First of all, what is this new word?
A somewhat clever combination of “web” and “episode”, defined on Wikipedia as “a short episode, which airs initially as Internet television”. It did not get inducted into Merriam Webster’s Dictionary until 2009 and my computer still spell checks the damn thing every time I write it.
Okay, so it’s an episode of a web series… an installment of a show on the Internet. What does that entail? Well, it’s a short form serial show of any type and any subject. And when I say “any” subject, I mean ANY. For example, according to the site www.visiblemeasures.com, the # 1 most watched web series in May (with almost 50 million views) was called “The Annoying Orange”, about a talking… orange. A typical web series has between 10-12 episodes a season and runs roughly between 2-7 minutes each.
As you can see, the rules are bend-able. If were are any to begin with…
Nonetheless, webisodes are sweeping the entertainment industry. I hear multiple times a week about the hottest new web series, how often my actor friends are being bombarded with web auditions, and that now every writer, in addition to their standard spec scripts, need to have a hot web idea in their back pocket. Agencies now have entire departments devoted to new media and they just had the 2nd Annual Streamy Awards, a star-studded award show just for webisodes, replete with red carpet.
Webisodes have also become a way for studios and networks to “test” out pilot ideas on the public, for a minimal amount of money. They believe that if a show gets a lot of “hits” then that will translate into viewers on TV. This has not proved to be true. Yet.
Since the Internet has become a playground for people to experiment creatively with video content, we, the general public, now have a platform to get our stuff seen by anyone in the world. This provides an incredible amount of opportunity. And an incredible amount of puppy and baby videos.
I believe that the online media is the wave of the future in the entertainment world.
We just have to figure out how to ride it.