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Webisodes or Episodes: Web or Television-Which Platform is Right for Your Project?

For you independent writers and producers looking to shop your series, having the end goal in mind is critical to determining how you shop and distribute your project. With the explosion of streaming platforms (i.e. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Youtube, and Vimeo) disrupting the traditional television industry, more opportunities are available for original content to be distributed outside of traditional television networks. In choosing the best platform for your series, however, it is important to take the time and ask yourself the following questions:

1) What is the end goal I have in mind with my content? Am I looking to gain recognition in the industry as a writer or are merely looking to build a fanbase/community? 2) Who is my target audience?

It is important to take the time to ask yourself these important questions, as you are building your brand as a writer from day one. Television networks and streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have certain programming demands that need to be considered when pitching your project to pique their interests that are institutionally different from internet streaming services like Youtube or Vimeo. So which platforms should you consider for your project?

INTERNET STREAMING SERVICES If you are looking to gain recognition as a writer and/or producer, then internet streaming platforms are an option for initial distribution. Internet streaming platforms are a great way to build a following and help define your market. Particularly, if you are creating content that is more experimental in nature or very niche (i.e. LGBTQ content), internet streaming platforms may be a better option than a television network. Although the more recognized internet streaming services are Youtube and Vimeo, there are other internet streaming platforms that may cater more specifically to your targeted demographic. The ability to gauge viewership with these platforms can be beneficial in targeting your fanbase and building your brand as a writer.

If you are looking to build revenue as you build your brand, however, then internet streaming services may not be your best option for initial distribution. To generate revenue on even ad-supported internet streaming services like Youtube, significant viewership is necessary. For instance, the CPM (cost per mille) for Youtube content creators can be anywhere on the higher end of $2.00 to $3.00 per thousand views. That is assuming that your project is ad-supported and that consumers do not block the ads while watching your series (which we all know we hate watching as consumers). If your series does not generate a large number of views, and you later want to pitch it to television networks, television networks may not be interested in any series that has already been made available through an internet streaming service. If your viewership of the series is low, you have now made the case that your project does have a significant following to pique enough interest for audiences to make your project a viable fit for the television network.

Although there are certainly outlier examples for the case of a webseries picked up by a network (i.e. James Bland’s Giants webseries), it is generally a more difficult route to take and should be cautioned against if your project is better suited for the current trends and needs of television networks and studios.

TELEVISION PLATFORMS If you are looking for more revenue generating opportunities for your content, while building a track record in the television industry, then television networks, studios, and SVOD streaming services like Netflix are your better options. The benefits of engaging networks, studios, and production companies that are looking to develop content is that they will pick up the financial tab to produce in exchange for rights in the project, subject to negotiation of rights, credit, and compensation of course, and the show will have wider viewership potential. However, to obtain the interest of development executives, it is critical to pay particular attention to whether your content fits within their programming and having a pulse on where the networks are looking to expand their current program offerings. Crespo Law Office, P.C. can help writers and producers develop a strategy on the most viable distribution platforms, and in shopping their projects. Contact Crespo Law Office, P.C. today for an initial consultation.

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