Wild Wild, wait a minute!
Sub-industries always sprout off of major industries. Food critics form a sub-industry in the F&B world, as do movie critics in cinema. Of all the sub-industries to mushroom off the Television business, the most noticeable one is the rise of the web series.
This phenomenon taking over phones and TV screens worldwide is an interesting blend of the Internet, and traditional televised programming. Web series essentially replicate the format of television programming, with the only exception being that the content is broadcasted online.
The newest web series taking over memes on Instagram is Netflix’s six-part series, a documentary feature titled Wild Wild Country. The series focuses on the rise and eventual fall of the Rajneesh spiritual empire and is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing pieces of content today. If this documentary had been released on a syndicated network like most television shows, the audience would probably not interact with it in the same way as they are now.
Web series allow audiences to watch shows at their convenience. For years, people have planned their schedule around their favorite TV show. Now with the TV show ready and waiting at home, people have the freedom to watch their favorite show as and when they please. That too without advertisement breaks.
13 reasons why convenience counts
Convenience is key, especially when younger audiences are involved. Who has the time to miss plotlines or put themselves at risk of receiving spoilers? With web series, entire seasons are dropped at once. This means people can binge watch privately or with friends.
For audiences still in college, web series can be accessed sans an actual T.V screen. This means no cable bills, and pretending to do homework in the library can actually be time spent watching TV shows.
For a flat monthly fee, most content platforms offer a wide range of shows, movies, and documentaries that can be watched multiple times. In many ways content platforms like Hotstar, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offer customers a lot more for their money than network channels.
How I met your Bank Account
The monthly fee for a content platform is less than the price for a movie ticket at a multiplex, popcorn not included. So for students on a budget or adults too tired from a long day at the office, subscribing to a content platform is a bargain. Netflix allows multiple users to watch content from the same account. Also, they routinely produce original content that is diverse and internationally relevant.
Most original content from Netflix has been very well received. Shows like The Crown, Stranger Things and House of Cards have been nominated for awards at The Emmys as well as The Golden Globes, many times. On multiple instances, these shows have been awarded against their syndicated television competition.
Unfortunately, at home, we have yet to see web series like Breathe, Inside Edge and Baked to be recognized in the same capacity as their western counterparts. Indian web series often feature mainstream actors, and are backed by very competent director/producers. Despite this these shows have not been nominated for awards alongside their traditional television counterparts at major award shows.
When one thing does, well twenty versions of it mushroom out of nowhere. As the concept of web series becomes popular, multiple genres are being explored within this new realm. Additionally, multiple content platforms are also brewing up. Now audiences have to decide which streaming platform they want to subscribe to and then decide which web series they would like to watch on the chosen platform. This makes the viewing process a tab bit tedious.
Balaji, YashRaj and other major players in the entertainment market have each developed their own streaming platforms and are churning content for the same. It’s probably only a matter of time until this new industry is already saturated.
Game of Phones
It is evident that most people are addicted to their smartphones, but are smartphones are now burning a hole in the pockets of producers and content creators? Possibly.
Movies get constantly leaked online prior to box office release, and the same is happening for web series as well. Despite low rates, it’s still possible to find TV shows and other content online for free.
In order to stay above the competition, various streaming platforms have to maintain low rates and count on the high influx of audiences to maintain profit. Even with a hit show luring audiences to a platform is difficult, and making them stay after they’ve watched the show is even more difficult.
House of Curses
Undoubtedly the greatest advantage of creating web series is the creative liberty. Since there is little to no censoring online, cussing and other expletive content can be portrayed on streaming platforms in a way that is just unimaginable for their syndicated counterparts.
There will always be an evolution in streaming as technology evolves, and perhaps the two will merge soon, but until then web series will be produced by the truckload. Hopefully, there are enough audiences with working WiFis for them all.