Published: December 28, 2012
Over the past five years, I’ve heard no less than five different labels used to describe the creation of brand-funded original web programming. I’ve also been guilty of using them all -- from “branded content” to “branded entertainment” to “original programming” to “web originals” to yes, such terms as “infotainment”, “edutainment”, “utilitainment” or the latest to find its way into the ever-expanding vocabulary, the “social film”. It’s simple enough to guess what each of these labels proposes to deliver; the hard part is finding which ones matter to you and which ones deserve your attention. When will the “I Love Lucy” moment occur? When will a significant audience fall in love with a web series as it once fell for television? It’s an apt description, as that series smartly leveraged technology and audience interaction to break through the clutter. It was television’s first scripted television program shot on 35 mm film in front of a live studio audience, vividly transporting Lucy and Ricky through the screen and into our homes. The web provides a similar transcendent opportunity, as never before has there been a medium in which an audience can invest and immerse themselves so fully into the content. Beyond real time commenting and social sharing, consumers are increasingly provided the opportunity to become part of the show’s creative arc. The breakthrough then is as much about the technology and opportunity as it is the actual show, whose existence is merely a matter of time.
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