New Futurescape Online TV Research: Keanu Reeves and Other Stars Embrace Creative and Commercial Opportunities in Web TV Series

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Stars producing their own online TV shows are rapidly taking Web TV into the mainstream, according to a new report from digital entertainment research company Futurescape http://www.futurescape.tv. Futurescape, which researches the latest developments in the dynamic Web TV sector to provide in-depth analysis of new Internet TV series, business models, sponsorship and audience interactivity, today publishes the second edition of its report The Birth Of Online TV. The report identifies three major trends in original online TV series. 1) More stars are launching Internet TV shows, often funded by major sponsors. 2) Sound business models and commercial opportunities are emerging: digital download sales; major brand sponsorship; commissions from Web sites; reaching TV viewers via games consoles; cross-promoting other commercial interests. 3) Web shows will break out across the entertainment sector as a whole.

Felicia Day and The Guild Web series are popular with online gaming fans. Their music video success demonstrates significant opportunities for other artists such as Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff who already have large fan bases and their own Web series.

LONDON, September 14, 2009 - Stars appearing in and making their own online TV shows are rapidly taking Web TV mainstream, according to a new report from digital entertainment research company Futurescape http://www.futurescape.tv

Futurescape, which researches the latest developments in the dynamic Web TV sector to provide in-depth analysis of new Internet TV series, business models, sponsorship and audience interactivity, today publishes the second edition of its report The Birth Of Online TV.

The report identifies three major trends in original online TV series.

Trend 1: Increasing numbers of famous actors, producers and directors are launching Internet TV series, with blue chip sponsors

Futurescape co-founder Özlem Tunçil said, "In the 15 months since the first edition of our report The Birth Of Online TV, Web shows have progressed from experimental projects to become creatively and commercially successful productions in their own right. Web TV offers a new, more interactive medium for stars to reach fans. Futurescape's reports explain the commercial models in online TV series and provide crucial insights for producers, actors, agencies, brands and broadcasters to seize the initiative."

Actors, producers and directors with Internet TV productions include:

Keanu Reeves stars in Spärhusen, a musical comedy about a fictitious Abba-style Swedish Seventies rock band.

Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City creator) has premiered her business comedy The Broadroom, sponsored by Maybelline.

Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) has debuted her YouTube series The Chase, featuring her fashion collection, Femme for DKNY Jeans.

Lisa Kudrow (Friends) co-created and stars in comedy Web Therapy, sponsored by Toyota's Lexus.

Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator) produced superhero musical Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, profitable from iTunes video downloads.

Felicia Day (Buffy actor) co-created and stars in Microsoft-sponsored online gamer comedy The Guild: a song from it hit no.1 on iTunes music video downloads.

Ashton Kutcher (Punk'd) launched reality series KatalystHQ, sponsored by Nestle Hot Pockets.

Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) stars in reality series The Miley and Mandy Show.

Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) is working on a scifi Web series.

Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) is backing scifi production Purefold.

Trend 2: Sound business models and commercial opportunities are emerging

The maturing Web show market offers actors and producers proven ways to benefit commercially as well as creatively. Major advertisers increasingly appreciate how Web series can enhance a brand's image and connect it with specific demographics or online communities.

Digital download sales: Buffy creator Joss Whedon self-funded superhero musical Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog with a $200,000 budget. The production has been distributed online via video aggregator Hulu, with advertising, and as a paid-for download via Apple's iTunes, before its DVD release. Whedon says the show became profitable from downloads alone.

Major brand sponsorship: Many series are fully-funded by international brands. Lisa Kudrow's comedy Web Therapy is backed by Toyota's Lexus. Maybelline sponsors Candace Bushnell's comedy The Broadroom.

Southern Comfort dropped television advertising for digital, with branded entertainment Web series on men's site Break and video comedy site My Damn Channel. Levi's also funds comedies on Break.

Web site commissions: Video aggregation sites Babelgum and My Damn Channel offer Web show producers new commissions and exclusive distribution windows. MySpace and Bebo commission original drama, reality and entertainment series.

Cross-promoting commercial interests: Hilary Duff's series The Chase features her fashion collection, Femme for DKNY Jeans.

Reaching TV viewers via games consoles: Microsoft funded two seasons of gamer comedy The Guild to provide original content direct to TV viewers for the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace. The show, also distributed via MSN and the Microsoft Zune media player, reaches a potential 14m viewers in 26 countries.

Trend 3: Web shows will break out across the entertainment sector generally

The Guild also demonstrates how a Web series can successfully break through into other forms of entertainment. To promote the show's third season, the producers created a music video with an original song, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar, uploaded it on YouTube and invited fans to buy the song as iTunes and Amazon downloads.

Without a conventional marketing campaign or record label, the song gatecrashed the music download charts, going to no. 1 on Amazon MP3 downloads and no.1 on iTunes music video downloads, overtaking acts such as Black Eyed Peas. Keanu Reeves comedy Spärhusen will release a whole album by its fictional band.

Futurescape co-founder Colin Donald said, "Felicia Day and The Guild Web series are popular with online gaming fans. Their music video success demonstrates significant opportunities for other artists such as Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff who already have large fan bases and their own Web series."

"Creating your own Web series gives an actor, producer or director a springboard to take the intellectual property, such as characters and storylines, across many forms of entertainment, from music to games to books."

Media Enquiries

Colin Donald, Director, Futurescape
Office +44 (0)20 7193 8295 Mobile +44 (0)7833 975 574
Web: http://www.futurescape.tv
Notes to Editors

The Birth Of Online TV, Futurescape's pioneering research report on the American and British Internet TV production business, is published in its second edition. It first appeared in May 2008. The report is 100 pages and can be ordered online at http://www.futurescape.tv
About Futurescape

Futurescape identifies and analyzes the latest online television trends for entertainment industry leaders worldwide for insights on how to integrate Web TV into overall business strategy.

Futurescape Reports

  • The Birth Of Online TV - The first research report on original Web TV shows

http://www.futurescape.tv/the-birth-of-online-tv.html

  • UK Web Shows Now - Cutting-edge Internet TV productions and innovative formats

http://www.futurescape.tv/report-uk-web-shows-now.html

  • WeVision - How Web shows succeed by engaging online communities

http://www.futurescape.tv/report-wevision.html
Our Buyers

Futurescape's research is bought by global advertising and media agencies, TV broadcasters and producers, cable, satellite and mobile operators, media owners, publishers, industry analysts and government agencies: AT&T, BBC Worldwide, Digitas, Disney, Eutelsat, HBO, ITV, MediaCom, Ogilvy, Publicis, UBS, Virgin Media, Warner Bros.

Blog

The Futurescape Web series blog: http://www.futurescape.tv/blog_index.html

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COLIN DONALD
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