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Is Harper’s Globe Hitched to a Loser?

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With the news this week that CBS (s CBS) would be banishing its new series Harper’s Island to Saturday night after sliding ratings, we checked in with Greg Goodfried, EQAL co-founder, president and COO, to ask about the future of companion web series Harper’s Globe.

Goodfried pushed the CBS rationale for the night switch: that Harper’s Island was seeing such high rates of DVR and online viewing, it’s not important which day it actually airs. Some 1.64 million of the premiere episode’s 11.29 million viewers came from DVR playback within the seven days following its airing on television, according to Nielsen. And CBS said the show received unprecedented numbers of video streams, making it the fastest-growing series in’s history. But let’s be honest: The schedule change has to signal a lack of confidence from the network and the distinct possibility that the show will not be renewed.

Goodfried said he felt confident from discussions with CBS that the series would at least be able to complete its 13-episode arc. He said it would be up to CBS whether the web show might live on if the TV show is taken off air.

Aided by marketing from CBS as well as a new all-inclusive EQAL-developed show platform, Harper’s Globe has seen a higher level of engagement than any previous EQAL show including lonelygirl15, said Goodfried. The site for Harper’s Globe — which includes daily updates, weekly episodes, full episodes of Harper’s Island, and social-networking and photo-sharing tools for fans tracking the mysteries of both shows — has had 100,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views in the last four weeks, said Goodfried. The show’s videos are powered by YouTube, so we checked its numbers there. They show the familiar trend of a huge dropoff after the first episode. Recent episodes have on the order of 40,000 views each.

What stands out about the Harper’s Globe is the way it incorporates its audience. The show feed includes user videos, calls to action, and comments. When Harper’s Globe‘s main character, Robin, asked fans to call in to help her get the attention of the town sheriff (a character on both the web and TV shows), “thousands and thousands” of people left messages. “This is orders of magnitude higher than other things we’ve done,” Goodfried said.

But as a watcher of both shows so far, I have to say that it’s not exactly clear how they help each other. Sure, they’re both set in the same place, and they both concern mysterious and scary events, but in tone and pace they’re quite different. Harper’s Island episodes are jam-packed with violence, soapy drama, and anticipation — whereas Harper’s Globe has more character development, less action, and seems plodding by contrast. “I think there’s just a different pacing on an online show than a TV show,” Goodfried said. Who knew? The web is a place for nuanced storytelling.

13 Responses to “Is Harper’s Globe Hitched to a Loser?”

  1. iTunes releases are behind the website. Are the hg website and you tube views counted as the same?

    anyway, i started on iTunes so i’m behind and then realized that hg ep was released way before the first HI…
    Can’t they just put all the eps on iTunes already!!!

    • 40,000 is the average for the weekly wrap-ups. I agree, could be a lot better. What Greg said was bigger than LG15 was the level of engagement from fans in the series, as reflected by comments and participation. As for the “thousands and thousands” of calls, I suppose it could be a few avid fans with speed dial?

  2. holden – the 40,000 number is roughly accurate, if you avg the weekly vids that have been up for a full week. week 6 is hovering about 27,000 views, so a downward trend is possible.

    if you look at the daily vids they only get about 2-3,000 views each. which makes it kinda hard to believe that robin’s request for phone calls got “thousands and thousands” of calls in response, but it was an interactive offering.

    holden – its unlikely that a webseries is going to increase the views of a television show. i would have thought its more likely to go the other way, but i’m not sure that 40K views suggest that.

  3. Are you kidding me? I don’t know where to begin with this one. HG is integrated supplemental content so if it were doing that great it would have a positive impact on the source show. There’s no reason to suggest it’s had any impact. The way Greg spins it why would CBS sign up for another EQAL project? Unless he already knows that…

    And where’s that 40,000 view number come from? Last week’s videos combined are no where near that. If the show were living on it’s own wouldn’t it maintain it’s view numbers?

  4. I’ve watched everything EQAL’s ever done, and this by far takes the cake. It’s a really well done series and if EQAL continues to act to this magnitude in the future they will be doing the internet a service.

    Too bad Harper’s Island sucks so much.

  5. Well I refused to watch that show simply because the guy @ggoodfried decided to auto-spam me the website URL for some bad Internet/TV show on Twitter because I mentioned “Battlestar Galactica” in a tweet. Of course I clicked the URL once, never returned and blocked the guy after rousing him about his twitter marketing tactics.