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March 1, 2009 / Amy Bradney-George

Watching the web

 

"Anyone has the opportunity to make great content and get it seen" - Koenig

"Anyone has the opportunity to make great content and get it seen" - Jeff Koenig on the potential of web series

 

The internet is changing the way people produce creative work. In the past year I’ve heard journalists, film and television producers, writers and comic book artists all say that the internet is an effective way to get your name known and explore the endless possibilities of a medium fast becoming part of everyday life.

Last year I wrote about web series in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald. It  focused mainly on established professionals exploring how traditional forms of entertainment could be adapted to work online, but also mentioned the possibilities for emerging artists.

But pigeon-holing the format to one purpose limits the unique style of web production. Web series creator Jeff Koenig says web series have the potential to go a long way and develop into more than a trial space for new shows.

“I think the original web video industry will grow in stages,” he says.

“For the next few years I believe it will act as a cheap development outlet for networks and studios; the best web shows will get picked up and evolve into another medium.”

Koenig, who is launching a website  about the format – Broadcast Assassin – started out looking at web series as a way of learning about film production,

“I’ve always been fascinated by the filmmaking process. However, it’s a very geographic industry in the states,” he said.

“Wanting to tell stories through a camera and not being in L.A. is a bit like standing outside a great restaurant you can’t afford to eat at; the door may as well be locked, but you can smell all the good food inside. I was drooling to film something.”

After years of thinking about online entertainment possibilities, and extensive research into how web shows could work, Koenig co-created, co-produced and directed The True Rules, a web show exploring the male psyche through a mix of unscripted discussion and vox pop questions.

He says Broadcast Assassin is focused on rallying the online community and give people the skills and knowledge to create successful web series.

“We’re at a point now where “capital B” Big Business is starting to notice the web as an outlet for original entertainment, but the rules haven’t yet been written.

“To me, the best part about a filmmaker having access to the web is that literally anyone has the opportunity to make great content and get it seen. I want to give independent producers the tools to make great shows and a place for them to start a dialogue with each other, so that their voice doesn’t get lost as the industry grows,” he says.

The launch of Broadcast Assassin on March 1 comes at a time when web series are popping up all over the news sites, television networks SciFi and NBC are utilising webisodes as additional material to shows like Battlestar Galactica and Heroes (respectively) and more and more web-based productions are being launched on an almost daily basis.

But it doesn’t stop there. Last week technology blog Digital.Mix commented on the release of a Nielsen report showing an increase in American viewing of video on TV, online and on mobile devices.

According to the report internet viewing is highest among 18-24 year olds, who watch an average of 5 hours and 3 minutes every month. This is closely followed by 25-34 year olds, with an average of 4 hours and 14 minutes of viewing online.

Unfortunately there’s no information on the percentage increase for online viewing over the last year, but if anything that suggests web series may finally be getting enough attention to be included in these types of reports.

With these viewing increases on what Digital.Mix aptly calls “the Three Screens”, it will be interesting to see what types of people begin creating video content for the online world and where the medium is heading.

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One Comment

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  1. Dstation TV / Mar 2 2009 4:20 pm

    Nice article .Thank.

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