Yahoo is at it again. The search giant plans to launch several original Web shows this fall. The Web destination has locked up Morgan Spurlock, Niecy Nash, Judy Greer and others for its lineup of eight Web series premiering in October, per Variety who first reported the story yesterday. Yahoo will sell the shows to advertisers targeting women on a "share of voice" basis using its data and insights tools to measure reach and targeting. Programming partners include Electus and others. Yahoo said its original video programming already reaches 26 million people per month. Yahoo has tried before to build a beachhead in originals, famously hiring TV executive Lloyd Braun to guide the company into online entertainment several years ago, but that effort didn't pan out. The site, however, is still a traffic juggernaut and has been successful with some original series such as its Primetime in No Time recap show.
New web series are always good. With stories this short, there's generally not a lot of information beyond the initial oh hai we have actors, but a lot of the issues that these "failures" have attached to them are the same things:
They hired someone who didn't have a background in Internet.
While TV and film are fantastic mediums, and most of us jump between TV, film and web, hiring someone who applies TV conventions to digital and hopes it'll stick tends to be the ongoing issue.
Also - the definition of success for many of the "traditional" medias may not be defined with web in mind - and this is always something that many fo the bigger companies need to be aware of.
Hitting the right demographic online is great - if you can keep them. Old Spice is fantastic, but did it grab the "right" demo? (Not really), but it's well known and people return... Which is another form of success.
These partners may actually reach that demo, so it will be interesting to see how the series work.
Which comes back to that pesky discussion that has been floating around - is it just a "series" or does one explain it is a "web series"?