I can’t vote in the poll the way it’s phrased, because I don’t believe it’s good or bad. There may be some positives and some negatives, but I don’t think there’s a net impact – at least an appreciable one – one way or the other.
It’s likely that web series-turned-network TV shows legitimize web series as an incubator platform, but one could also make the argument that the din of multiplying web series makes it more difficult to be heard.
Viewers/consumers generally don’t care where a show comes from except to marvel at its humble beginnings, a digital rags-to-riches storyline (“Did you know High Maintenance was a web series on Vimeo first??”). A viewer who discovers Insecure on HBO may go back and watch Awkward Black Girl, but that doesn’t make that viewer a newly converted web series fan. That viewer simply wants additional content for a specific show. Note: Creators and filmmakers may behave differently, but the vast majority of an audience is not made up of creators and filmmakers.
I’m primarily talking about scripted web series right now, since that’s what’s referenced in this poll, but I think there are other formats or styles that do more to promote web series as a medium because they cater specifically to a nimble, sharing, interactive, attention-diffuse web audience – shows like Only In HelLA, Conversations With My 2-Year-Old and The Feels. Then there are shows like Choose Your Own McGurskey that take advantage of the tendency to interact online as opposed to passive consumption.
I think shows like this and vlogs do a better job at promoting web series as a medium than web series that get called up to the Big Leagues. Even so, the web series world is a constellation of individuals, networks and content of all stripes that it’s hard to pin down web series as a platform in any meaningful, consistent way for an audience – except for Stareable, of course