Not long ago I wrote about the Soap Opera pop as many major daytime TV soaps were being canceled. Proctor & Gamble, who both sponsored and helped develop some TV soaps decided to move online and canceled their sponsorship, which meant the end of those shows. The article I wrote started a trip into the world of soaps as I was contacted by people who were ardent fans, and people who are working on new shows... online. Me, being me, decided to put them in touch with each other. But I found it fascinating that the death of a long-running TV staple meant potentially big opportunity for the online video industry, something which P&G and the TV studios didn't see I think.
One of the people that contacted me was Stewart St. John, who has a good amount of TV experience himself. But he wasn't contacting me about TV, he was contacting me about a new online web series that they are working on at St. John-Fisher called California Heaven. Stewart described it to me as an online supernatural soap opera. Each episode is to run some five to ten minutes so it's closer to standard online short-form video content than to the traditional long-form TV soap. It's also, not live or daily, like some soap operas were.
The (r)Evolution Away from TV
Now that's not the only content they're working on. They've got a wide range of talent and shows lined up and starting to roll over there. Essentially, they are building something that could be compared to TV networks. They have a single branded presence that offers a range of video content, much the same way that places like Revision3 do.
In my previous soap article (Soap Operas Pop) I mentioned that Proctor & Gamble were already online with a variety of content sites, most of which are not very video-centric and that works for them. But they forgot about the millions of fans that lived and breathed the content they had created for decades. The content that had helped introduce those consumers to their products and been a major vehicle for the marketing of them. The content that itself spawned other content about the industry. Yet, while they're catering to a new breed of consumers, they almost seem to have forgotten about those that helped them get where they are now.
That's where the new media companies like St. John-Fisher will step in. They, and you, will have the shows the people want. With online video--and shorter episodes--comes massive distribution and lower budgets. That still means you'll need to be able to monetize, to keep those budgets running and content rolling.
Online Video Web Series: The Monetization Factor
Money, they say, is what makes the world go round. It is certainly what is pushing online video. We talk about people making six-digits on YouTube, video ad networks pulling in millions of venture capital, TV and Film stars going online to help market themselves and their content (both in traditional formats and online content), and it's all about the Benjamins.
So how does one monetize this new online video content? Perhaps, we needed to take a cue from the traditional outlets, to look and see how they did it, and then see what could be applied to the new formats.
There will of course be some advertisers that will remain on TV, and that's fine, it works for them. But there will be many other, perhaps even smaller, advertisers that will look to this new media as a whole new world of opportunity. At least, they will if they're smart.
TV advertising has long been seen as both expensive and difficult to manage from a small business perspective. While you might be able to do some local advertising with a smaller budget and less logistics, national always seemed far more difficult. Worldwide, impossible.
No matter what you're looking for, local, national or worldwide, it can be achieved with online video ads and quite easily. The tools are there, the major ad networks have all the statistics, the targeting, the demographics information and the technology to do it.
Even some open source ad solutions are able to do geo-targeting and if you have a site, say like ReelSEO or Gamers Daily News, that has a very highly focused audience, it's even easier. If you want to hit a particular demographic, it can be done by targeting your ads onto these particular sites, even if you're a small business owner who isn't quite sure about how to proceed. It can be as easy as dropping an email to someone at the site and that gets the ball rolling. With a handful of emails you could have a couple ads targeted by location, age, viewing habits and more without even a middle man in the way.
Those ads could be running on content that attracts the exact same audience as a TV show does, or in the case of soaps, did. It can be more interactive and more compelling. It could tie into the program more intricately and even add value to the shows. It's about how you approach it. Plus, since the content is far more accessible, not at a specific time each day but on an always-available basis which means that the you don't have to worry about day-parting or potentially losing or missing some audience.
Overall, I think that TV's loss is online video's gain. Not only that, but also, while painful, a good thing for those hordes of rabid fans who now need to find some new show to consume. They have been set loose from the iron shackles of daytime TV. They can go out into the sunlight and lie in the grass, chop wood, walk the dog, all without commercial interruption and without the fear that they'll miss their favorite shows or have to be worried whether or not the DVR has enough space, had the right settings, or the power didn't go out.
So weep, ye who mourn for the loss of the TV soap. When you are done, turn your gaze online and behold the new content that will help you fill the emptiness that has been left by the loss of Luke and Laura, Victor and Nikki, Ridge and Brooke, Sonny and Carly and of course Bo and Hope. There are numerous thespians who eagerly await your attentions and are rapturous that they will have but a glimmering moment with which to fill your gaze and memories with stories that you will need and characters you will love.