So much web video is garbage. Still, everyone once in a while someone manages to get it right.
Web series as a genre is finally coming of age as viewing habits shift from television to digital. More and more writers and directors are doing web video well, and great series are finally getting a chance to shine.
Sure, the most popular work is still being produced like major houses like Netflix and Hulu. But every once in a while, a small team or unemployed director manages to make a short series (or series of shorts) actually worth diving in to.
These are our picks for narrative web-exclusives actually worth watching — prepare to lose the next six hours of your day.
Kids These Days
Finally, a Bain Capital story that doesn’t involve the term “vulture capital.” This morning, Blip, a video network highlighting original web series, announced a financing round of more than $12 million. Bain Capital Ventures, Canaan Partners, and other previous investors contributed $6.5 million as well as debt from Silicon Valley Bank totaling about $6 million.
The company, formerly known as Blip.tv, filed a Form D in December of last year, signifying that they had already raised $6 million from Bain and Canaan Partners.
In the press release, Blip claimed revenue had grown 100 percent year-over-year thanks to 13 million monthly uniques in the U.S. and 30 million monthly viewers globally. The new funding, said Blip, will be used to develop tools and services for web series producers, invest in its advertising and distribution platforms, and “significantly expand” syndication relationships.
Betabeat spoke with Blip COO Steve Brookstein to talk about the competition for eyeballs, whether YouTube is a friend or foe, and if he’s voting for Bain founder Mitt Romney.
Web TV Wars
With 3 percent of Twitter’s servers devoted to Justin Bieber, there is no denying millenials are a power force on the internet. Alloy, the creator of books like Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, among others, has honed its formula for churning out youth bestsellers and accompanying spin-offs to perfection.
Tween and teen-oriented page turners were Alloy’s bread and butter, but the company has lost its faith in books; instead turning to the web and television for eyeballs and mindshare. Alloy Digital, a division of Alloy Media + Marketing, says it reaches more than
60 70 million youngsters a month through its network of websites including the websites for the aforementioned series, new-fangled products like this confusing Facebook app, and Teen.com.
Web TV Wars
Netflix sent the blogosphere into a tizzy earlier this week when it announced it was dividing itself in two: Netflix the streaming video business, and Qwikster, the disastrously named DVD by mail step child. A lot of articles were written trying to parse the news, but the general sentiment was confusion.
The truth is that the TV business is on the brink of a seismic shift, akin to what has already happened in music with the iTunes store and Spotify. But the entrenched interests, both the networks and the cable companies, are doing everything they can to make sure they keep control during this change.
So you get a situation like Netflix and Qwickster, which as Evolver.fm Elliot Van Buskirk explains, is all about the licensing silly:
Web TV Wars
Techstars NY graduate Shelby.tv has been pretty quiet since raising $1.5 million in July. But today the young start-up, which aims to provide an immersive experience for watching, sharing and discovering web video, announced that content from the typically isolated Hulu will be available on Shelby.tv. Videos from IAC’s College Humor also came online today, along with Tumblr integration.
A week after Fox made users wait to watch new shows on Hulu for free, tech site TorrentFreak says they’ve seen a drastic rise in the volume of illegal downloads of Fox shows.
TorrentFreak reported that over the first five days of Fox’s service change, Hell’s Kitchen saw an over 100 percent rise in illegal downloads compared with three previous episodes, and that MasterChef saw a rise of over 189 percent for the same comparison.
First World Problems
If you’re a big time VC or founder with a sweet exit, you probably get your floss on with an iPad in every room of the house. To get the full MTV Cribs Tech Edition, it’s crucial to have a fantastic stream of videos running at all time or ready to go with a single swipe.
We’ve had the Boxee in our living room for a while and love the ability to stream Netflix (all six seasons of the Larry Sanders show) and easily pull up videos we bookmarked from the web. Now we can double down on our home entertainment with Boxee’s new iPad app.
Do You Hulu?
First, they came for the DVDs…
A stab at social integration went haywire this holiday weekend. Hulu was hoping to roll out a new login powered by Facebook Connect. But when users ended up logged in to the accounts of total strangers by mistake, the service was quickly taken offline.
Blogger Miken Flacy signed in as a Hulu employee, Read More
David Duchovny is the voice of a alcoholic polar bear caught in a nightmarish version of present day Hollywood. “Ice, ice baby. Go with the flow.”
You could head down and catch this gem at the Tribeca Film Festival. But through May 17th, the fest’s marvelous shorts will be screening five at a time in the Read More