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Summary:

Web video is starting to mirror traditional TV, like it or not. Case in point: the distribution strategy and release schedule of LG15: The Resistance. EQAL, the production studio behind the show, will release new episodes just once a week, starting Sat., Sept. 20. Hmm, that […]

Web video is starting to mirror traditional TV, like it or not.

Case in point: the distribution strategy and release schedule of LG15: The Resistance.
EQAL, the production studio behind the show, will release new episodes just once a week, starting Sat., Sept. 20. Hmm, that sure feels a lot like how the broadcast networks dole out programming, doesn’t it?

But it makes sense. As EQAL President Greg Goodfried explained, the daily web model can be overwhelming. “The one drawback to shows with daily content is if you miss a week — or two weeks or three weeks — you have five to 10 to 20 thumbnails to click on,” he said. “Even if the video is only one minute, the mental problem is the same; it feels like you have to dedicate all your time to it. If we have a weekly video and you’re gone for three weeks, you only have to have three thumbnails to click on.”

The show is also a spin-off and spin-offs — think the The Jeffersons or Frasier — are a staple of traditional TV. “Our model for a while has been Star Trek and Star Wars,” said EQAL CEO Miles Beckett, referring to two franchises that spawned spin-offs.

In addition, EQAL is creating foreign language versions for other countries with local production studios in those countries. Yet again, that’s a practice akin to the international syndication of American TV shows.

New media enthusiasts may bristle at the TV-like trappings of The Resistance. I don’t. Because for all its flaws, traditional TV has built a $70 billion-a-year advertising business on weekly installments of hit shows. Meanwhile, the web is still trying to figure out if it’s even going to earn $1 billion in online video ad revenue this year. A little bit of imitation might bring in more viewers and, as a result, more bucks.

Are the similarities to traditional TV in The Resistance coming from CBS’ influence? After all, EQAL has a first-look deal with the network. Goodfried and Beckett insist that the CBS partnership had no bearing on the decision to imitate traditional TV practices. “We wanted to take the things that are great about TV and bring them to a web series while still representing what is great and unique about the web. We are influenced by TV and watch TV,” Beckett said.

The Resistance will still release short videos, text blogs and photos every day and include interactive elements on the show’s site.

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  1. William Maggos Saturday, August 30, 2008

    will it be released as a video podcast also, so folks can watch it with their Apple TV/HDTV or similar setup? just include advertising. that makes it much more like a television/Tivo experience and would increase the audience. and it addresses the thumbnail issue as well.

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  2. Saying, “Web video is starting to mirror traditional TV” is like saying TV audio is similar to radio.

    You are missing the picture.

    Yes EQAL creates TV like “lean back” experiences in their shows but the BIG picture that you are missing is the interactive story elements that EQAL and their community produce.

    The emotionally engaged social network of content that EQAL is creating is nothing like TV and as EQAL moves forward they and others like them will produce new digital entertainment that uses all of the technology of the Internet to tell stories in ways that we have not yet imagined.

    Imagine a digital yarn where you enter the password protected website of a serial murderer. While you are there you have an instant message conversation with the killer. Or stumbling across a hidden webcam that you can control remotely to watch a bank robbery take place.

    The interactive / ARG type elements that EQAL brings to the table in a “lean forward” experience look nothing like TV and I’m really excited to see where Greg and Miles take us next.

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  3. While I agree with Tim Street, our recent experience with NBC Universal’s release of the web-online Gemini Division series illustrates how little broadcast TV execs understand the web and it’s components. In my article “Gemini Division, NBC, and Alternate Reality Gaming and Viral Marketing gone wrong” I examine how NBC ham fisted their handling of the ARG launch for GD. Even with the very best content, this new medium of daily content web series relies on the distributors understanding how to leverage the net to drive the show…and they are currently failing. More at http://www.primetimeforchange.com

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  4. I really think you are missing the point here. LG is actually one of the few properties that has taken advantage of the unique possibilities of the web as an interactive form of storytelling. It feels like a weird example to choose to compare to oldteevee.

    So what if their distro strategy is once a week—that is literally the ONLY similarity that they have to TV. Would you still compare broadcast TV to radio just because of the fact that shows are weekly? The last sentence of your post completely negates your argument “The Resistance will still release short videos, text blogs and photos every day and include interactive elements on the show’s site.”

    That does not sound like TV to me.

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  5. BTW I do agree that many, if not most web series mirror traditional TV, and I actually think it is a mistake and one of the reasons that there has not been a huge breakout as of yet. Break A Leg would be the perfect example–not that its not well done, just that it treats the web as the minor leagues of TV, rather than as a distinct medium of its own. To me LG15 is actually an example of the exact opposite of mirroring TV.

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  6. Great article, and interesting comments. Greg and I definitely hope to provide an example of a hybrid between the best of TV and the best of the web with LG15: The Resistance. We definitely think that having a consistent, easy to consume format is critical to spur widespread adoption of web serials. Right now it’s really hard to know when and where to watch a serial online. We’ve tried to simplify that with the new show while still preserving all of the things that make LG15 shows (and all of EQAL’s shows) truly interactive and different than TV. Hopefully we’ve found the right combination of weekly, lean-back, appointment viewing, merged with daily, organic, interactive content. We’re definitely excited about the new show and hope everyone loves it! In fact… it’s already begun with a pre-show ARG leading into the series. You can read about it on ARG Net (http://www.argn.com/archive/000758lonelygirl15_sequel_proves_that_resistance_isnt_futile_after_all.php)

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  7. I’d just like to see the LG15 group come up with a fresh new idea, instead of new way to sell an old, tired idea over and over again.

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  8. I like what Eqal is doing, and I’m also very interested to see the interactive and social elements they incorporate into the series.

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