The TV Trend on the Web

    November 29, 2007

The increasing quality of programming on the web is one of the most striking trends of 2007. 

4267180392a4908565738ml Or in other words Lonely Girl ain’t lonely anymore – she’s got plenty of competition.  In the US MySpace has its own TV channel and are busy commissioning original programming like Room Mates

In fact, another MySpace show QuarterLife has become the first webisode to be picked up by a major network in the shape of NBC.  (Ironically, this last move appears to be one result of the writers’ strike in Hollywood). 

Meanwhile, Mania TV and No Good TV are busy building million-strong audiences around programmes such as The Daily Indie and Will Ferrell has launched his own web comedy channel called Funny Or Die

While the very cheap and very good Break-A-Leg on has been viewed one million times.  But it’s not just the US.  In the UK, Bebo launched the latest part of the LG15 universe in the shape of Kate Modern which has served up 25 million videos in three months and Tory-talking shop 18 Doughty Street continues to build an audience. 

Why the boom? 

Aside from everyone having broadband access, and gazillions piling into the social networking space, the cost of web programming is dramatically lower than traditional TV shows.  I met Miles ‘LG15’ Beckett in the summer and was struck by the low-fi nature of the Kate Modern production which is being shot in a flat at the bottom of Brick Lane and around the streets of London using handheld camcorders.  NewTeeVee estimates that web programming costs around $1,000 per minute which may sound a lot until its compared to OldTeeVee drama which comes in at about $65,000 per minute. 

These new professional web studios are part of the Great TV Morph and they looks set to grow fast as Ad Bucks continue to drift. But like so many other parts of the social web only the shows where the viewer is driving are likely to succeed.