Bill Cunningham is talking about webisodes
on his blog.
There's of course the question of how you make money off the damn things. I can see how "The Lost Experience"
(an Alternate Reality Game
) keeps people watching Lost
, and on a budget of less than, say, $25,000 a week, I would imagine. If you can get people writing articles about "The Lost Experience" you've made your publicity budget.
But webisodes on their own? Where's the money in it? You really need a breakout hit, don't you? I've been working with the writers of The Untalkative Bunny
(a brilliant cartoon on Teletoon) to create a 90-second Flash comic serial. We've been working with a producer, but somehow the money does not seem to materialize. We had the same issue with doing a mobisode/webisode series based on Lisa's book The Intrepid Art Collector
: much buzz, no follow through. Supposedly young guys in fancy suits were walking around MIP with their pockets full of money, but they must have heard about the dot com bust because they're only spending their money on themselves.
I suspect that Alternate Reality Games will be a niche market. They're too much work to play. They're probably immensely absorbing when done right. But how do you even know when you're playing them? I've been involved in live action role playing situations before, some of which went on for months and involved email and websites and so forth -- I was among some very wired nerds -- but the more "real" it gets, the more it feels like real life, and everyone already has a real life. When I settle down for the night to watch Sopranos
, I like that my life has nothing to do
with Tony and his guys.
On the other hand I could be wrong. See my post about MMOGs below.
hmmmm...when I settle in for a night of Soprano's, 'real life' always seems to walk in - aka younger children - so I have to tape it to watch it later...
Making money at it is always going to be the first hurdle. I think the Iron Sink guys are taking it in the right direction by setting up a DVD sale of the web material (with bonus content thus added value) and paying for the project.
One brand - many revenue streams.
And when I look at this show, SOUP OF THE DAY, I see SEX IN THE CITY type of material as well - a series, a DVD, a how-to guide book or two. Let's not forget product placement.
It really boils down to what you're putting out there and how easily your audience can find and appreciate your brand.
Good comments, Alex. Thinking about how people are going to make money off of the web is something they didn't do back in 95.
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