According to a post on NewTeeVee:
Regardless of how many ads were shown, 90 percent of ABC.com viewers continued to say they’d rather get the show for free than pay to get it without ads.
Why aren’t the TV networks releasing copies of their shows to pirate sites complete with the ads built in? While I do love my ad-free TV torrents, I tend to watch on Boxee even with the ads since there is simply no wait. However, I miss being able to download and watch the show on other devices or outside of a wifi hotspot.
I think most people would be perfectly ok with downloading a show with the ads built in. Sure, one could fast-forward past them but most people don’t bother, especially if the ads are short and varied.
Not only would the networks actually get to show advertisers an ever larger pool of eyeballs but they would be putting the pirates right out of business.
Just thinking aloud…
Full disclosure: I produced the webseries MY BEST FRIEND IS MY PENIS for Comedy Central‘s Atom.com.
This original series was produced for the web and Comedy Central paid pretty much what was industry standard for an original webseries (read: not much). It was known at the time that Comedy Central might air one or all of the episodes on their TV network as well, as part of what they call AtomTV.
On one hand it is nice for a webseries to get that sort of TV exposure. At the same time, it is going to increasingly become difficult for all of us to distinguish what is a “web” series and what is a “TV” series. The main difference of importance at the moment is that TV producers are paid a fair amount of money to make shows for TV while web producers make much less. This is mostly due to the relative revunue each can theoretically generate but when a “web” show is used on a TV series and ads are sold around it the web producer does not get any monetary benefit.
Let’s not even talk about the issues relating to SAG/AFTRA and how union actors can do a small webseries under non-union conditions (for now) but shouldn’t be doing the same if it is going to be on TV, right?
As the notion of what is “online” and what is “on TV” blurs it will be interesting to see what happens to the once standard models used to budget and finance original programming.
The NYT has a good look at the ever-growing number of sites on the web offering you, the viewer, the chance to watch high-quality programming and wonders if they are all just a flash in the pan, much like the portals of yore:
“Now it feels like the same thing is happening with Internet video. As good television programming has become more available to online providers over the last year or two, new video sites have been popping up faster than “Law and Order” reruns. And as with the portals, big companies as well as start-ups are trying to get into the game.”
As I mentioned yesterday when I begged for an invite to Boxee (got one, too! thanks Boxee!), there is a big question as to whether or not any of these efforts will be around this time next year.
The biggest problem they all face is that they all offer the same basic content. Now that the TV networks have decided to set a vast majority of their shows free via syndication, embedding and the like, it no longer takes a genius to find last weeks “Grey’s Anatomy” online.
Basically, everyone is just a rebroadcaster of some sort and none of them own the core product – the shows.
I think that the idea of everything on demand and on one screen is where we are headed, it’s just a question of time.
The HowCast App, now available at the AppStore, lets you have every video from the HowCast site available on your iPhone.
This is what every video website should be doing. Not to mention every TV network. I’m actually surprised how few entities have taken advantage of the exposure that is possible providing a clean iPhone app version of their site.
Since there is still no way to watch the videos within the browser, this is the only way that these sites can reach the fastest growing headset market in the world…
A much commented upon study has come out that shows quite a big jump in online viewership of episodic network television shows:
“With over 12 billion videos watched online in the U.S. during the month of May, its hard to argue against the ubiquity of the PC as the king of media. To further this claim, market research company, Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), has released a study that claims that almost 20 percent of primetime “episodic” television shows are watched online.” (via)
So, the argument that people only watch short clips online no longer rings true. However, it would be tough to argue that there have been any legitimate orginal online “hits.” (ok, some will argue LonelyGirl15 but even at it’s height it has never been widely viewed)
The question is why. The most obvious reason is that there haven’t been any great online originals yet. Sure, there have been some mildly entertaining bits out there (Wainy Days? The Guild? We Need Girlfriends?) but nothing that has been strong enough and consistant enough to build a solid audience.
The second reason is that nobody knows what’s online. There is no advertising or marketing. Relying on the “viral” nature of the internet might work for a one-off but it will never build the kind of audience that could some day be self-sufficient.
With the networks and bigger-name creatives placing more time and money into online originals things might change but for the time being the best way to be a hit online is to be a hit on TV.
Crackle is Sony‘s online original web video site that was launched last year to thunderous worldwide attention – oh, wait, that was something else. Crackle’s launch was actually only noticed by a handfull of Sony employees and friends of the content creators.
But that hasn’t stopped Sony from rolling out a whole new “season” of original short-form programming they wouldn’t bother trying to sell to a legitimate TV network.
“Crackle launched “season 2″ of its C-Spot comedy web series this morning. The good news? It’s dropped most of the dead weight from season one and kept The Roadents. The bad news? Most of the replacement shows still aren’t funny.”
Tilzy is a bit kinder, noting:
“So whether your a gamer, a wananbe-comic, a pretentious musician, or a chick in need of a date, Crackle’s got stuff cookin for you.”
While they do have a broad range of programming if you happen to be in one of those demos I can’t say any of it is something that would cause you to sit up and take notice, much less help spread the word.
As with so much web programming these days, none of these shows seem to have any legitimate marketing scheme and are likely to fall into obscurity long before anyone notices they aren’t all that entertaining.