Rep. Michele Bachmann, kicking off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa—and trying to make reference to American movie star John Wayne. But the John Wayne she was thinking of was from Winterset, Iowa, as the Washington Times notes. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was from Waterloo. (via officialssay)
New York Times TV critic Mike Hale decided to use his Sunday column to talk about blip.tv and original Web series. We didn’t pitch the story, he just decided to do it. Which is very flattering. It would seem that we’re making some waves.
Overall the article is well written and entirely fair. Hale notes that many of the series we feature have “narrow and homogenous” target audiences, and uses Hacker News Network’s “HNNCast” as an example. This is true. Most Web series today have narrow and homogenous target audiences, and this is one of the features that differentiates them most strongly from television. On TV you have massive opportunity cost and so you have to program, effectively, to the lowest common denominator. On the Web a “narrow and homogenous” audience of hundreds of thousands or single digit millions can be plenty to profitably sustain a series. This is why Web series audiences are generally more passionate about the shows than TV audiences are. You’re not just channel flipping and finding something that’s “good enough” to occupy your time. You’re going out of your way to find something interesting and engaging that fits your interests.
But a great many of the series being created and featured on blip are interesting to broad audiences and are funny, entertaining and fictional. One of my personal favorites remains Aidan 5, but our drama category and comedy category feature a great many more.
We’re still figuring out what to feature, when to do it, and how to do it. But original web series are coming into their own. The fact that Mike Hale and his editors decided to use half a page of Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section to comment on the phenomenon is evidence of this. So are the tens of millions of viewers who watch blip.tv series every month.
The one thing that bummed me out? Hale wrote that “Taken as a whole the Blip editors’ selections defined a territory for original Web video series whose borders would include reality TV, sketch comedy, geek-culture channels like G4 and, to a disturbing degree, public-access cable.” This, my friends, is not public access cable. This is TBS, CNN, HBO and MTV in 1981.