The New Web Series Business Model?

December 22nd, 2009 by Robert Gustafson

Earlier this year, Alec and I wrote an article for Script Magazine about the series, Angel of Death and how Sony’s Crackle had figured out an online business model that actually worked, and delivered somewhat of a payday to the people involved.

And what do you know? Crackle is launching yet another genre project: The Bannen Way, from Vuguru and Big Fantastic (creators of Prom Queen).

So it looks like Sony really gets it and the rest of the studios are hopefully going to follow suit. Pay upfront production costs for genre content right now to the tune of a low budget movie (one to five million dollars for approximately two hours of content) and get returns from:

  • Domestic & International Syndication
  • Paid Downloads from places like Amazon & iTunes
  • Advertising Revenue from sites like
  • And DVD Sales
  • So now the question is how much access does the independent online producer have to places like Sony and the production company behind The Bannen Way, Vuguru? Probably not much, because with these budgets, no doubt there are agencies swarming (or at least hovering) at all ends and there will be plenty of filters involved (not to mention unemployed TV writers checking out those growing budgets licking their chops).

    In a recent AP article about the new series, Brady Brim-DeForest from said that this model is an example of, “the second coming of original programming online.”

    So great news for legitimate online production, but at a cost to the little guy?

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
    1. One Response to “The New Web Series Business Model?”

    2. By Chris McCaleb on Dec 23, 2009

      Hey Bob, nice post! Just wanted to clarify – we (Big Fantastic) aren’t behind “The Bannen Way,” nor is Vuguru. That was created by Jesse Warren and Mark Gantt, two very nice guys we had the pleasure of meeting last week at the Tubefilter event. Our new shows (with Vuguru) is “Prom Queen: The Homecoming,” which will be coming out in 2010.

      I think the one of the best things about original online entertainment is that it runs the gamut from ultra-low-budget productions to higher-budget productions like “The Bannen Way” – but keep in mind, what ties us all together is the desire to tell great stories!

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