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Online Channel for NZ Web Series Launches

20 December 2013

Online Channel for NZ Web Series Launches

New Zealanders – and the rest of the world – can now watch independently produced web series created by fellow New Zealanders, online, any time and for free, with the launch of an online New Zealand Web Series Channel (www.webserieschannel.co.nz).

Web series are short videos, usually in episodic form, released on the internet and are part of the newly emerging medium called web television, web TV.

NZ Web Series Channel was created by Ferb Media, who also publish Viewfinder magazine for creators of NZ indie film, video and web TV. Founder and publisher, Fiona Powell says “When interviewing the creators of web series we realised there was a huge need for a place on the internet that brought all these amazing web series together, so audiences could find them in one place; a hub for New Zealand made web series. That way the shows could also leverage off each other. So we went ahead and created it.”

Powell sees the web series medium as a win/win for both audiences and creators:

“For the web series creators – often cast and crew in the in screen industry filling gaps between jobs - there’s the freedom to produce the diverse content they want to, and broadcast it without permission from, or approval of, the traditional broadcasters and gatekeepers.

“For audiences there’s the benefits of viewing content when they want to, rather than waiting for scheduled content, and where they want to, including of course on mobile devices. Web series are the perfect medium for the digital generation with shorter attention spans who expect content on demand”.

The NZ Web Series Channel already has 40-odd web series, created by Kiwis, on the Web Series Channel, and Powell says there’s no shortage of content.

“This year we saw a huge spike in the number of local web series being created,” says Powell. “Self-funded projects included the highly rated shows Flat3 and High Road. NZ On Air funded series included Woodville, Hook Ups and The Factory, and currently in crowdfunding stages are Tina, Oddballs and Project J.

“For its latest round of Digital Media funding, NZ On Air received 54 applications for web series funding – and four projects have received $100k each. That means there are 50-odd web series wanting to be made. And if you consider the 800 or so teams that competed in the 48 Hour film competition earlier this year, and all the film graduates – there are a lot of New Zealanders keen to make film and video content.”

While web series are fairly new to New Zealand audiences, in the States and elsewhere, web series are an established medium, with their own web festivals and award ceremonies. Web series are making their creators rich and famous with some web series being picked up by the TV networks; for example US broadcaster Fox bought Couple Time, a single-camera comedy web series project.

Powell says brands and advertisers are already keen to partner with the NZ Web Series Channel site and/or web series creators. “Brands wanting to target the digital generation – who don’t watch much TV – and early adopters, can see the potential to align with creative web series made locally, and there are a number of innovative opportunities to do that, which is really exciting for all of us.”

Powell is also making a web series herself. “I pitched my docu-drama web series to SONY in 2010 without luck so it’s a long time in the making, but this summer I’ll get the pilot and first episodes online.”

ENDS

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