It's not the first time that a web series has jumped from IPTV to broadcast or cable, and I doubt it will be the last. The interesting thing in this deal, is that it's Hulu's original show. Other shows were more independent, like "Sanctuary" which went from web series to SyFy. Is the Internet becoming the new proving ground and marketplace for shows to be syndicated to TV? It seems like it. We've seen shows like "Annoying Orange" and "Epic Meal Time" get signed to deals on traditional TV, and "Web Therapy" is one of the biggest examples of a show that has made the jump already.
It's no surprise. Hulu is the big winner here. First, they've got the exclusive rights to the show online as they're the money behind it. Second, the make some syndication fees when selling to Canada’s SPACE, a sci-fi/horror/fantasy channel. Well, not quite exclusive, they did sell access to Spacecast.com which is the site for the channel.
"Spoilers," which is on my watch list, has Kevin Smith heading to the cinema to watch films with a group of people and then they dissect the film. It also features celebrity interviews with the first one being Carrie Fisher, whom Kevin claimed was the first woman he fell in love with, when she was a Princess and he just a wee lad.
Screen Convergence Meets Show Convergence
Here's a recent episode of Kevin Smith's "Spoilers," where he and Stan Lee break down The Amazing Spider-Man (of course, it's Kevin Smith, so there is some bad language):
Screen convergence was the buzz word last year. Now we've got show convergence where series that are originally produced for the online community are being spun out to traditional TV and cable channels. It was a trend that was bound to continue as more and more original web series are produced by big names like Yahoo!, Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. Kevin Smith now joins the likes of Amanda Tapping ("Sanctuary") and others like "Annoying Orange" in making the transition from web to TV.
But the real kicker is that those others had their shows completely revamped and recreated for TV where Kevin Smith and "Spoilers" is basically being directly ported over without any reworking of the content.
This is new, TV is not trying to shoehorn a show to fit their format but rather are taking the show as is and using it, because it's already well-made and establishing a track record.
The other interesting thing is that SPACE seems to realize that online doesn't need to be a threat to them and that they can co-exist and even capitalize on the heat that web series are generating. If they're already looking for online content to turn into TV content that means others are and will be doing so soon. So shine up that original content you've got and start getting it out there, perhaps your show will be the next to jump from Internet to TV.