Montag, 15. September 2008

Web and Mobile Content, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2-part series titled Web and Mobile Content: a Summary Overview. In this part we discuss the distribution and financing of content.

The distribution channels for digital video content have been increasing through time; from the days when videos were only viewable through a web browser, we have moved to a time when they can be seen through custom applications, cell-phones, gaming consoles, and hand-held devices. Content can also be distributed in more traditional ways; The Guild is available as a DVD; and Quarterlife was licensed to a television network. Well-funded commercial series such as Coma from Sony and Microsoft are being advertised heavily; while low budget series such as Genetic Crime Unit rely on word-of-mouth.

There are several financing and revenue models used by both distributors and producers.

Financing Distribution
Aggregators, Internet-TV providers, and portals are websites or applications that take the role of the traditional television networks; they acquire content, which can be original, licensed, or user-created, and distribute it to a world-wide audience. iTunes, Crackle, YouTube, Joost, Veoh, Zattoo, and Babelgum are all examples of I-TV providers. At one end of the spectrum, YouTube makes it simple for any user to upload content, while at the other, Babelgum only serves professionally-made material.

Most aggregators use advertising as their primary source of income. Advertising opportunities include:

  • Animated flash overlays
  • Companion ads (static)
  • Companion video ads/interactive flash ads
  • URL links
  • Prime location in search result pages and homepage
  • Contests
  • Branding of 'channels'
  • Pre-roll and interstitial advertisement (essential for mobisodes)
  • Banner rotation
  • Newsletter campaigns
Financing Production
Webseries producers have a number of ways of generating income.

Revenue share advertisement through existing portals

By participating in revenue share advertisement, producers can earn a share of the marketing campaigns initiated by the distributing portals. YouTube and are examples of video aggregators that share revenues with the content creators.

Direct sales to the audience

Episodes can be bundled or sold independently as DVDs or downloads; iTunes is a venue increasingly used for this purpose. Sony's Angel of Death is expected to make a profit on DVD sales rather than on advertising.

Sale of ancillary products

Products such as toys, clothing, posters, etc. can be marketed in the traditional way. 60 Frames sells apparel and accessories related to their series.

Product placement

Companies can target products for the specific demographics the webserial appeals to. Many producers stress the importance of being subtle in this respect. Apple and Toyota play a prominent role in Quarterlife, for example.


Many large companies are tuning to webseries as part of their marketing campaigns to deliver advertisements and placed products to their intended demographics. The Smart Show is sponsored by Holiday Inn, and Saturn sponsors a webseries at

Private investment

Venture capitalists may back-up the creation of a series if they see the a well-planned exit strategy. The Resistance creators, Miles Becket and Greg Goodfried, have garnered $5 million in venture funding.

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