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Summary:

In the web video world, it usually takes the words “off the record” for a journalist to get any real understanding of what things cost. But for GigaOM Pro this week, we tried out some other words — “completely anonymous” — and had a bit of […]

In the web video world, it usually takes the words “off the record” for a journalist to get any real understanding of what things cost. But for GigaOM Pro this week, we tried out some other words — “completely anonymous” — and had a bit of luck. The producers of a multi-episodic web series allowed us to publish a complete copy of their production budget today, which offers an unfiltered look at the realities of the sort of low-budget production currently happening in the online video world (as opposed to 2007, which was the last time we tried to answer this question).

Getting $30,000 to produce a multi-episode web series on a professional level isn’t bad at all, and seeing where the costs break down is fascinating. How much should you spend on catering? Almost as much as the cost of props and wardrobe combined. How do you keep the costs of renting a location down? Shoot in only one place. And if one of the producers doubles as the lead actor, well, that’s a great way of making sure you only have to pay him once.

We dig into the details, and provide the complete balance sheet, over at our subscription research service GigaOM Pro. The most notable thing about the budget was that it wasn’t much different from those I’ve seen in the film and TV world, except web budgets are missing a few zeroes, and a lot was being done for a relatively little amount of money. How long might it be before that’s no longer the case?

  1. Boulder Web Design Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Good job on landing this contract. My Boulder Web Site design Company has been seeing a slight increase in the level of seriousness clients are taking towards website marketing. But the rate seems to be more of a crawl instead of active growth. We believe that things will pick up more in the next year 2010 and follow this trend.

    I guess we’ll all have to wait and see. Don G.

  2. Surag Ramachandran Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Hi all,

    My web series premiered on November 1, 2009 and can be viewed at blip.tv.
    The name of the Web Show is Bose is always right.

    It is a one man show with me (Surag Ramachandran) taking all the roles. Yes, it is produced, directed, written, edited, and distributed by me too :)

    It is a corporate comedy containing four characters so far. There is a boss whose name is Bose, an employee who does not have any name, the HR person called Mr. Helmet, and the driver of the company cab, Mr. Speed.
    There are six episodes so far and my plan is to upload a new episode very week.

    I had earlier purchased the camcorder, laptop, and so on for shooting and editing home videos. I know, web series requires more effort than home videos and I try to make them better. Now, apart from the time and effort that I spend on this web series, the budget spent is $00.00.

    How good is the end product? Well, that is for you to comment.

    Have a look at the Web Show page at http://surag.blip.tv
    The itunes subscription link is http://surag.blip.tv/rss/itunes

    Cheers,
    Surag

  3. So this is just a tease to get us to subscribe to another product of yours. Pass.

  4. Web Series Branding Opps to be Auctioned Off, Starting at $50,000 Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    [...] The minimum bid at the auction will be $50,000, to be advanced in $20,000 increments, which may seem trivial to a brand getting a shot at Keanu drinking its beer or wearing its apparel, but is a significant amount of money in the web series world, where complete series are often produced on a professional level with much less of a budget. [...]

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