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The web series industry has seen more change in the last six months than in the last six years. I mentioned last week that Hulu has entered the market, and over the course of this week we learned Fox’s digital studio 15Gigs has inked a deal with indie web series distribution portal My Damn Channel.

Unlike earlier forays into digital content by major studios, 15Gigs has adopted a business strategy that’s not based on just putting TV on the web, but is designed to work in and with the online space. This latest partnership to broadcast The Iceman Chronicles on My Damn Channel demonstrates part of their philosophy: as well as taking hit entertainment from the web and cross-migrating it to TV, they’re distributing ‘made for web’ content through existing audience hotspots.

15Gigs is putting into practice the benefit of hindsight and the philosophy of spreadability – building on the work emergent dominant players in web series distribution have already done, and taking content to where audiences congregate, instead of expecting audiences to come to them.

In September last year at the New York Television Festival the buzz for indie screen content was palpable and if you’re interested in more detail, the conference is covered here on Tubefilter.

In March 2009 the inaugural Streamy Awards honored excellence in 24 creative categories including Best Ad Integration in a Web Series and Best Ensemble Cast in a Web Series. The ceremony was attended by web series glitterati with notable Hollywood crossover, and streamed live from The Streamys site. This year’s event takes place on April 11.

Also in 2009, the International Academy of Web Television was established, to oversee the Streamys and ‘to promote and recognize artistic excellence and technological innovation in the Web television and digital entertainment industries’.

The creation of a dedicated international awards event and an international academy is more evidence that suggests web series are not going anywhere but upwards, expanding in reach and scope. Web series content and no doubt, other as-yet-unimagined web content is knocking on the door of mainstream.

What does all this evidence mean for existing broadcast networks?

It’s all very well to say people will always watch television, and some (older) people will, but how it’s delivered and the way it connects with its audience will have to change if television is to stay relevant.

Breakthroughs in technology will play a big part in how broadcast television fits into the future, but so will the decisions that are made in programming and the delivery methods that are adopted.

From down under, where our broadband speeds are only faster than in four other countries in the world, facing this issue might seem lightyears away but in my home, the TV is used primarily as a monitor for watching streamed online content, and I suspect the introduction of ethernet enabled sets will see this behaviour take off in a big way in the next 12 months.

It’s certainly going to be interesting watching how the networks and independent content creators adapt to the opportunities presenting.

How do you think it will play out?

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