can fetch the strangest items. Or maybe your Greyhound can run faster than his namesake bus. Or perhaps your dog has a bigger vocabulary than some of your work colleagues. Or maybe your dog has a touching rescue story that will bring tears to viewers everywhere.
If any of this is ringing true, then Facebook wants to hear from you. The social media giant is launching a video series called "The World's Most Amazing Dog," an interactive global competition show. Facebook users will be encouraged to post audition clips of their pets. The reality show is based on an Israeli series from Gil Formats called "Oh My Dog" which highlights the relationships between pets and their owners.
The show will be co-produced by The Dodo, a New York-based digital media company. You may be familiar with some of The Dodo's content: they have 21 million Facebook followers and specialize in heartwarming and funny pet videos.
We know what you're thinking: a new TV show ... on Facebook? Yep. In an effort to get people to spend (even) more time on the site, they've recently launched a section called Facebook Watch. The channel is a repository of fun videos for people to watch while they're waiting in line, riding the subway or on their lunch break. While many of the videos are simply clips from other places (like Jimmy Fallon's celebrity interviews from "The Tonight Show"), Facebook is going to be creating original content as well. You may have heard, for instance, that a reboot of MTV's "The Real World" franchise will be debuting on Facebook Watch next spring.
“What is unique about Facebook Watch is that it’s built on the notion that watching videos doesn’t have to be a passive experience and can instead connect you with others,” said Paresh Rajwat, Facebook's head of video products. “Our mission is to enable shared experiences and a sense of belonging through videos.” To that end, the dog show will include a community-centric experience, complete with voting and other social media tools. Facebook will also be encouraging co-viewing experiences called "Watch Parties" so that friends around the world can view the same episode at the same time.
It's no surprise that the idea for the new dog show stems from Israel. In recent years, Tel Aviv has become known as one of the most canine-friendly metropolises in the world. According to the city, there’s one dog for every 14 residents – one of the highest rates anywhere. With more than 60 dog parks, an annual dog festival and miles of dog-friendly beaches, it's no wonder Facebook looked there for a dog TV show idea.
The country's creative startup culture has given birth to several high-tech accoutrements for the canine set. Israeli entrepreneur Ron Levi created Dog TV, a television network to keep your dog engaged while you're away from home. Meanwhile, scientists in a Tel Aviv laboratory have developed a facial recognition tool for dogs. Tel Aviv native Tamar Geller is now a world-renowned dog expert who has trained the canine companions of A-List celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart, Ryan Seacrest, Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman. It's a city where some of the dogs are even famous on Instagram.
Even the long history of dogs and their human companions is believed to have started in this Mediterranean country. In the 1960s, a key find from an archaeological site in northern Israel established one of the first dates in dog-human anthropological history. The skeleton of a woman and her puppy were found buried together and could be dated to about 15,000 years ago.
Well, viewers won't have to wait another 15,000 years to get their fix of the true meaning of man's best friend: "The World's Most Amazing Dog" is expected to premiere on Facebook Watch in 2019.
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