Web video is starting to mirror traditional TV, like it or not.
Case in point: the distribution strategy and release schedule of LG15: The Resistance.
EQAL, the production studio behind the show, will release new episodes just once a week, starting Sat., Sept. 20. Hmm, that sure feels a lot like how the broadcast networks dole out programming, doesn’t it?
But it makes sense. As EQAL President Greg Goodfried explained, the daily web model can be overwhelming. “The one drawback to shows with daily content is if you miss a week — or two weeks or three weeks — you have five to 10 to 20 thumbnails to click on,” he said. “Even if the video is only one minute, the mental problem is the same; it feels like you have to dedicate all your time to it. If we have a weekly video and you’re gone for three weeks, you only have to have three thumbnails to click on.”
The show is also a spin-off and spin-offs — think the The Jeffersons or Frasier — are a staple of traditional TV. “Our model for a while has been Star Trek and Star Wars,” said EQAL CEO Miles Beckett, referring to two franchises that spawned spin-offs.
In addition, EQAL is creating foreign language versions for other countries with local production studios in those countries. Yet again, that’s a practice akin to the international syndication of American TV shows.
New media enthusiasts may bristle at the TV-like trappings of The Resistance. I don’t. Because for all its flaws, traditional TV has built a $70 billion-a-year advertising business on weekly installments of hit shows. Meanwhile, the web is still trying to figure out if it’s even going to earn $1 billion in online video ad revenue this year. A little bit of imitation might bring in more viewers and, as a result, more bucks.
Are the similarities to traditional TV in The Resistance coming from CBS’ influence? After all, EQAL has a first-look deal with the network. Goodfried and Beckett insist that the CBS partnership had no bearing on the decision to imitate traditional TV practices. “We wanted to take the things that are great about TV and bring them to a web series while still representing what is great and unique about the web. We are influenced by TV and watch TV,” Beckett said.
The Resistance will still release short videos, text blogs and photos every day and include interactive elements on the show’s site.