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Crackle.com‘s high-profile action web series Angel of Death has generated 4.7 million views since it debuted on March 2, according to a Crackle representative. Angel of Death, which cost roughly $1 million to produce, was notable because it was written by famed comics writer Ed Brubaker (our earlier interview with him embedded here) and featured star Zoe Bell of Death Proof.
During a recent interview with comic book podcast iFanboy, Brubaker said Angel of Death had been seen by “7 million people.” This was kind of vague, so we contacted the folks at Crackle who said Brubaker misspoke, and provided the more specific, yet completely different metric of 4.7 million total views.
Knowing how easy it can be to fudge web series numbers, we asked Crackle for the individual episode view breakdowns. Crackle declined, but Visible Measures, with their online video tracking kung-fu (involving publicly available Crackle feeds), provided the following breakdown of Angel of Death views on Crackle:
Episode 1: 950,000
Episode 2: 675,000
Episode 3: 625,000
Episode 4: 525,000
Episode 5: 275,000
Episode 6: 350,000
Episode 7: 800,000
Episode 8: 100,000
Episode 9: 300,000
Episode 10: 200,000
Crackle wouldn’t confirm Visible Measures’ numbers — but those stats (adding up to 4.8 million) are pretty close to Crackle’s own numbers, and pretty decent for a drama series on the web. As with many web shows Angel of Death started off strong, but unlike other shows it retained more than half a million plays through the first four episodes.
Quarterlife had a much bigger publicity blitz and dropped from more than 800,000 plays for its debut to roughly 105,000 for its second episode during its first month. And the first episode of Sorority Forever, which starred web celeb Jessica Rose, was seen by 1.2 million people during its first week. The WB didn’t release updated stats as the weeks went on, but the show never crossed the 290,000 plays threshhold over on MySpace, with most episodes only pulling in five-figure audiences. Other series like Prom Queen and lonelygirl have experienced erratic traffic patterns.
Success metrics for a dramatic web series should be different than a flash-in-the-pan phenom like Susan Boyle, or even a comedy series that doesn’t have an ongoing narrative. Just like with oldteevee, an important gauge for a web series isn’t just who shows up once, but who gets so engaged that they keep coming back. While Angel of Death certainly tapered off, it’s a strong showing and I wouldn’t be surprised if Crackle reunites the team for an Angel of Death 2.