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As audiences increasingly turn away from traditional content channels, producers and networks are increasingly trying on different revenue models for multiplatform content production & distribution.

People expect the internet to be free.

The Burg is one of my favourite webisode series. I heard about it at Tribeca last year, when one of the show’s creators was part of a panel I attended. At that time, The Burg was being released as 20 minute webisodes, available in full screen, and updated weekly. These days The Burg is only updated every few weeks and is delivered in 2 and 3 minute instalments. The show’s producers are actively searching for a sponsor.

Trying out a model that whets the appetite of frontline fans for free and then charges those who come later; the first episode of Josh Whedon’s Dr Horrible goes live later today. The first episode, the second (available 17 July) and the third (available 19 July) will only be available for free until July 20, after which time the user will be asked to pay to view, or to purchase on DVD.

Google has recently penned a deal with creator of The Family Guy for exclusive internet distribution of a new property, Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy. Google will promote the series using its AdSense system, and via YouTube. Advertising will be incorporated into the video. This project in some ways is a first (high profile Hollywood creative talent + web giant) and if it attracts an audience large enough to earn a profit… prepare to see dramatic changes in what’s available where.

In the multiplatform projects I’ve worked on, the network paid for the content, and in some cases, the cost was supplemented by in-site advertising.

Defining the perfect revenue model for web content continues to occupy creators/producers and traditional network channels. Brands are still testing the waters of rich internet content and Web 2.0 well-knowns dominate the traffic graphs.

I think the nature of the internet itself dictates each project’s revenue model will have unique features that relate directly to its specific audience. What do you think?

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6 Comments

    • kellychapman
    • Posted July 15, 2008 at 3:01 pm
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    Hmmmm, so Joss Whedon’s Act I is live… but not available outside the US.

  1. oh no, really – i want to see dr. horrible! sitting in austria at the moment, no luck so far.

  2. revision: just got it running. looks hilarious!

    • Vanessa Oxlad
    • Posted July 16, 2008 at 2:28 am
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    NBC Universal/Metro Goldwyn Mayer/Fox/E have an answer to YouTube and it is what I think we can expect for the future of the home media experience…it’s called Hulu.com, and it’s IP blocked so you can only access it from inside the US. It’s a database of literally thousands of hours of television and movies, and not just the classics they’ve pulled out of the vault (I forgot how much I loved ALF) but also has the the newest episodes of the latest shows as soon as they have gone to air…you can watch all 3 seasons of Arrested Development in one weekend, you’re own private marathon. The videos are either in window or full screen and still at good enough quality to watch on your Laptop when you’re at work/starbucks/in bed. Television may be changing, but I think it’s more in terms of the distribution of television not the content. What is possible though is the push for higher quality product, when there is so much to choose from at your leisure, creatives will have to push themselves hard to earn their viewers. Just don’t get me started about the advertising….

    • Vanessa Oxlad
    • Posted July 16, 2008 at 2:30 am
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    oh yeah, and it’s free…

  3. Using hulu.com is an interesting approach networks are taking towards tackling piracy, but I reckon users outside the geo-IP area will still download torrents.

    I agree with you about the demand for high quality content… and believe equally the demand for YouTube home style content will persist. The net allows niche audiences to exist alongside mainstream.


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