Webseries: get on it

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let’s talk about video contents on the web. We all know the web’s three magic words : share, interactive and free. On the other hand, we also know what defines professional video content: production can be expensive, there’s no interactivity and mostly you have to pay to watch it or allow your brain to be washed by commercials.

So when we look at it, one can have the feeling that professional video content (TV shows, movies…) is not meant to be on the web. The logics are very different. I always think of the scene in the movie Apollo 13 when Ed Harris says: “Well, I suggest you gentlemen invent a way to put a square peg in a round hole.” Some people did. It’s called the “webseries.” There are two kinds of webseries: pro and amateur. We’ll focus on professional webseries as it’s the most interesting in term of an economic logic. Somehow webseries found a parallel universe between TV and movies. (If the need a first experience with webseries, my advice is “Confession” with Jack Bauer… I mean Kiefer Sutherland… and John Hurt).

With webseries, brands are looking at the best opportunity ever to create their identity on the web. The web 2.0 changed the behaviors of internet users. That’s because YouTube filled the net with user-generated content (UGC). Because of those three magic words, everyone gets to be a supporter or a detractor to a content. You cannot fool the internet with basic TV commercials anymore. The audience will always find the way to see the content they want WITHOUT the commercial. But on the other hand, brands cannot walk away from the web. They just can’t afford it. If they want to reach people on the web, they need to become ingenious and above all authentic! Good quality content is everything: nothing beats a good story. Back in France, a major bank, BNP Paribas, was courageous enough to dedicate a whole marketing budget to the production of a fictional webseries about roommates in Parisian flat. But the show is NEVER promoting the service of the bank – it’s fully fictional.

Check it out! It’s awesome:

The bank just declared itself “sponsor” of this show, but used the identity and the spirit of the show to appeal to young potential customers. It was brilliant and very relevant regarding the codes of web. On the other hand, a French railway company tried the same thing and produced clips for the web. But in the show was stuffed with commercials. Internet users immediately bashed the show.

I think those examples are quite self-explanatory: brands needs to forget the traditional way to advertise. They need to provide an original, appealing content if they want to reach customers.

— Emmanue

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