Back in May the popular Hulu web series The Confession, starring Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt, got picked up for a movie deal from Image Entertainment. Now comes the announcement that the series is getting international distribution courtesy of Sony Pictures Television. The Confession will now play on several platforms in 125 countries, and Sony will handle the DVD and digital distribution everywhere outside of North America. The 10-episode series has been quite the success for Digital Broadcasting Group and one of the top examples of the medium becoming increasingly more legitimate in the eyes of advertisers.
This means a tremendous amount of people will be exposed to short-form series. Starting Monday, The Confession will be seen in Korea, and by next week several countries in Europe will get to see it. Eventually, a large portion of Asia and Europe will have a chance to see this show. The quality of the series certainly helped sell it internationally, but the presence of name actors is always a big draw overseas. This is what the medium needs more than anything to sell. Trusted names add luster to a product.
In case you aren't familiar with the series, here's the official trailer:
And just think...it's a drama. Most web success stories almost always revolve around comedy, so this news bodes well for different genres becoming more commercially viable. Drama has been a tough sell on the web because it's difficult to tell a story in small snippets. This is why you see some of them get constructed into movies, and the announcement of The Confession's international sale seems to point to that being a possibility overseas as well, although I don't know what that does to the planned movie we heard about a few months ago.
What likely happens is the series gets a DVD release as a feature-length movie, and not a TV show, and probably not released in movie theaters. Image Entertainment will have North America, and Sony will have everywhere else.
This is tremendous for web series. The market no longer sees North America as the end-all to overall success, as we've seen with theatrical releases over the past few years. The more eyes and ears a web series can gather, the closer they get to becoming a no-brainer attraction for advertisers and distributors.
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