Blog Post

NTV Rerun: EPIC-FU to TV?

Exactly a year ago we wrote about online news and pop culture show JETSET signing a distribution and monetization deal with Next New Networks. Now, in the first installment of a video industry gut-check series we’re going to call “NewTeeVee Rerun,” we asked creators Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf (who now call their show EPIC-FU) what’s happened to them in the last 366 days.

Regarding the specific piece of news we wrote about last April 1 (not a joke then or now!), the duo say they haven’t re-signed their year-long deal with Next New Networks but they may still work out a new agreement. They also disclosed they are talking contracts with an unspecified cable television network about a TV extension of EPIC-FU.

Along with its new name, EPIC-FU has really come into its own in the last year, with a smoother and snappier delivery. Add in multiple promotions on YouTube, and you get a huge jump in viewership. The show now sees 2 million views per month across its archive, said Woolf, with new episodes receiving about 250,000 views. At this time last year, episodes were getting 30,000 to 40,000 views.

And Woolf and Diaz are making obsessive use of web tools to cultivate a community of active viewers. Their Ning-based social network MIX has nearly 2,500 members. Their month-old FUnetics ARG (that stands for alternate reality game — the increasingly popular blend of fact, fiction and conspiracy theory) is taking off, with ridiculously engaged viewers deriving passwords and tasks from recent episodes.

Woolf and Diaz said their goals for EPIC-FU in the next year include upping episode releases from weekly to daily, adding real-world events, holding a red-carpet awards show, and doubling or tripling web viewership. Oh, and getting on TV!

All and all, a year later, it sounds like things are going pretty well for EPIC-FU. But we know that can’t be true for everybody. So check back tomorrow for another NewTeeVee rerun.

15 Responses to “NTV Rerun: EPIC-FU to TV?”

  1. lucia Albuquerque

    Congrats! You guys rock and roll… oh wait, I wont be able to watch you anymore if you go to TV… I don’t watch TV…plz stay true to the web and post episodes here too. beijos

  2. Thanks very much for all the kind words!

    As interested as we are in bringing EPIC-FU to other forms of media (i.e. TV), the words in this article that get me giddy is “…ridiculously engaged viewers…” :) The web will always be this show’s native environment.

    @Tim Street: Hey, we feel lucky that our awesome partners of the past year at NNN have been so selective with their advertising placements on the show. I have no doubt that they could have looked for every which way to make money, but to their credit they are building relationships with blue chip advertisers. And after a year, those efforts are clearly paying off. The past few weeks we’ve been able to run promotions for major movies (“21” was #1 at the box office this past weekend) and for Xbox, which is perfect for our audience.

    @Timothy Shey: No one knows better than you how hard it is to build shows that strive to create an immersive experience for viewers. We’re lucky as content creators to have always been on the same page and have you guys onboard with everything.

    Even though this industry is in its infancy and is already moving forward with breakneck speed, I think 2008 and 2009 are going to accelerate things to a whole new level. Zadi and I feel enormously fortunate to be a part of that.

  3. In fairness to Steve and Zadi, it’s been our job to bring advertisers into the show and the site. They’ve done an amazing job with the sponsors to date, which have included Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Pictures, XBox Live, and Mobivox, and there are a lot more sponsors interested in the show.

    There are no ad networks out there I know of that can guarantee even a $5 CPM on video views, especially if a good portion of them are long tail and occurring on distribution platforms like YouTube. But we’re working hard to crack that business model with partners like Steve and Zadi and making real progress in recent months. It helps to have such a great show to work with.

    Congrats to Smashface on a really incredible year — we really love the show, and love working with them. Here’s a little tribute we put together for their 100th episode:

  4. Steve and Zadi are great, true pioneers with amazing talents but like most artists they wrestle with Art vs Commerce. – Maybe more than most.

    If only the Epic FU Two could embrace the religion of an ad network and see the glory of the video ad server. With 2 million views per month at a low $5 CPM (they would get much higher) they would be living in Beverly Hills. Oh, wait, they already do. ;)

    If there are any other friends of Steve and Zadi that would like to join me for an intervention we can meet at Barney’s Beanery and work on plan to break the news to them that it’s OK to place ads on your site and on your videos.