Tag Archives: Television program

Webseries Viewer Retention is Terrible – Yes, But Why?

Image representing Next New Networks as depict...
Image via CrunchBase

AdAge takes a look at what nearly everyone who has tried to launch a webseries has discovered:

What it [TubeMogul] found is that the series lost 64% of their audiences, on aggregate, from the first to the second episode. The decline becomes less steep from there, but it shows why many series don’t last past the 10th episode; by then there just aren’t many viewers left.

Of course, there are plenty of logical explanations for this syndrome. On obvious one is highlighted at the end of the AdAge post:

Lance Podell, CEO of Next New Networks, said the company categorically doesn’t buy advertising to distribute shows, instead relying on cross-promotion, PR and search optimization to build audiences.

Now, Next New Networks has been doing pretty well, but it would be tough to argue they were doing anything close to TV numbers in terms of consistent viewership.  Without any true advertising it is not hard to understand why so few people have heard of NNN or any of its shows – outside of the tiny circle of New Media webheads like me, of course.

There isn’t a single TV show that could succeed without some traditional marketing and that’s with the built-in kind of reach that TV already provides – not to mention a less “noisy” environment.  Oh, and even with huge marketing budgets many TV shows fail, too.

The idea that one can count on “going viral” and build the kinds of audiences needed to maintain an ongoing series is just plain absurd and ignorant.  That might work, rarely, for a standalone video, but it will never support a series.

There are a slew of other challenges for webseries success beyond marketing.  Only recently have distributors tried out things like releasing a full “season” at once, instead of relying on an audience finding their way back to the series a week or a month after watching a single 2-5 minute video.  This makes a lot of sense, as would a better way to “push” new episodes to interested viewers – such as via an iPhone app…

The one major thing the AdAge article fails to mention is that a vast amjority of new webseries aren’t really that great.   It’s a new form and creators are just getting the combination of experience and support they need to make things that are truly worthy of commitment from a sustained audience.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Data Indicates Women are Pirates, Too

Jesse Metcalfe as John Rowland on Desperate Ho...
Image via Wikipedia

Probably due to my own prejudices, I have always assumed that men were more likely than women to be downloading pirated materal.

However, according to TorrentFreak, the top two TV shows downloaded last week were “Desperate Housewives” and “Gossip Girl.”  Now it is completely possible that these numbers are due to men who don’t want to admit they watch these shows but I don’t think so.

Instead, I think this indicates that women are quickly becoming just as active in pirating video as men.  More and more, I believe that the generation growing up right now will be the first to demonstrate little gender difference when it comes to the use of technology.

None of this explains why “Prison Break” remains one of the top pirated shows every single week…

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Webseries on TV – Breakthrough or Backdoor Ripoff?

Comedy Central logo since 2000
Image via Wikipedia

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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2009 – The Year of Bowling

no original description
Image via Wikipedia

Every year I like to make a few predictions about the year ahead.  The beauty of a blog is I can actually be on record in case any of these things comes true.

So, in that spirit, please let it be known that I believe 2009 will be the Year of Bowling.  I think we are going to see a large rise in the visibility of the sport and a major uptick in youth participation.

I think we will see at least one major TV show that is centered around bowling.  In fact, I would not be surprised if we see both a bowling reality show and a scripted sitcom set, at least in part, at a bowling alley (yes, I remember “Ed” but that was really not about bowling at all).

There you have it, folks.  If anyone is interested in help creating any of these shows, please drop me a line. I’ve got a bunch of ideas…

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Children’s Hospital, That Guy and Others Try All-You-Can-Eat Distribution

picture-3Let’s face it – it is not easy at all to keep an audience coming back for more.  Even major TV programs, complete with critical acclaim and plenty of marketing, can’t make the cut (I’m looking at you “Pushing Daisies“).

For episodic web shows this can be even harder.  Sure, you loved episode one of that new webseries but it was 3 minutes long and now you are suppossed to wait a week or more and then come back and check for episode 2.  Not a very appealing proposition and a major reason, I believe, that many webshows fail to get out of the gate and see massive downturn in viewership after the first episode.

Now, a few of the bigger players in this game, WB.com and Sony’s Crackle.com are both releasing series with “full seasons” available for immediate viewing.  That means, if you dig episode one of “Children’s Hospital” you can sit tight and watch all ten of them.  Same goes for “That Guy” on Crackle.

It will be interesting to see what impact this has on overall viewership.  Knowing all the episodes are there and waiting is a lot like having a good show stacked up on TiVo – you know it’s there waiting when you are ready to watch.  Maybe you will watch just one episode or maybe all ten but either way you know they are there.

Additionally, by releasing multiple episodes at once we get to decide how good the show is, not just the premise, which is all one can really hope to get if there is just one episode to see at launch.  It is, perhaps, too much to ask of your audience to commit to a new episodic program based on one 3-minute episode.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MyDamnChannel Presents Agency of Record and I Have Some Questions

From the guys who brought us the best screencast webshow ever, “You Suck At Photoshop,” comes “Agency of Record,” a slick-looking new webseries over on MyDamnChannel and sponsored by Adobe.

Here’s episode one (it’s the only one so far…)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A few questions:

1) Why is the first episode so long?  Over 9 minutes seems like a lot to ask for a webseries pilot.

2) Why so industry-insider? Unless you happen to have a lot of exposure to the world of ad agencies (sadly, I do) you might not even know what these guys do until well into the first episode and then you will be left wondering why you are supposed to care.  It reminds me of the great and short-lived Fox show “Action” with Jay Mohr – incredibly funny skewering of the Hollywood producers and agents but completely over the head of most Americans.

3) Why is there a 40-second opening credits?  Even real TV noticed people no longer have patience for things like that.  Get to the show. Fast.  Porn is just one click away.

The show has really nice production value and a positive attitude but I can’t see how the setting or the characters will help build the kind of audience needed to sustain an episodic webseries.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How Many Video Portals Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?

Confounder #12

Image by The Rocketeer via Flickr

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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized