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Summary:

When web series first started coming up, “super-syndication” was a big buzzword. Since video hosting sites were free, the idea was that creators should take a shotgun approach and blast their content out to every site possible. But is that still the smartest strategy? Blip.tv CEO […]

When web series first started coming up, “super-syndication” was a big buzzword. Since video hosting sites were free, the idea was that creators should take a shotgun approach and blast their content out to every site possible. But is that still the smartest strategy?

Blip.tv CEO Mike Hudak still thinks super-syndication is a good strategy, “There’s nothing wrong with getting a few incremental views on this platform or that platform,” he said.

But not everyone shares Hudack’s view. In fact there are some who don’t think all views are created equal and that content creators need to think beyond playcounts. Brett Wilson, CEO of TubeMogul believes that super-syndication just doesn’t work, especially since the growth in content posted to the web has outpaced the growth in viewership. On YouTube, for example, viewership is up 35.9 percent year-over-year, but the hours of video uploaded per minute is up 75.9 percent. “We’ve always said, you should only deploy your content to where you’re going to build your community,” said Wilson.

That’s advice that 2/8 Life creator Matt Vascallero seems to have taken to heart. The first season of his web series was syndicated out all over the web. But for the recently released second season, he limited his distribution to just Hulu and focused on building a community on Facebook. Vascallero believes it’s important to get his work in front of people where they already are. Since people spend so much time with the social network, he hopes the personal relationship people have with Facebook will extend to his series.

If you’re interested in this super-syndication question, I go much deeper into the topic over at our subscription service GigaOM Pro, and provide a broad strategic outline for creators mulling over how to distribute their content.

In the meantime, for all you web creators out there, what strategy do you think works best? Should you post your content everywhere, or focus your energies on smaller distribution and greater community? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. From my experience, I think you can only focus on one video sharing site/community. But I think super-syndication is a great tactic to help you find your target demo. And yeah, YouTube is King.

  2. I love Tubemogul’s tool set and the people there are top notch. I was all about the shotgun for a long time. But for me, the only ROI I see on creating something is by being a YouTube partner. So, I suppose for someone in my shoes, all the other sites are just for the fun of it.

    There’s not doubt that picking a platform and sticking to one is a good idea. If you can make a deal, places like Hulu and Facebook will continue to become more and more popular for web producers. Don’t forget Felicia’s window-deal with X-Box – that’s a smart play. Way to rock it, George Ruiz.

  3. It’s interesting to me that the CEO of TubeMogul, a service that makes super-syndication simple, does not think that it works.

    In my view, you should super-syndicate to all sites to allow users of those sites to view your videos. However, I think that what it comes down to is engaging with your community. This is the only way to build a real relationship with an audience and keep them coming back for more.

    To that point, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter would be my main focus as far as interaction. But, I see no harm in putting the video across all the content networks possible, especially when you are just starting out.

  4. Chris Albrecht Friday, August 28, 2009

    What do you all think are some good tactics for creators to build community?

    1. Join the conversation, don’t just talk about your series, but talk about other web shows/TV/movies that you like with your target market.

      Update frequently using a blog or similar tool and try to respond to every inquiry personally, especially at the beginning.

      Another idea is to run user generated content contests to get your base to actively participate in the creation of your show’s universe.

      Just some thoughts, I’ve had too much coffee today. What do you think?

  5. here is a new start up video site — thoughts?

    TheDailyMinute.com

  6. Should You Super-Syndicate Your Web Series? | Web advertising live today Friday, August 28, 2009

    [...] the example post: Should You Super-Syndicate Your Web Series? Posted in Art, Uncategorized | Tags: a-big-buzzword-, Art, idea, series-first, sites-were, [...]

  7. Funny, this article comes just as I am thinking about revising my whole business model to focus on building community on Facebook rather than spreading my attention to multiple sites and even my own series site. Who know I was onto some kind of trend? It’s certainly true that each video sharing site has its own audience and not every audience is for every series. It only makes sense to figure out where the demographic you’re looking for is hanging out and engage them where they are.

  8. I am all for super syndication. If you are operating with little to no budget, you need to do anything you can to reach viewers and build a fan base. Once you have the fan base, do you still need to super syndicate? No idea…

    1. That’s not an uncommon thought, Chris. Anyone out there done this? What did you focus on once you found your audience?

    2. I think a hybrid of super syndication & community building is where the correct business model lies, IMO. Driving traffic (i/e: dedicated viewership) back to your site via super syndication will give the best of both worlds. One can take advantage of rev/share deals via syndicated channels and still drive traffic back to a centralized platform where it can be further monetized.

      With content producers fighting to get viewership I couldn’t imagine turning off the faucet of Sup/Snyd even if it is just for teasers & trailers aimed at driving traffic to the centralize platform, whether it be a web site, facebook, etc.

      In short, don’t ever limit your access to viewers, just conform your model to channel them as your particular model demands.

  9. Jeremy Campbell Friday, August 28, 2009

    I think a syndicated model is a good idea, but there must still be some engagement on at least 2 or 3 video sharing sites with the viewing community.

    Even building a small but passionate following around your content can be huge, especially if they enjoy sharing the content with their friends across the social web.

    The main thing to keep in mind here is to go where the fish are swimming, and swim with the current not against it.

  10. Stephanie Scott Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Interesting question. I think super-syndication is the way to go at first, see where you can build an audience, then tailor it down. However, you also have to stay on top of the ever changing trends of various video platforms.

    I launched my web series in late 2007. At first I only launched my show to YouTube, MySpace and Veoh. I didn’t even have my own website yet. After about two months, I took my episodes and uploaded them to Funny or Die, where I had an immediate response and built a regular audience. So I focused on audience building on Funny or Die for a while. Then I stopped uploading to Veoh, because I found that no one was interacting on that site. Then fewer people were going to MySpace and Facebook became huge! So I started a Facebook group for my show. Then I got active on Twitter.

    Eventually, I built my own website and used blip as my main video player to embed on my site. I still upload to YouTube, MySpace and Funny or Die, but it’s Facebook and twitter that drives traffic to my site. Blip is also great so I can syndicate to iTunes for podcasts, and I find that folks really do use it.

    So my point is, I had to change my marketing strategy over time along with the ever changing trends of social media. Even if you build a solid audience on one platform, if the platform itself changes, then you could lose part of your audience. So, I think you just have to be adaptable.

    1. Hi Stephanie – to my comment below, if you have a core URL to drive your audience to from each of these touchpoints, you can adapt as new platforms emerge. Having content syndicated is great, but you also need to aggregate all of those groups to communicate with your audience, increase the value of your content and also protect against issues of platforms fading away.
      Best,
      Andrew

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