18 Comments

Summary:

The yet-to-be-launched episodic video content site Hitvidi.com just announced a new contest that promises ten online video makers $10,000 each to finance the production of new shows. Producers have until May 1st to come up with a proposal for an original series as well as shoot […]

The yet-to-be-launched episodic video content site Hitvidi.com just announced a new contest that promises ten online video makers $10,000 each to finance the production of new shows. Producers have until May 1st to come up with a proposal for an original series as well as shoot the pilot episode.

Hitvidi.com claims to be open for all genres, but there’s a bit of pressure to create something that’s gonna generate lots of views. After all, the site’s claim is “the space for hit shows.” You know, just in case you needed the meaning of the site’s name spelled out.

Hitvidi.com aims to open to the public this fall, and the winners of the contest are supposed to premiere their shows on the site during its launch. Creators are promised a split of ad revenue on top of the $10,000 production budget, but it’s unclear what exactly the conditions will be.

Speaking of money: The ten lucky winners won’t receive the $10,000 up front, but prorated throughout the first season of their show, meaning that you’d get a little bit each time you deliver a new episode. Runner-ups may apparently also be offered a chance to produce their show for Hitvidi.com at a later time.

As always with web contests, it’s worth reading the fine print before committing. This page mentions a right of first refusal, as well as another important detail: “All monies awarded are valued in Canadian funds.” Luckily, the difference isn’t as much as it used to be. 10,000 Canadian dollars comes out to about 9,700 green ones.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: By The Numbers: Budget Analysis of a Web Series

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  1. Anyone read the terms an conditions?

    I am no lawyer, but it seems that if you win this “production deal” you forfeit the right to terminate the contract, while they can terminate at any time. They will gain the full rights to the IP and are allowed to get rid of you, then recast, reshoot, and redistribute at their discretion.

    Also, there is no guarantee they will ever extend this contract past 10 episodes… after that they still own the IP, which means you would have to purchase the rights back from them to produce your own show.

    In my humble opinion, self-respecting web producers should run in the other direction.

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    1. Oh, and here is my favourite part… you get $10 000 to produce 5-20 shows… and you can pay yourself 10% of the production budget!

      So, if you produce the minimum of 5, you receive $200! So, one week of full time work (production values would have to be pretty low to pull that off) would mean you are earning $5 an hour.

      Well, I suppose they will get what they pay for.

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      1. Wow, Faser, scathing. You’re clearly earning thousands of dollars for your web series every second, so maybe these guys aren’t trying to appeal to you.

        If you think that $10,000 isn’t enough, then where’s your site offering more? A company has to start somewhere, and I doubt any start-up would be able to go any higher, unless they just wanted one series to show off and dumped all the money to one person.

        So, if you and your “colleagues” are so elite, how much did you make for your first series? Consider that an open question to everyone – how much has anyone actually made on their first self-run series? Never made one? Give it a shot and see if you can get more than $10,000 for it. Then we can go to the hitvidi guys with facts and figures.

        This site’s idea could really lead to a unique experience on the internet, but it has to start somewhere, and maybe it just has to start small (by your estimation).

        I know my tone is less than complimentary, but, seriously, do you really think this is a bad idea for someone who wants to get their name out there? I mean, you clearly think it’s not as much as an established producer could make, but is everybody as well-known as you?

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      2. You’ve got me wrong Manny. While I am not about to divulge my income public, I’m not quite rolling in the dough. My initial comments here aren’t expressing the lack of appeal this hold for me personally, but rather out of astonishment for the lack of respect given to the value of talented web production.

        You can not tell me that someone who has the skill to rise above the din of web shows with a 10 episode “hit” deserves $1000, an undisclosed share in ad revenue, and a contractual noose around their neck.

        On an aside: I’ve been drawn into this longer than I would have liked for fear of going radio-silent and being seen as not having strength in my, yes, scathing convictions. My cynicism comes from years of working relentlessly to build an audience, and distaste in seeing hard work undervalued.

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    2. Thanks for reporting on hitvidi Janko.

      In response to the comments we’re seeing, there seems to be a few misconceptions. One is, $10,000 will be awarded to winners, regardless of the amount of episodes proposed. If a creator wins with a proposed 5 or 500 episodes, they will get $10,000. And creators can keep 10% as payment. This is based on what music video directors get for their work. Common structure, been around for decades.

