Skip navigation

Meredith_Salenger_Operation_Midnight_Climax

In a few days I’m going to be presenting  a panel on branded entertainment at the annual SPAA Conference, with Sarah-Jane Woulahan. Preparing for our session has really been a great refresher on what’s out there, what’s working and what’s not; and I thought I would share some of it.

Webisodic content is not new… some folks have been doing it for years.

RvB_general_posterIn 2003 Red vs Blue started streaming from Youtube and Revver. Initially intended for a season of six to eight episodes, the series unexpectedly racked up more than 100 million views in its first season. Although now officially over, there have been five seasons and three mini-series of the machinima webisodes, created primarily from Halo games, by Rooster Teeth.

In 2006 the series Sam Has 7 Friends appeared on Youtube, Revver and iTunes. The series set up the premise that one of Sam’s friends was going to kill her, and we had to keep watching to learn which one it would be. The series was created by Big Fantastic, and came to the attention of Michael Eisner who hired them to produce Prom Queen, the first internet series for his company Vuguru.

Also in 2006, LonelyGirl15 arrived on Youtube and was made famous three months later when the show was revealed to be a hoax, the product of a trio of filmmakers. The series has had more than 100 million views, and subsequent spin-off series Kate Modern was created for distribution through Bebo.

The GuildThe Guild is a series for the web, about the web, that started in 2007. It focuses on a group of people who play World Of Warcraft together (the Knights of Good) whose virtual lives spill over into the real world. The Guild has won several awards and is still in production. The series is distributed through Youtube, iTunes and the XBox Live Marketplace.

Last year Ileana Douglas created web comedy series Easy To Assemble, shot in Ikea’s Burbank store. Ikea liked what she did and came on board to finance the second series. Easy To Assemble has a great cast (Jeff Goldblum, Tom Arnold, Justine Bateman and many more) and features parody Ikea training videos at the end of each episode.

Things have certainly changed from when vlogging was the staple fare for webisodes. There are aggregator sites and web series hubs popping up all over the place. These are just a few of them:

and of course there are the usual suspects Youtube, Revver and Vimeo.

Web series are getting better and longer and are aiming for a more sophisticated viewer than they did a few years ago. Advances in broadband speeds mean there’s a world of online content available to most residents in developed countries now, and it’s only a matter of time before the cultural practice catches up. Creators of content are finding they have the freedom to broadcast a show they want to make, unrestricted by distributors and networks. The only inhibiting factor, it would seem, is the cost of producing the show in the first place. Increasingly we’re seeing clever ways to do it (just check out the diversity of shows being produced through Lexus’ own channel for example).

The picture featured at the top of this post is a still from Operation Midnight Climax, a stylised, almost fetishist web-series that started streaming a few months ago. The show’s enterprising producers have several revenue streams built in to their offering, including mugs, stickers, hats, t-shirts and magnets. From Lonelygirl15 to here is a reasonable distance.

Forlon Gaze

My partner in SPAA presenting crime was responsible for the creation of Australian immersive entertainment experience Forlorn Gaze, and KCDC is working with Sarah-Jane to migrate the property onto more screens and take it even further into the real world.

We’ll post a video of our presentation next week. Till then, happy viewing. Please share some of your favourites!

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the Web Series Network link Kelly. Is there a way to follow your blogs?

    Rich

  2. Hi Rich
    You can subscribe at http://feeds.feedburner.com/KellyChapmansBlog


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Are We There Yet? « Kelly Chapman’s Blog on 13 Feb 2010 at 10:09 am

    […] the best part of the last decade and some have achieved phenomenal audience and ancillary success (see my earlier post) but unlike traditional broadcast media, there’s no standard formula for financing their […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: