If the first big explosion of web video centered around UGC and the second wave was all about comedy than the third was is drama.
MediaWeek has a good overview on the state of dramatic webseries:
“Among the more ambitious projects is Foreign Body, a 10-week, 50-episode, adult-targeted soap produced by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru (Prom Queen) that serves as a prequel to a Robin Cook medical thriller arriving at bookstores Aug. 5. Yet shows like Body face numerous obstacles, including the lack of established viewing patterns or creative formulas, along with a risk-averse attitude among some advertisers, who theses have plentiful options for placing video ads on the Web.”
In fact, “Foreign Bodies” has been basically a failure, racking up something like 1 million views over all episodes on all platforms.
SAI has word on another book-to-web series/promo experiment:
“Stephen King has long wanted to break free of traditional publishing, and CBS would love to show there’s some synergy between its oldest and newest media.
So rather than just release another scary story in book form only, publisher Scribner — a unit of Simon & Schuster — and CBS are trying a new approach: Convert an unpublished novel “N.” into a series of 25 video episodes distributed by CBS on the Web and mobile devices.”
You can take a look at a promo for that here.
With more regular TV shows being watched online and the quality of product rising constantly, it isn’t surprising to see people trying to tackle meatier material. While there is lots of talk about ideal episode length and the importance of hooks, the truth is the same as it ever was: if you don’t make a good show nobody is going to watch. The platform is secondary.