Peeking at Some Numbers: A Look at a Web Series Production Budget

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?

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