      Yes hitvidi owns the rights to shows if a production deal is struck. This is how the world works. If a creator lands a deal at a conventional network, this is how it works. Hitvidi is paying for production costs up front. That is the cost of getting production money, and that is the cost of our risk. Blip.tv is one of your alternatives, and making a show with blip pays you nothing, unless blip brings in ad dollars on your content. Most blip providers see nothing close to $10,000. And, of course, at the blips of the world, you must pay for the production of your own shows. We feel we’re offering an alternative to that model.

      We understand if you’re not interested in hitvidi, but we hardly think it is bs. If a creator wants production money, then join us at hitvidi. And you’ll also share in ad revenue with us if your show is a smash hit. If you’d like to choose otherwise, we warmly wish you success.

      We look forward to submissions from those that see the value in our risk. And we hope to create hits with you.

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      1. Thank you for the education on how the Film/TV industry, and the world, work. Gosh, I haven’t “been around for decades,” but I am almost certain that my colleagues in THIS decade take home more than $1000 for two months of solid work.

        Sure we’re welcome continue our (supposedly futile) attempts to monetize on our own, but we’re just as welcome to lambaste those who insultingly undervalue the web producer community.

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      2. Now let me see if I get this deal right.

        On one hand, there is no advantage to making anymore than the minimum number of episodes since you’re paid $10,000 spread over the number of episodes you make. If this is true, a producer should find out what is the minimum (5? 1?) and only produce that. Forget about trying to make a “smash hit” since, let us be honest, for only $2,000 a episode max for a mere five episodes that isn’t going to happen. Yes, it could. I could also theoretically be elected President. In fact, I’d be more willing to wager that I’ll be occupying the Oval Office than making a cheap smash hit.

        And who cares how much the producer keeps as their own profit? What is this? Socialism? What should only matter is the popularity of the show. And who cares what the music video producers get for their show? Are you wanting only music videos?

        As for rights and “how the world works”, you’re not ABC, NBC, Fox or anyone close to them. If you think you can operate as them do then PAY like they do. You don’t so you need to give up a LOT more to get content. Offering peanuts to wear a straight jacket is almost delusional. Oh, I’m sure you’ll get some willing to bite but them producing a smash hit is where the delusions come in.

        Your “take or leave it” attitude doesn’t help your pitch.

        If you want to attract producer, I’d suggest creating an incubator studio. Your website then lays out all that it offers. Not just what equipment but what personnel they will have access to and can be helped by. Wannabe producers then pitch their shows (just like in Hollywood) and you select the best. This is a return to the studio system but that wasn’t that bad of a system and might make for a good model for an incubator studio.

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  2. 1Ok doled out during production, after you’ve already shot a pilot episode…so for your 10 episode series they’ll throw down 1000 per? And you give it to them? It sounds like a fishing expedition on the part of Hitvidi…Why not hit Kickstarter with your pilot? If you’ve already had the motivation to cast, write, shoot, edit a pilot, why then turn around and give it away?

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  3. This offer is bs, but what is worse is Janko not calling it what it is. Seriously. Janko should have ripped this one a new hole. That Janko didn’t speaks VERY poorly of NewTeeVee.

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  4. Vanity is the new slave labor.

    I have yet to see a Video Creator’s Contest that is a “Win, Win.” for both the sponsor and the video producer.

    Why can’t we just win the $10,000?

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    1. “Vanity is the new slave labor.”

      That puts a succinct ribbon on it.

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  5. I agree with most comments, but time will tell. I admit, I’m not convinced this is the best way to introduce a new company to an already crowded marketplace. Money and online marketing are what the creators need. Not another contest.

    And this contest does feel sort of like those contests-dressed-as-jobs that are posting around lately. The ones promising directors $5k in pay to create online ads for big advertisers. Then you learn you have to make the ad on your own dime, and you only get paid if you win a contest. One job post I noticed recently “paid $5k”. You got forwarded to a contest to create an online video ad for a popular university. Can you imagine some recent graduate from that school looking for a job and coming across that?

    These are funny times. Very funny times.

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    1. I agree with your comments. When I saw $10,000 contest, my heartbeat didn’t skip a beat. This is playing on dreams that verges on being a scam.

