RealTime IT News

Italy "Jumping" for Big Brother

[Rome, Italy] Grande Fratello, the Italian version of the popular voyeur television program, Big Brother, that has been sweeping the globe, is taking the Mediterranean peninsulas Internet by storm.

"We are working to double our capability to insure quality and speed," explained Massimo Armanini, general manager of Jumpy, the Italian portal that offers live webcast of the 100-day event. "The initial success has been far greater than we ever imagined."

Big Brother is the Truman Show-like television production that has established viewing records around the world. The Italian program, produced and co-branded with the broadcast network MediaSet, the satellite television provider Stream, and the Internet portal Jumpy, takes 10 strangers 5 women and 5 men, between 20 and 35 years and places them into a 185 square meter home with pool, near Cinecitt`, outside of Rome.

Participants have no contact with the outside world and must live together for 100 days, under the constant eye of television and Internet viewers. Participants are not allowed access to televisions, telephones, computers, radios, walkmans, CDs, paper, pen, or even watches. Every 15 days one of the contestants will be eliminated through a combination of voting by fellow participant and spectators. Voting is done through the Jumpy Web site or Streams interactive television. The final contestant will walk away with $125,000.

Italian Internet users are so obsessed with viewing the Grande Fratello contestants as they live their daily lives that the number of hourly visitors to Jumpy has leaped 400 percent since the program launch. According to Massimo Armanini, between 8 and 9 a.m. of the first morning, 200,000 registered visitors entered the Grande Fratello pages, viewing over 1.3 million pages.