The size of online video is growing at a rapid pace—it has tripled in size since 2003, more people are watching online video every day and people are craving longer and more professional content on the web. I had the opportunity to ask Dan Goodman and Bill Masterson, co-founders of digital entertainment company Believe Entertainment Group, about their take on the appeal web video and what they think is in store for the future of web series. Read on to find out more.
Dan Goodman and Bill Masterson are the masterminds behind some of the most definitive, original content launches on YouTube, Hulu and the rest of the web. They launched The LeBrons, an animated web series starring LeBron James, earlier this year; Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy (which they worked on prior to founding Believe Entertainment Group); and more. Later this year they’ll be launching In The Booth, a 15-part web series following the world-famous DJ/Producer Tiësto.
On ‘In The Booth’
I asked Dan and Bill to share some more information about In The Booth. Bill told me that the series, which is set tolaunch later this year, will follow Tiësto from Las Vegas to Ibiza, giving fans the ultimate insider experience. “Tiësto is a
superstar in the electronic/dance music scene who has fueled a mainstream, global movement; this documentary-style format has been used before with mega-bands but this will be the first time it’s ever been done with a DJ. In The Booth will consist of 15 episodes, each approximately five to seven minutes in length, and will give fans an up-close, personal look at Tiësto’s life and reveal how his passion for music and live performance has made him a global phenomenon, chronicling the events, promoters, preparations and how each show ultimately comes together.”
On The Difference Between TV & Web Video
I am always interested to hear what web video producers have to say about the differences between producing for broadcast (TV) and for web. Dan told me, “Our strategy and process is not unlike that of a cable/television studio. Out belief is that TV/film-quality content can be created and broadcast on new forms of mass-media—like YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and Twitter. More than just ‘digital’ this really is the new ‘mass media’ entertainment platform.
“Our main focus is on the talent and audience experience, creating content that people will enjoy and continue watching. Then, when it’s time to bring in advertisers, we develop meaningful, exclusive ways for brands to participate. For example, HP and Intel provided us with the technology we used for The LeBrons, so we produced standalone custom episodes that showcased the making of The LeBrons and how it was created using HP and Intel technologies. We created relevant, impactful ways for HP and Intel to be involved, which is something you can do with online content in a lot of new and unique ways, sometimes more than you can with traditional content.
“Ultimately, the production isn’t all that different, it’s just customized for the way audiences watch their entertainment in today’s digitally enabled world.”
On The Growth Of Web Video
What do the Believe Entertainment guys attribute the massive growth of web video to? Bill told me, “There are several factors. First, great content will attract viewers, whether on TV or on the Web. That’s why our focus has always been on creating great content first.” He adds that, “People are also staying on the Web longer to watch content. It used to be that only short-form clips would be viewed on the Web, but now we’re seeing longer-form content be successful with consumers as well.”
“Also, we’re seeing that creators and brands are starting to view and use the Web as a legitimate entertainment medium, like they would film or TV. Increased consumer time online is changing the opportunity for advertisers to participate and drive consumer viewership, and they are attracted to the integrated, innovative new ways to capitalize on entertainment content online that is pushing the boundaries of media distribution and content creation. Practically, as people become increasingly plugged into mobile platforms like smartphones, tablets, etc., many prefer to consume entertainment not only at home but also on-the-go. People watch shows like The LeBrons because they want strong content, but also because they’re convenient to view on mobile platforms.
“At the same time, we are seeing other networks and platforms start to follow our strategy by making a significant investment into developing premium, original programming, that will only help create better content and increase viewership for online video as a whole, which is great for our industry. On a more technical level, sites like YouTube and Hulu (which we’ve used to distribute our shows) have an algorithm to suggest new content to users, which also drives engagement. Traditional TV doesn’t expose you to new content congruent with your tastes in the same way that YouTube and Hulu do.”
On The Future Of Web Series
Finally, I was curious to hear what Bill and Dan’s predictions for the future of web video. Dan told me, “There are a couple key trends that we’re watching. First, we think we’ll continue to see not only high quality content grow, but also an increase in longer and more sophisticated content. It’s what everyone (audiences, advertisers, distribution) wants. Second, we think that additional consolidation and new partners emerging in the distribution arena will foster content development and a stronger marketplace for both creators to distribute their content and for audiences to more readily and efficiently consume it. Finally, we’re continuing to see great talent and creators of all walks of life and all categories find new interest in the digital space. They are truly becoming their own ‘media networks’, able to distribute their creations to a built-in and highly active and targeted audience. More and more we’ll see top talent want to capitalize on the direct relationship they’re continuing to build with their fans. And that will be a great benefit for us all.”
What do you think about Bill and Dan’s predictions? What do you think the future has in store for web video and web series? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.