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I'm new here, so I apologize if I'm painting to wide, too soon.
Here's the deal. I am the editor and pretty much the entire post-production crew for a 3.5 hour/22 episode dramedy, sci-fi web series. It's pretty much in the can after 18 months work.
I was told there would be (was in place) an impressive web launch for the series. Not privy to the details, still based on everything I was told, this was going to be done/launched using all the best information and wherewithall when it comes to launching (and monetizing) a web series. God me hoped, because I'd spent the last year and a half of my life trying to make this series everything it could possibly be.
June 1 was launch date. Right at the get-go I was pretty much shocked that the executive producer decided not to use any of the web series distributors...not make a blip.tv channel (though he is using blip's server for the files)...no youtube channel. No vimeo or Koldcast or anything. His strategy was/is to keep/show the series only on the official website. And to promote it via Facebook and just internet word of mouth. Again, I was "Huh!!? What? We're going to try to make this series get off the ground completely indy?" By word of email/Facebook? Not use any of the internet braodcasters?
Well, a month has passed. So far we've had about 1200 total episode views. 5 episodes released. 2 more coming in the next two weeks. The 1200 views by my estimation translate into about 300 maybe 350 souls...cast, crew, friends of cast and crew...associates probably make up most of these people. And a may have few stumbled into the site.
This "keeping it home" strategy seems absolutely and disasterously backwards to me. Frankly, I'm freaking out about what's going to happen if the producer stays with this plan for months and months. Even today, he reiterated that he believes it's going well. 1200 episode views in a month? The numbers are actually declining. Do I have a valid concern? Should I be pissed?
I'd love to hear the details of some other web series launches from the people who have executed them. Numbers divided by time. What and how many portals did you employ if any beyond your official site.
I'll gladly give a link to the series, if someone asks. But I don't think it appropriate right here, considering this is my first post.
First and foremost, without an SEO specialist, its extremely difficult to optimize a website to increase your chances of appearing in search results. There's nothing wrong with hosting content on your own site if you can drive traffic to it, and 1200 total episode views + declining viewership means people can't find your show and those who have found it are not engaged enough to share it with friends. From this post, it doesn't seem the producer understands the way the Internet works. I really am at lost for words for any creator who thinks 1,200 total views is good.
I think you nailed when you wrote- "it doesn't seem like the producer understands the way the internet works" ...it's a quality production. But the producer seems to think what we have to offer in terms of entertainment will simply trump the crowded chaos of the "interwebs". Jeeze! I hope he wakes up soon, because what we have is pretty darn good. So many good weapons and he doesn't want to pick up even one!
Times have changed. There's a zillion entertaining web series around. Can't count on entertaining factor alone. There's more to getting views/fans and it starts with the producers efforts in laying out and executing groundwork. In these modern times with so many entertainment options, if you make, unfortunately they won't come. Hasn't worked for TV in the last 5 years. Doesn't work for web series.
Hey! I am a first timer here myself. I just read our story & personally would be livid! We are a start-up as well & just released our first episode last week. We are trying to promote the hell out of this thing! The problem is there are a million people out there doing the same thing & they ARE accessible through youtube/VIMEO/etc. Why would he not use the standard channels to get the word out? BTW, what is the series link?
Not everyone is interested in building an audience. Some are using their series as a calling card for TV/film work. Everything starts with your objective and why you're making your series.
True...however, how are you going to get the attention of TV execs if you can't build an audience & get some type of following? Most series that have spawned TV/Film deals have had some type of following beforehand (e.g. Sanctuary, Mortal Kombat, etc.).
Audience/following not necessary if using series for reel.
22 episodes for a reel is a bit excessive...not to mention misleading to all parties involved.
There is definately a lot of truth that the producer wants to use this series as a grand demonstrtion for the larger media producers. But again, I certainly signed on with the complete explanation that this series first assignment was to get seen by millions and make at least some money. That yes, he was going for bigger goals, but that would be the fallout of a typical web series strategy, if there is such a thing.
I'll post a link, but if you watch an episode look at the credit roll to see how many people and entities are envolved in the marketing and promotion of this thing. One of the things (I believe) that is causing the producer to not use "the web series channels" is fear from a legal stand point, that he will lose some of the exclusive rights, and therefore compromising his grander goals. Might be some truth in there, I don't know these things, but it's keeping the series in a closet so far. Driving me insane...but maybe he'll be correct in the end. Still, don't know if an impressing of the powers that be will be any I profit from if in 6 months there have only been 20k episode views.
http://www.chrisvalentines.com/projects/zhon.html ...we've been allowed to post the trailer and episode 1 on our own websites. On this page is a post-production blog of a sort, but just ignor that. I put this up first because it's really easy to watch the trailer and episode 1. It's next to impossible to find the trailer on the official site. And this series is very patient. It evolves slowly. One episode will not give you the picture at all. If you'd like to watch more of the series there are links to get there.
The official site is www.whoiszhon.com I'm a little leery that the web folks might check out the link and see that I've been b*tching, but then again, I complain directly anyway. Nothing really new here, except that it's public. Which is very different. Don't get me wrong. I know the higher ups are trying to do it right, and trying very hard. I just think they have a lot of it backwards.
searchenginewatch.com / seomoz.com / searchengineland.com / seobook.com These are a few resources i used to study SEO. You might consider passing these onto the producer or just read them yourself and tell the webmaster what key words to place on the homepage.
Just want to add my thoughts.
There are a lot of web series out there that fight over the attention of the public. It isn't easy. Sometimes it is good to look at the things differently.
Rich said, correctly, that this might be a good tool to show your abilities.
This might be an evergreen project. This might take longer than everyone thought.
This might fail. Maybe the series is not good as you think it is?
There is importance in putting a web series in YouTube for their better search engine. That's the advantage of YouTube being a major search engine.
Don't build on big difference in views if you do put it in YouTube.
to laugh a lot