In a bid for overseas recognition, Microsoft and Compaq are investing $475,000 to sponsor 26 episodes of a half-hour education/comedy TV show in China about a family that uses a computer for the first time. The weekly sitcom, My Computer Family, debuted in China Friday night.
The premiere episode introduced mom, dad, grandma, son, and nephew, played by famous Chinese actors. Dad journeys to America and decides to blow the family savings on a PC. Future episodes will reveal how the family learns to create spreadsheets and word documents.
Microsoft will also attempt to educate the Chinese about the ongoing software piracy problem. One episode is about a computer game invented by a character who finds that everyone mysteriously has copies of it.
Both companies will share three 30-second commercials per episode with the potential of reaching millions of consumers. Ninety-five percent of Beijing's 11 million residents own a television set. The show will be broadcast in Beijing and sent by satellite nationwide.