Coronation Street blasts into unique digital content for 50th birthday

ITV is celebrating 50 years of 'Coronation Street' this week with a dramatic tram crash that will also result in the broadcaster's biggest foray into digital media.

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Unfolding in dramatic scenes during 'Coronation Street’s' double bill tonight (6 December), a tram crash in ITV’s fictional Weatherfield will be followed up online at ITV.com in the first of a week’s worth of ‘Tram Crash News Flash’ bulletins.

The mock-up news footage will be anchored by ITN’s real life presenter Alastair Stewart and feature exclusive footage and interviews from characters in the show.

The bulletins will show roving reporter Caroline Whitmore live from the scene, with eyewitness accounts from local residents and reports on the rescue work and critical updates on casualties.  

It will break online every night as part of a plethora of online activity around the 50th anniversary, which will also include exclusive behind- the-scenes material footage, access to the 'Coronation Street' story conference and the making of the historic tram crash episode.

The show's new Facebook game will also have a tram crash scenario built into it and available to access from tonight (6 December).

Ben Freeman, editor of ITV.com, said: "The expansion of digital activity for ITV.com is hugely important, and we're really excited about the potential for top storylines to spin out onto other platforms – we know fans expect 'Corrie' to be strong online.

"We're working with the script writers, cast and crew on this and we're sure fans will love getting deeper insight into storylines and characters in new and exciting ways."

There will also be a live episode of 'Coronation Street' aired on 9 December that will be supported by a Q&A with the cast online.

The story starts in a double bill tonight at 730pm and 830pm, with the first-ever episode of 'Coronation Street' due to be aired in between the shows.

However, opportunities to provide a specific retro-ad break around the show appeared to have been missed, with most media agencies not knowing about the plans.

"It sounds like a great marketing opportunity for some of our more established brands," said one. "But we don’t know anything about it. It appears like ITV have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, commercially-speaking at least."

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