Tag Archives: bebo

KateModern Goes All Out for Finale


The surprisingly successful UK webseries KateModern has a cool idea for their finale.  They are releasing one new episode every hour, on the hour, for twelve consequtive hours.

From Mashable:

“The program’s following has been an extensive one. Its production company, EQAL, claims for KateModern an average weekly viewership of about 1m, surpassing the popularity of virtually all other original Web-based programs, including LonelyGirl15, a show also produced by EQAL.”

It’s nice to see a show actually making a bit of an impact, even if it is in the UK.  I also like seeing new approaches to releases schedules and how to build excitement online.

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Sophia’s Diary Unlocks a Second Season on Bebo

The news is that the UK webseries SOPHIA’S DIARY has been picked up for a second season on the popular site Bebo (recently acquired by AOL).

“The online drama, which follows a feisty 17-year-old and her friends, invites users of the social network to vote on twists in the storyline.  Sofia’s Diary typically attracts upwards of 1,000 comments each day on the show’s Bebo channel and character profile pages.” (via GuardianUK)

What’s interesting to note here is that the second season will consist of 64 episodes.  This is a much larger commitment to a storyline than so many of the US webseries we’ve seen that seem to be content putting up an episode a week for a couple of months and then dying off quietly in a dark corner of the web.

Obviously, this sort of commitment takes money and clearly Bebo/AOL is investing at least some cash into this venture – though I doubt anyone is getting rich just yet.

This series is a clear decendent of lonelygirl15 and demonstrates that, given the right target audience, exposure and comittment a webseries can be a serious entertainment contender.

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Big Brands Buy into Bebo’s “Gap Year”

Bebo, the UK web company recently bought by AOL, is launching its latest original web series, GAP YEAR.

According to NewTeeVee:

“six young people…will be sent on six-month trips around the world…They get a per diem allowance based on what guides like Lonely Planet recommended for the country they’re in. Each person travels individually, accompanied by a cameraperson/director, and will send in one 3- to 5-minute video per week.”

Not sure what will make this a deeply compelling series but I was amazed to see how many sponsors are involved:

“Endemol and Bebo have set up some activities and challenges along with its sponsors: Sony PSP, Trident, Canon (which is providing cameras), The Royal Air Force (RAF), Acuvue, Doritos, STA Travel, and Tourism Auckland and Tourism Australia (who are helping with activities).”

I’ll be extremely curious to see how the brands are intergrated into the content and if any of their target demo decides to watch.

Bebo has had success with the lonelygirl15 follow up “Kate Modern” and the currently running “Sophia’s Diary.”

Check out some Gap Year here.

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From LG15 to KateModern and Now I Love Cheiftown

The latest news on the significant webseries front is that some folks are spinning off from the UK Bebo webseries Kate Modern to launch a new Brit-set webseries for MySpace.

“Big Balls Films and Pete Gibbons will make a pilot of the UK-set I Love Chieftown drama this month, with a full 60-“webisode” series launching in mid-September.

The drama will be based in east London and follow lead character Jamie, an aspiring filmmaker, as she follows an up-and-coming band and its journey to make it big.” (via)

Well, it sure does sound a bit like The All-For-Nots, Vuguru’s followup to Prom Queen from the makers of The Burg.  It is also another example of trying to find an excuse for the camera – something I think we are ready to move beyond in terms of webseries.  Everyone doesn’t have to either speak into a webcam or cameraphone.

Still, it sounds like a pretty big production with a 60-episode order.  I’ll certainly be checking it out.

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Bebo Not Sweating It

Sweet, my first pun of the day.  Bebo has announced a partnership between Unilever’s teen deodorant spray Sure Girl and the new web series (or “snack drama”) Sophia’s Diary.  According to Brand Republic:

“Bebo users will be encouraged to send in articles in the theme of “What makes you sweat?” with the chance of winning a cameo role in the drama. Users will also be able to become friends with the brand through a dedicated profile page.”

