Mass media organisations face serious challenges in making the transition from legacy businesses to digital. Nowhere is this more evident than with the struggle to identify the future of television programming on the Internet.
This report reveals the original Web TV series – talk shows, sitcoms, reality and real-time productions – with innovative formats that are pioneering effective online business models and meeting the entertainment needs of the new global audience. WeVision is a unique framework for a new medium that is distinct from broadcast television. It describes the business and creative principles for how online media should engage, communicate and connect with their viewers. WeVision is a four-step process:
How the model solves commercial issues for mass media on the Internet: Copying and piracy:
- Match advertisers with the show and its community
- Engage with an enthusiastic community
- Inspire engagement via charismatic figures
- Co-create the show with the community
The entertainment value of these shows is rooted in social interactivity, amongst community members and between fans and producers. It is impossible to copy or pirate an interactive experience.Revenue
The series address very specific communities that can be matched with brands and engaged via product integration. Advertising becomes relevant again. A model based on success
The paradigm is derived from Futurescape’s research into more than 50 original Internet TV productions for our pioneering reports The Birth Of Online TV and UK Web Shows Now. These American and British series come from major broadcasters, international production companies and Web TV studios, and are based on familiar television genres: factual, reality, scripted comedy and drama.
We identified series we consider to be successful according to two criteria.
- They attracted major sponsors or
- They have been produced for more than one season
We then made an in-depth analysis of successful productions to find their common features. These are detailed in the case studies of Diggnation, The Guild, Sofia’s Diary and The Gap Year. Two more series demonstrate the potential of the Internet-native real-time format: Orange Unlit and Frankmusik.
Diggnation has now run into 200 episodes since 2005. The Guild has completed two seasons, with sponsorship from Sprint and Microsoft, including an innovative distribution deal across Microsoft platforms.
Sofia’s Diary is an internationally popular format that is continually being licensed for new versions, from Chile to China. The premiere season of The Gap Year attracted no fewer than 14 major sponsors.
The real-time formats, Orange Unlit and Frankmusik, were chosen to illustrate the interactive potential of Internet shows. Even though they are arguably “experimental,” each gained a major sponsor: Orange for Unlit, Blackberry for Frankmusik.Case studies
The case studies include:
- Commercial models for media on the Internet
- Advertising effectiveness
- A history of the production process
- Key innovative features unique to Internet media
- Social interactivity and online community engagement
- US tech and pop culture talk show based on the popular news recommendation Web site Digg.com and its community, produced by start-up Web TV studio Revision3
- Independently-produced US sitcom about online games players, created by actor Felicia Day of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, distributed on Microsoft platforms
The Gap Year
- Breakthrough multiplatform drama format about a teen girl facing the challenges of life in a new city, licensed around the world by Sony Pictures Television International
Real-time shows: Orange Unlit and Frankmusik
- Global reality travel show following backpackers on a six-month world trip, made by super-indie Endemol for international social networking site Bebo
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- Orange Unlit – concert series following singer-songwriter Jont on tour, performing gigs in people’s homes
- Frankmusik – reality-gig format challenging rising pop star Frankmusik to play gigs at venues suggested by fans, relying on them for transport and accommodation