Prom Queen Launches
The first episode of Michael Eisner’s Prom Queen was launched today on the Internet.
Created by the folks who brought you Sam Has 7 Friends, the production quality is high (especially for an Internet series). Also, the format for Prom Queen is similar to Sam Has 7 Friends. This time, however, Vuguru (Eisner’s prodco) is responsible for directly serving its advertising, so there is no revenue sharing with third party platforms like Revver or Brightcove.
In terms of format:
- 3 second pre-roll ad for Hairspray
- 4 second title intro
- 90 second episode
- About 8 seconds of end credits and other promotion of the show
- 15 second advertising for Hairspray
From start to finish, the whole viewing takes 2:05. Unlike other platforms, there is advertising at the front and the tail end of the clip. The final ad is 15 seconds in length and feels more like a TV commercial than a post-roll ad you’ll find on Revver. Interestingly enough, you can’t click on the last ad, so they must not be paid by click-through-rate. Also interesting is the fact that the ads are edited directly into the video clip and not served separately. So the episode that is loaded onto You Tube has the same advertising attached, which is smart, considering that You Tube will probably drive most of its traffic and the advertiser will get the additional impressions. As of this post, approximately 3,200 have seen Episode 1: The Long Walk on You Tube.
As for content, the first episode captures your attention immediately. It moves quickly and ends with a “forward” which will drive the viewer back tomorrow to see what happens next. Since this series is daily, the strategy is to keep moving the plot forward quickly and drive viewers back the next day.
While there seems to be a trend of moving toward 90-second short-form video, I don’t believe this captures the true opportunity for an Internet-based series. I know there was a study done at some point that showed that an average viewer stops watching a video clip after X amount of seconds. I don’t remember the exact number but it was below 90 seconds. As a result, many content creators believe that a video clip has to be super short in order to be watched all the way through. I disagree with this theory. The problem with this study is that it doesn’t account for story-driven series. Most likely, the average video is some viral clip that a viewer only needs to see for thirty seconds before it gets boring. A good story-driven series, on the other hand, has the capability of keeping an audience engaged for a longer period of time. I’m not saying an episode should be thirty minutes, but I plan on creating episodes between 3-5 minutes in length. You know viewers are capable of staying engaged because so many of them download full movies and TV episodes (probably illegally) to watch on their computer.
The second aspect of the Internet that I don’t see being leveraged enough is interactivity. Rather than distribute episodes daily, I plan on having enough time between episodes to have viewers react, comment, and ultimately drive the plot forward. There is some complexity in going this route, but this is what makes the Internet unique and more engaging than other mediums.
Anyway, just my 2 cents on the matter. I think both styles – daily series and interactive series – have room to flourish on the web.