Variety January 3-9, 2011 reports on Argentina's Mancha Productions creating webisodes to appear on the website of the popular Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion. Cell phones, laptops, iPads and other devices are also targeted media for the webisodes as are other Spanish speaking markets. This article purports to show how creative one can be in spite of not being able to secure TV airtime.
Looking at webisodes in a transmedia context, a feature film can transform into webisodes and create new content to promote the movie while boosting advertising and loyalty in newspaper media. Why pay newspapers to advertise the movie when you can share advertising revenues by showing it on the newspaper's website and add value to it. It is another way to capture the public to promote film...we have trailers on YouTube but here is a set venue to see movie related stories, webisodes promoting movies. Even if newspaper readers do not go to the movies, the webisodes would prompt them to download the movies into whatever media they chose and it would continue to benefit the newspaper sponsors. Remember the comic strips which today are so hard to find in the L.A. Times? As readers increasingly go to the newspaper internet site to send interesting stories to friends, to find older articles, so the sites can remind them with a good quick webisode that a movie is coming. Even if the newspaper readers do not go out to the theater, they could download the movies onto whatever media they chose to the benefit of the same sponsors being courted by newspapers.
Manche Prods. 'Combinations' twice a week webisode about life in the Buenos Aires subway
This is the full Variety article:
Mancha finds a niche in Internet drama
Producer turns to newspaper website to avoid glut of TV drama
By CHARLES NEWBERY
Argentina's Mancha Prods. is taking a fresh approach to secure exposure and build business by targeting Internet fiction, a market with growth potential, and tying it to a newspaper's website.
Last month the two-year-old company launched "Combinaciones" (Combinations), a twice-weekly series about life in the Buenos Aires subway system. It is airing 8-12 minute episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays on the website of Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion.
Episodes follow romances, affairs, med students arguing over how to help a choking victim and two tango-musician vampires stuck on the subway until night falls.
The show stars locally well-known actors Luis Ziembrowski ("Suddenly) and Violeta Urtizberea ("Lalola") and musicians including Bahiano and Kevin Johansen.
This is Mancha's second online series following two seasons of cruise ship-based "Embarcados" for MSN.
"It is hard to get airtime on TV in Latin America because the schedules are saturated," says Mancha producer Leo Zanutto. "But demand is growing for programs for the Internet."
Latin America is seeing a surge in original productions, and as a result, indie TV production companies are fighting to get their content on air. The Internet solves that problem.
"On the Internet, people can see your program and you can see how many people saw it and liked it" through Facebook and Twitter, Zanutto says.
"Combinations" is La Nacion's first fiction series. "It gives free entertainment to readers, and this helps increase traffic and create loyalty," Zanutto says.
The producer expects to recover its $113,000 budget through a share of ad sales in La Nacion. He will also sell the series to other markets, such as Colombia and Mexico.
"If we get clicks and good comments, we can do a second season on a regional scale," Zanutto says. "I am convinced there is a market for these programs because of the rising number of cell phones, laptops, iPads and other devices."
The main platforms for such shows remain broadcast and cable in Latin America, says Carlos Blanco, an analyst at NexTV, a consulting firm in Buenos Aires.
So far, broadcasters have been using the Internet to offer shortened versions of past episodes of popular shows so that viewers can catch up on what they missed. There are no streaming media players in the region like Hulu, and only a few VOD models sprouting up like Bazuca.com and VTR in Chile, he says.
"YouTube gets a lot of traffic but it's not like Hulu in the U.S.," Blanco adds."You can't depend on the Internet alone."