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Someone at was listening

April 19, 2007

A mere days after my post about how should have better utilized YouTube and other distribution outlets, it put one of its content properties (Afterworld) on YouTube. Coincidence? Most certainly.

Afterworld is great web content. It is a 130 episode series with each episode lasting two and a half minutes, released weekly. It has a compelling, storyline that works well online, and the still frame anime with voice over is effective and cheap to produce. The writing is not amazing, but the story is unique, engaging and it is visually so different from anything else on the web, it overcomes any writing shortcomings. Indeed, I suggested similar type of content that would be distributed on Revver over six months ago to a comic book publisher as a middle tier product offering precisely because it is easy and cheap to produce and distribute, yet compelling enough that viewers will want to watch.

There is a genuineness in Afterworld’s look and feel that just fits into the Web’s video landscape. For comparison’s sake, check out the recently launched Prom Queen which is Michael Eisner’s new web production. While it does a great job of integrating advertising and does a solid job of distribution, it has a very slick, highly edited and highly finished style that, for whatever reason, just doesn’t feel right on the YouTube screen. Perhaps that is part of the reason why viewership is, thus far, so low.

Anyway, the Afterworld episodes have a bug on it, which provides decent branding, and viewership seems to be in the 35,000 range and rising. The website claims it will be an immersive sci-fi property, including video games and graphic novels. On the whole, I would hazard a safe guess that this is’s most watched property to date (that doesn’t involve breasts in anyway). And that is not necessarily because it is the best. There is some pretty interesting content over on Truly Famous is a great concept where a fake star, fake agent, fake assistant and fake paparazzi see just how much they can get away with at various Hollywood establishments. But Afterworld has catered specifically to the YouTube crowd through its look and feel and tone, and YouTube has rewarded it with superior viewership.

It will be interesting to see how effective Afterworld is at driving more viewers to If anyone comes across numbers talking about lift to the website, please let me know! It will also be interesting to see how Afterworld is monetized: whether will be satisfied in using the program to maintain brand recognition and drive traffic to the website, or if it will attempt to sell some sort of sponsorship in order to recoup some of its production investment.

In the meantime, there are two conclusions that can be drawn from this. First, it is good to know that, like Prom Queen, is trying to use outlets like YouTube as genuine distribution platforms, instead of using them as just marketing for their content. The reach of existing platforms is hard to replicate, and even if the goal is to create a new destination, the additional viewership a YouTube affords certainly can’t hurt. Second, content creators need to be careful about the tone and style of their content. Web audiences are still very picky about the types of content they consume. Form, style, story all need to align to create something that is germane to the Web’s video landscape in order to be adopted.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 19, 2007 11:46 pm

    Interesting… we actually sold Afterworld on the strength of its writing, since it’s really just a “book on tape” with illustrations. For us, it’s all about the words.

    — Brent Friedman

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