      Why it verges on being a scam is that it is the producers who are funding Hitvidi’s start. Think about it. Hitvidi is paying AFTER the producer delivers the product. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s no guarantee that the producer will win the contest. The producer is gambling with probably very little chance of winning. And if they do win, they will very likely barely break even.

      As Hitvidi likes to talk about “how the world works”, okay, let us talk about how the world of TV production works. Successful producers never produce their own money. The money they use to produce either comes from clueless suckers (a.k.a. “investors” … a.k.a. conned dentists, doctors, lawyers, and rich widows), advertisers (which are EXTREMELY hard to land), or from distributors. A network (broadcast or cable) is essentially a distributor. They KNOW they can sell ads and have a LONG history of successfully selling ads on shows. Producers go to these networks and pitch their shows to them. If the network likes their pitch, they’re given development money to make a pilot. If the network likes their pilot (or it airs as a “special” and gets good ratings … which is how “Mythbusters”, “Dirty Jobs”, “Jon & Kate Plus Eight”, “Ice Road Truckers”, and many other cable shows got their start), they’re given money for either a full or, if they have some doubts, a half season of shows. If the show performs acceptably, they get a renewal and everyone is happy forever and ever.

      Note who is taking the risk. The network. Not the producer. The opposite is the case with Hitvidi.

      But my guess is that Hitvidi doesn’t have any advertisers lined up yet. And the reason why they don’t have a single advertiser is because they don’t have a single product (a.k.a. a show) to show them. They’re hoping to get that FREE from producers that enter their “contest”. Looking over their website, this seems to be the case. And look over their website. No industry name attached to it. Heck, no name of any individual attached to it. Click on their “About Hitvidi” link and you’ll see no one there.

      Not only no named individual but no show is listed on their website. Hello??? Where’s your track record of shows? You say you’re the “the place for hit shows”. Okay. Where are they? I see none on your website. Hit or flop. None. And where’s your record of landing advertising contracts with major corporations? Heck, where is one with even a one-man tobacco shop? Given this, let me be major cynic here and speculate that you, Hitvidi, might be hoping to shop the entered shows around during the “judging” period and only declare ten winners after you land advertisers for the shows. Those shows landing advertisers being declared the contest winners. If that is the case, this IS a scam. You pay nothing upfront and only pay the producers AFTER you have made a sale.

      Now if Hitvidi is really a distributor, then it should act as one. They should drop the contest and solicit pitches. They should also tell what kind of shows they’re looking for. The ten best pitches get $10,000 each to produce a pilot for their shows. Or better yet, I’d suggest three winners that get $33,000 each or even just one winner that gets $100,000. The more a producer can spend, the higher the production values the show will have. That’s reality. And this way the producers risk only their time doing the pitch and nothing else.

      But Hitvidi will have to offer more than just money to attract good producers. They will have to explain how they will promote the shows and, most importantly, demonstrate that they have advertisers lined up and waiting. If they don’t have a stable of advertisers, they can only allude to possible ad revenue share but must be honest about its chances. And those chances are VERY slim in these recessionary times. If that is the case (which I suspect it is), they should simply admit that they are really hoping that one of the shows will become a hit and that such will be what they’re hoping will launch their company. Then producers know the score. The realistic producers will only expect to get $10,000 (or $33,000 or $100,000) for making a pilot and not get their hopes up for anything else. A mere credential (insignificant at $10,000 and minor at $100,000) that they can list on their production website. If this is the case and they’re honest about it, I think they’ll get some decent pitches from experienced small production companies … like Marabella Productions (http://marabellaproductions.com/).

      So, Hitvidi, what is it?

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  6. Avoid contests if you are pro. A 10000 buyout of your entire property in perpetuity is a sweet deal for them so if you’re desparate go for it. especially if you have a cast off idea that you don’t care about because that’s what this will attract not hits. Hits are worth more. Ask Legend of Neil, Guild, Fred, Bannen Way etc.

    Again if you have a b or c level idea you don’t mind shooting and then losing for 10k go for it. If they want a hut how about calling my agent and taking a pitch and business proposal?

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  7. Which ones of you writing here are the same ones that think content on the web should be free?

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    1. Not me. I have never said it “should” be free. I’m the one that has been saying it WILL be free. Click on my name for a white paper I did in 2003.

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    2. Sparky.

      It is free.

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