I love that last phrase, “friends with the brand.”  There is no irony in that sentence. They really think this will happen.  Hell, maybe it will.  Maybe teen girls want to be friends with deodorant sprays.

“Claire Gomm, senior brand manager at Unilever, said: “The partnership with Sofia’s Diary is ideal for Sure Girl as it allows us to engage in a dialogue with the brand’s core teen audience and make an emotional connection with them that can be far deeper and more resonant than via traditional media spend.”

I’m so conflicted.  On the one hand I am glad to see more support on web series by major advertisers but I am completely saddened to see how those integrations are working.  It doesn’t feel like this will benefit the viewer or the show and maybe not even the brand.

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Billy Bragg Stirs the Fire

So, Billy Bragg has written an opinion piece for the NYT (man, this paper is like the next Wired!) about how some of the $800,000,000+ that AOL paid for Bebo should be shared with the many musicians who uploaded their music to the site over the past few years.

He claims, “The musicians who posted their work on Bebo.com are no different from investors in a start-up enterprise. Their investment is the content provided for free while the site has no liquid assets. Now that the business has reaped huge benefits, surely they deserve a dividend.”

Turns out that this opinion has  garnered a lot of response…

TechCrunch: “Recorded music is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of an artist. Websites that bring that music to listeners are doing artists a favor. In fact, they’re doing them a favor that they should (and will) be paid for. Young artists and songwriters in particular benefit from these services – Until a few years ago they had almost no way to break into the mainstream without getting a label to promote them. Now those walls are being torn down, and Bragg has the audacity to complain about it.”

Mashable: “The issue I take with that argument is…well…any such recompense simply wasn’t part of the deal. A deal which remains to this day. The arrangement provided by social networks to musicians is exposure within the sphere created by those sites. And a way to promote new releases and live events. And, if artists (a term which is far too liberally applied today, I should add) so choose to do so, even offer an easy way to deliver downloads to fans. That’s all. braggNo financial contracts. No payments based on track playback counts. Nothing like that. All they get is a vast ocean of music geeks to convert into followers. Or at least attempt to.”

On the other side of the argument:

Nick Carr: “When challenged in this way, the plantation owners counter that they are doing musicians a favor by providing them with a place to promote their work. But this, too, as Bragg notes, is disingenuous: “Radio stations also promote our work, but they pay us a royalty that recognizes our contribution to their business. Why should that not apply to the Internet, too?”  The fact is, it should. And arguments to the contrary are ultimately specious and self-serving. Exploitation is exploitation, no matter how lovingly it’s wrapped in neo-hippie technobabble about virtual communities, social production, and the gift economy.”

A VC: “I know one thing for sure. Artists, particularly musicians, are entertaining people more and more every day because of the Internet. Entrepreneurs are building a host of great ways to discover and listen online. And if there were an easy and affordable way to cut the artists in for a piece of the action, most would do it in a heartbeat. It shouldn’t be necessary to wait for the $850mm payday to get paid.”

The economics of being a musician are clearly changing, driven by the fact that one no longer needs to create a physical item in order to distribute it to the masses.

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The Generation Gap and Web Series

There is another review of the new Bebo web series, Sophia’s Diary, up at NewTeeVee.  For the most part, they agree that it is very nicely produced but aren’t especially thrilled with the writing.

Their other problem has to do with the show’s inconsistent treatment of the “fourth wall.”  While earlier series like LonelyGirl15 used direct address to the webcam, Sophia simply turns to the “camera” wherever she is.

“…the constant breaks with the first-person format become frustrating — in a media community where series like Lonelygirl15 fully exploited it, this halfway commitment to playing with the vlog style is more than a little disappointing. But the damage being done to the fourth wall apparently has little impact on the show’s audience, whose Bebo comments are numerous and enthusiastic. ”

Perhaps the issues with the fourth wall are not such an issue at all for a younger generation of viewers less trained to blindly accept certain past media conventions.  Why can’t an actor just turn and speak to their audience?

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